As someone who loves to travel I have to say that at times the experience has been tinged with great disappointment and discomfort. I would spend a whole year saving up for and paying for a much longed for holiday only to find that my enjoyment of the trip when travelling by coach/bus was often marred by low to medium grade nausea caused by motion sickness. As fellow sufferers will know, the effects of this unpleasant condition cannot be under-estimated. Often beginning with a mild dizziness and progressing to cold sweats, nausea and (worst case scenario) vomiting. In my case, the condition has improved since my struggles with it as a young child (when I could virtually guarantee that I would suffer on any car journey over half an hour/45 minutes in duration) but, as an adult, I still find that I am liable to be affected on any long bumpy bus ride with windy roads or a car journey sat in the back seat with a poor view of the road.
Motion sickness is caused by mixed signals received by the brain from the body’s balance receptors – the inner ears (vestibular system), the eyes (visual system) and the muscles down the back all the way to the feet (proprioceptive system). When travelling these receptors sense that you are moving but your eyes say that you are not because your body is motionless in relation to its immediate surroundings. The result of this is that your brain gets confused as you start to feel nauseous.
Over the years, I’ve tried a range of solutions from travel bands – not a reliable method as they are inclined to move around on your slip down your wrist, to chewing sweets such as barley sugar (didn’t work at all for me!) to Stugeron 15 (containing cinnarizine) an anti-histamine which did work but caused such drowsiness that I felt zoned out and missed parts of the guided bus commentary on many a trip.
Luckily for me I do seem to be able to travel by plane and train without any problems but I am often on the look-out for solutions for long bus/car journeys. Therefore, I was really excited, when doing some research recently, to discover TravelShades.
My glasses arrived very quickly in the post and came with full instructions on use, a sturdy protective case and cleaning cloth.
TravelShades look like regular sunglasses but have a special occulating lens which blocks the ability of one eye to track movement. The special covered lens allows light to pass through so the eye may still be able to see an image and can relay a message to the brain with no indication of movement. As a result, the brain is less confused – providing relief of and/or eliminating nausea.
Whilst I hadn’t got any long haul trips planned I decided to test my Travelshades on a longish suburban Middlesex bus journey (of 50+ minutes).
The route chosen was notorious for congested roads resulting in a trip with lots of stop, start, jerky movements – guaranteed to cause problems. I purposely decided to go to my least favourite seat on the bus – namely upstairs and towards the back where the view was poor.
I must admit that I was prepared for Travelshades not to work and half expected to have to move seats to improve my view half way through the journey. However, I was overjoyed to find that I lasted the full 50 minutes (and for the 50 minute return journey) with no ill effects and wonderfully without the drowsiness and dry mouth caused by antihistamines that I would have normally taken.
At first, it did feel a little odd to have one eye covered as well as to be wearing sun-glasses like lenses on a dull day and a bit tricky to remember flip the symmetrically designed glasses at regular intervals as recommended (to vary which eye is covered). However, any initial self consciousness diminished (perhaps due to my excitement as the glasses’ effectiveness) and I started got into the habit of regular flipping. By the end of my test journeys, I feel that I was becoming a little more comfortable having one eye covered and I’m hopeful that with a little more use I shall start to feel more accustomed to this.
An independent trial conducted by Leeds Beckett University Retail Institute in 2015 found that TravelShades were effective in relieving motion sickness during a highly challenging journey in 89% of cases. So whilst these glasses may not work for everyone, I think that they are well worth a try if you are keen to find a drug free solution to your travel woes.
I am looking forward to testing TravelShades a little more extensively on longer bus journeys but I have to say that the results of my road tests are very encouraging.
I’m grateful to have found Travelshades and to know that future bus travel will no longer hold any fears. I am sure that these lenses have the potential to help a wide range of people affected by motion sickness. From business travellers who need to arrive at their destination fresh and ready to attend meetings to children (including those under 9 after an eye test) who may get some relief from this condition which is often at it’s worst at a young age and liable to knock their confidence when going into any travel situation. I certainly wish they had been around when I was struggling with this as a youngster!
To find out more visit Travelshades
Please note that I received a complimentary pair of TravelShades in return for this review. No financial incentive was given and all views expressed are my own.