Anti-Sea Sickness Glasses?

Charles Darwin once wrote, “If it was not for sea-sickness, the whole world would be sailors.” Some of us are more susceptible to mal de mer than others. Apparently, Darwin was very prone to sea sickness. From my own experience, I am fairly lucky, falling somewhere about the middle of the misery spectrum — neither quite immune nor wholly incapacitated by sea sickness. In a few weeks, I will be setting off an a five day delivery trip on my new/old boat with a new crew, so I will be sure that we have all the standard anti-sea-sickness “remedies” — a stock of saltine crackers, apples, ginger-ale and, if need be, Bonine. Often the best defense against motion sickness is just keeping an eye on the horizon. I wonder, however, if I am being too old-school in my approach. Perhaps, we should consider anti-sea sickness googles and glasses.

Anti-sea sickness googles and glasses have been around for almost a decade, yet they haven’t seemed to have caught on. Part of the issue may be expense. The other consideration is that the most effective googles simply look funny.

One of the most effective type of glasses is the so-called “boarding ring” glasses. Sea sickness is generally caused by a conflict between the motion sensed by the inner ear and what is being seen through your eyes.   Boarding ring glasses create its own virtual horizon which agrees with what your inner ear is experiencing, thus stopping the sea sickness. It is said that they only need to be worn for a few minutes before any symptoms of motion sickness will disappear. Clinical tests, carried out with the French Navy, have shown them to be 95% effective, surpassing most other seasickness remedies.

How much do they cost? Good question. The only available boarding ring anti-sea sickness glasses currently available on Amazon are $182.64 and appear to be sourced from Japan. On the other hand, a UK chandlery has them on sale for £59.95, or around $75. 

The other consideration is appearance. One review comments: I am sure that only one pair of those glasses would be enough onboard because they look so funny that other teammates would forget about seasickness as soon as they look at the person who wears them. The manual says that there are neither side-effects nor contra-indications to the person who wears seasickness glasses but laughter onboard would be appreciated as harmless side-effect for the other crew members. 

On the other hand, if I am really seasick, I really do not care what I look like. And they apparently do work. At the end of 2013, boarding ring glasses won the coveted DAME Award, the world’s number one international design competition for new marine equipment and accessories.

There is another anti-sea sickness technology which appears to have developed from the virtual reality business. Many virtual reality head sets have been found to induce motion sickness, so the VR designers have come up with an electronic cure for motion sickness. They use electronic lenses which start to strobe (both lenses becomes dark and then clear very fast) creating better perception of movement and minimizing the disagreement between perception and the inner ear’s interpretation of movement. Xpand Vision is one of the companies making these electronic sea sickness fighters. They look less dorky than the boarding ring glasses but still cost around $150 a copy.  They are battery operated and appear not to be as rigorously test than the boarding ring design.  Travel Shades in the UK also offer glasses with a different but similar approach.

At least in the short term, I plan on sticking with chewing saltines, sipping ginger ale and watching the horizon.

If anyone has any experience with anti-seasickness glasses, please leave a comment. 

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5 Responses to Anti-Sea Sickness Glasses?

  1. Thank you! I’ve ordered a pair of the ones that are funny looking but work best. (Cheaper from England, even with shipping.) I think it’s especially funny that people don’t use them because of how they might look when wearing them – kind of forgetting what we look like when seasick and throwing up… Never mind that, if this actually works, including in those situations when crackers and whatnot don’t, it’ll help to resolve what can be a significant safety issue, as well as improving basic comfort. Thanks again.

  2. Rick Spilman says:

    Let us know how you like them. I wonder if they are worn under or over prescription glasses.

  3. dar says:

    HiTek is all very well & dandy, but give me something that’s been around for 200+ yrs & is cheap,simple & efficacious,with no toxicity. It’s saved this ancient mariner’s/mechanic’s you-know-what for 40 yrs [as well as that of all his 4 legged critters & winged beasties underfoot&overhead ] … Homeopathy http://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-2244006
    Motion Sickness (Homeopathy)
    Primary Remedies
    Bryonia
    A person needing this remedy usually wants to stay completely still and not be talked to or touched. Nausea and vomiting, with pain and pressure in the stomach, can be worse from even minor movements. The person may have a dry mouth and want cold drinks.
    Cocculus indicus
    This remedy relieves motion sickness with vertigo and feeling weak, and improved by heat.
    Other Remedies
    Argentum nitricum
    Indications for this remedy include dizziness, faintness, nausea, retching, and possibly balance or perception problems. The person may feel claustrophobic or be extremely anxious and excitable. Eating too much sweet or salty food may have contributed to the problem.
    Arsenicum album
    A person who needs this remedy is likely to be very anxious and feel both restless and exhausted. Nausea and vomiting can be accompanied by burning pain. The sight and smell of food, or odors of any kind, may make the nausea unbearable. The person may feel a burning sensation in the throat or stomach and want frequent sips of water.
    Borax
    This relieves travel sickness, especially in planes during downward acceleration.
    Ipecac
    This remedy relieves nausea and vomiting with hypersalivation and a clean tongue. Vomiting doesn’t relieve nausea.
    Kali bichromicum
    This remedy is indicated when vertigo and nausea are intense, and bright yellow fluid is vomited. The person feels worse from standing up, and can be very weak. Aching may be felt in facial bones or in small spots on the head. This remedy is often helpful during seasickness.
    Petroleum
    This remedy relieves motion sickness improved by eating and by heat.
    Sepia
    This remedy is indicated when the person (often a woman or child) feels dizzy and irritable, and the nausea is made worse by lying on one side. A headache will often accompany these problems. The sight of food can intensify the nausea, although the person may still want sour things.
    Tabacum
    This remedy relieves nausea from motion sickness, accompanied by hypersalivation, aggravated by the slightest movement, and improved by fresh air or closing the eyes.
    Homeopathy Dosage Directions
    Select the medicine that most closely matches the symptoms. In conditions where self-treatment is appropriate, unless otherwise directed by a physician, a lower potency (6X, 6C, 12X, 12C, 30X, or 30C) should be used. In addition, instructions for use are usually printed on the label.[…]

  4. Rick Spilman says:

    Since learning about Avagadro’s Number decades ago, I can’t get around the conclusion that many or most homeopathic solutions are literally nothing more than water. But hey, if homeopathy works for you go for it. I’ll stick to my saltines.

  5. Dave S says:

    Sorry Dar, but the glasses sound like the better solution…no side effects.

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