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Anyone who has experienced motion sickness knows how miserable it can be. Those feelings of nausea and dizziness that creep up when you're riding in a car, boat or plane can be enough to make you want to swear off all forms of travel forever.
That's why if you're at all familiar with those unfortunate symptoms, you've probably tried everything under the sun to get relief. But if you hate the drowsiness that antihistamines (like Dramamine) can cause or can't stand the taste of ginger tea, you might be interested to hear about one of the latest innovative finds that we've discovered on TikTok: anti-motion sickness glasses.
The eccentric accessory has been featured in a range of videos across the app, and posts featuring the product have racked up millions of views. The lensless glasses feature four circular rims, and each are partially filled with a blue liquid. While they're not the most stylish accessory, users have said that they can help prevent feelings of motion sickness, with some people even adding that the glasses have allowed them to read or use their phone in the car. (And anyone who frequently gets motion sick knows that that's a major win).
According to the brand, the glasses can be used in cars, planes, boats, trains and virtually any other scenario where you might experience motion sickness. Plus, the company says that you only have to wear a pair for 10 to 14 minutes in order for them to work.
To get the scoop on how they work, and if they really work, we reached out to Dr. Elizabeth Ko, the medical director of the UCLA Health Integrative Medicine Collaborative, and asked our own Jennifer Birkhofer, vice president of commerce at NBC News, to try them out on a recent drive.
What is motion sickness?
"Motion sickness occurs when your brain can’t make sense of information sent from your eyes, ears and body," Ko said. This confusion is caused by lots of movement — like you experience when you're in a car, plane or boat — and can result in symptoms such as an upset stomach, queasiness or clamminess.
How do anti-motion sickness glasses work?
While Ko had never heard about glasses like these before, she said that they claim to work by creating an artificial horizon in the vision as the liquid in the circle shifts with the movements of the vehicle, which, as a result, resynchronizes the eyes with the balance system. Though Ko is dubious of their efficacy, she said, "Big picture: This is a non-drug, low-risk, low-cost intervention, so I wouldn’t discourage my patient with motion sickness from trying this."
Do anti-motion sickness glasses work?
Anecdotally, there is some evidence to support their use. Birkhofer, who said that she always gets sick in the car (even when driving straight on the highway), added that she started taking Dramamine and anti-nausea meds to fight the symptoms. When she first saw these glasses on the internet, she thought they were hilarious, but then she read the reviews and realized that people were raving about them. "I decided to order them and try them out," she said. "For Easter, we had to drive down to Pennsylvania and then back up to Connecticut. I wore them on the drive and shockingly, they worked! I put them on 5-10 minutes before we left and then wore them for the first hour or so. I wasn't sick at all! I could even help my daughter put her shoes on from the front seat and use my phone!"
On TikTok, users have had similar experiences to Birkhofer. One user who claimed that she gets car sick just going to the grocery store said that she "immediately" added a similar pair of glasses to her cart after seeing them on TikTok. In the first video she posted trying them out (which garnered 3.9 million views), she rated them an "8/10." Another user who tried it said that they also work on the plane. Reviewers have said that they work for both adults and kids, too.
Unfortunately, the glasses aren't a guaranteed win for everyone. Some reviewers said that they only provided mild relief, while others said that they didn't work at all. Though if you're someone who struggles from chronic motion sickness, it could be worth a shot.
However, they're not the most fashionable accessory. "When you wear them you look pretty wild," Birkhofer said."People in the cars next to me kept turning and staring! The glasses look like goggles almost. I think moving forward I'll use them when I'm in the back of the car and no one can see me — or I'll give them to my 2-year-old who inherited my stomach and got sick twice in the car on that trip."
If the funky glasses aren't your speed, Ko shared some other tips that may help you remedy motion sickness.
Other ways to help prevent motion sickness
When it comes to preventing motion sickness, there are a few medications that may help. Antihistamines, which are commonly used to treat allergies, can prevent motion sickness and ease symptoms, Ko said. Unfortunately, only the ones that cause drowsiness will be effective. "Scopolamine skin patches prevent nausea or vomiting," she added. "These patches can be stuck behind the ear before traveling. After three days, a new patch is applied." The patches require a prescription and can sometimes cause dry mouth.
Otherwise, Ko advised that you drink plenty of water and avoid greasy, spicy or acidic foods that can upset your stomach. When in a car, boat or plane, focus your gaze at an object in the distance and try to avoid looking at your phone or reading a book. "Face forward when traveling," she added. "Recline, if possible, and close your eyes."
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