SEE Sick Syndrome

aka Neuro-ocular-vestibular Dysfunction (NOVD)

If you are only going to read a page or two on this site, go directly now to the Patient Testimonial section.  Their letters contain the most vivid explanation of what the SSS really is like. 

The SEE Sick Syndrome (SSS) is condition in which a person  has a hyper-sensitivity to visual motion . This leads to moderate to severe motion sickness combined with a hyper-sensitivity to light.  The severity and frequency of the different symptoms in the SSS patients can vary widely. Most SSS patient have life long histories of motion sickness/car sickness which occurs almost exclusively in the daytime.  (Less motion is observed at the sides of the road at night).  However, adult onset SSS can occur as a result of head trauma or other factors.

The SSS  occurs in different degrees of severity in approximately 6% (6,000 out of 100,000) of the adult female population and 1% (1,000 out of 100,000) of the adult males and usually is inherited.  It normally is mild in nature in children and then gradually becomes more severe over a period of years.  The level of intelligence in SSS patients is almost always quite high.

Academic, athletic, occupational and social skills are dramatically affected in many cases.  The condition is not well known by the professions or the public however many Pacific University of Optometry students have been taught the SSS diagnostic and treatment protocol over the years.   There are a limited number of optometric physicians around the USA and abroad who do care for SSS patients.  Unfortunately, the SSS patient is not diagnosed during a standard eye or medical examination.  However, it often can  be self diagnosed rather accurately when the patient reads the long list of common symptoms.

No SSS patients can read in a car,  without nausea, headache, dizziness or fatigue (motion sickness) and all are unusually sensitive to light.  The most severe SSS patients have at least three things in common: (1) motion sickness with repeated eye movement or when observing rapid motion; (2) unusual sensitivity to light; (3) frequent or constant headaches.  Approximately 50% have developed a reduced awareness of objects in the periphery, (functional tunnel vision). which may have developed as  an unrecognized protective mechanism.   The patients seldom realize they have protective tunnel vision  but it is the cause of their “klutziness”, losing their place when reading, etc.  A partial but more complete listing of typical symptoms follows.  Some SSS people will have most of them, others almost, if not, all.

Scott Pengelly, PhD. of Eugene, OR explained to me the hyper-sensitivity to light is produced by the constant and long term “fight or flight” stress the SSS patients experience.  When the stress is relieved through Dynamic Vision Therapy, the unusual sensitivity to light disappears.  `