Can These Weird Glasses Actually Cure My Motion Sickness? A Serious Investigation

Photo: Courtesy of Karina Hoshikawa
Growing up, my motion sickness was such an, ahem, issue that my mother used to make me sit on a towel in the backseat because I had thrown up so much that she needed an easier way to clean up my mess. Fast-forward two decades, and I have to admit that I’m still not great in cars. Backseats are a danger zone, and there’s no way in heck you’ll catch me reading a book or spending more than a few seconds looking at my phone. If I’m in a bus, I have to be in the front — unless you want to know what I had for breakfast. (Weirdly enough, boats and planes are totally fine.)
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Anyway, that brings me to a recent chat I had with some friends about a particularly bumpy bus ride I had that left me utterly woozy and pale; one wise pal suggested I get something called “motion sickness glasses.” Elaborate, please?
A quick Amazon search confirmed that these are in fact, a thing. While many versions exist online, they’re all variations on a theme: large, round plastic glasses that feature rings of blue mystery liquid that swish around whenever you (or a moving vehicle) move. Scrolling through comments, reviewers compared these specs to what a “deranged Minion” would wear. Another likened them to something Sir Elton John might fancy for a casual day look. Point is, Céline they’re not — but do I care? Not in the least bit, after a lifetime of car-related bouts of nausea. I tossed the item into my cart and patiently waited two days for them to arrive.
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"I saw these on TikTok and thought they looked so dumb, but I was desperate to find anything to help,” writes one Amazon reviewer. “I couldn’t believe it, but they actually work!" Given all the promising reviews, I was excited and hopeful to test them out during my next car ride. "Yes, I'm surprised too,” begins another TikTok-made-me-buy-it convert who admits to carrying Dramamine in my wallet at all times.” “I saw this on TikTok. My motion sickness isn't great and it got worse since the pandemic." Same.
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Photo: Courtesy of Karina Hoshikawa

“This product slays and now I can actually do something other than sleep on car rides.”

amazon reviewer
The motion sickness glasses arrived in a small box along with a zip-carrying pouch, which honestly was a nice touch. They were on the small side, so anyone with a wider face may need to look for a larger version. They were made from a semi-rigid yet pliable plastic, and needed some moulding to achieve the proper shape since they got a little warped en route. Nothing about them felt luxe, but throwing caution to the wind, I popped them on the next time I was in the car with my boyfriend. (When I drive, motion sickness is not an issue whatsoever – I think this has to do with being in control of the vehicle and knowing when it’s going to start and stop.) While short rides (under 15 minutes) usually are fine, anything longer usually results in me not feeling my best. During a recent hour-long trip, I wore these and… felt fine! It was incredible — I aimlessly scrolled through Instagram, and even *gasp* checked my inbox without feeling like I was about to vom. I will say, as a glasses-wearer, these didn’t fit amazingly well over my prescription frames, but if you wear contacts or have perfect vision, then these are an easy-peasy way to help your motion sickness.
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Photo: Courtesy of Karina Hoshikawa
I expected to shock my boyfriend (who often has to deal with pulling over so I can get some fresh air) with my hot new glasses, but he was not the least bit surprised. He’s a doctor (an ophthalmologist, as it happens), so he wasted no time in explaining to me how these glasses worked: “Proprioception is how you know where your limbs are even if your eyes are closed,” he says. “Otoliths, which are in the inner ear, help you feel acceleration. You’ve probably heard of the semi-circular canals in the ear, which help your body sense where you are on an X-Y-Z plane.” So, how does that work to combat the dizziness and nausea often associated with carsickness? “When you're in a car, all of these senses are working in concert to dictate where you are in space,” he tells me. “ The issue with carsickness is that you can see that you’re moving in a car, but your body is not physically moving. The glasses work by 'grounding' your line of sight to mirror what you’re feeling with what you’re seeing.” Et voilà! Motion sickness: 0, Karina: 1. 
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