What Causes Motion Sickness in VR, and How Can You Avoid It?

Virtual Reality (VR) has become increasingly popular in recent years, offering users immersive experiences in a digital world. However, for some individuals, VR can cause a disorienting and uncomfortable sensation known as motion sickness. In this blog, we will explore the causes of motion sickness in VR and provide some tips on how to avoid it.


1. Mismatch between Visual and Physical Cues

One of the primary reasons for motion sickness in VR is a mismatch between what the eyes see and what the body feels. In virtual reality, users are visually immersed in a different environment, but their physical body is static. When these visual cues do not align with the body's sensory input, it can confuse the brain and lead to motion sickness. For example, if you are in a virtual roller coaster and your body isn't actually moving, but your eyes perceive fast-paced movements, it can trigger the feeling of motion sickness.

To avoid this mismatch, it is essential to choose VR experiences that align with your comfort level. Start with less intense experiences with minimal movement and gradually work your way up to more immersive ones. This gradual exposure can help your brain adapt to the visual cues and reduce the likelihood of motion sickness.

2. Latency and Frame Rate

VR requires a high processing power to create a seamless experience. If there is a delay between your head movements and the corresponding visual update in the headset, it can cause motion sickness. This delay, known as latency, disrupts the connection between your movements and the virtual environment, leading to sensorial confusion and potentially triggering motion sickness.

To minimize latency, ensure that you have a high-performance VR headset and a powerful computer system that meets the recommended specifications. Additionally, ensure that the VR applications or games you use are optimized for smooth performance. Regularly updating your drivers and software can also help reduce latency and improve the overall VR experience.

3. Field of View (FOV)

The field of view (FOV) in VR refers to the extent of your visual perception within the headset. If the FOV is too narrow or restricted, it can create a tunnel vision effect, limiting your peripheral vision and increasing the chances of motion sickness. A limited FOV can disrupt the natural visual experience, leading to an imbalance between the visual and physical cues.

When choosing a VR headset, consider the FOV specifications and opt for one with a wider field of view. A broader FOV provides a more realistic and immersive experience, reducing the likelihood of motion sickness. Additionally, adjusting the headset's positioning and ensuring proper calibration can improve the FOV and reduce discomfort.

4. Smooth Movement and Locomotion Techniques

In VR, the way characters or objects move within the virtual environment can contribute to motion sickness. Fast, jerky, or unpredictable movements can negatively affect the user's sense of stability, leading to motion sickness symptoms. Certain locomotion techniques, such as teleportation or snap turning, reduce the sensation of movement and can help alleviate motion sickness.

When selecting VR games or applications, pay attention to the movement mechanics used and opt for ones that offer smooth, gradual movements rather than sudden jolts. Some games and experiences also provide options to customize movement settings, allowing you to find the settings that are most comfortable for you.


5. Take Breaks and Manage Exposure

It is important to pace yourself and manage the amount of time you spend in VR to avoid motion sickness. Extended exposure to VR can increase the likelihood of discomfort and motion sickness symptoms. Taking regular breaks allows your body to readjust and reduces the risk of overexposure.

When you start feeling any discomfort or symptoms of motion sickness, such as nausea or dizziness, it is crucial to stop using VR immediately and take a break. Resume using VR only when you feel completely comfortable and ensure that you gradually increase the duration of your VR sessions over time.


Motion sickness in VR is often caused by a mismatch between visual and physical cues, latency, limited field of view, and uncomfortable movement or locomotion techniques. However, by being mindful of these factors and following the tips mentioned above, you can minimize the chances of experiencing motion sickness and enjoy a more comfortable and enjoyable VR experience. Remember to prioritize your comfort and well-being while immersing yourself in the fantastic virtual worlds of VR.