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Virtual Reality to Diagnose and Treat Vertigo | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Gamers test the Samsung Gear VR at the Oculus display at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, otherwise known as E3, in Los Angeles, June 2015. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

London – A team of psychologists at the Cardiff University aims to use virtual reality to diagnose and treat visual vertigo. The team believes the concept has “real potential”, especially as virtual reality becomes cheaper.

BBC reports that a potentially feasible solution in diagnosing and treating vertigo, a condition that results in dizziness and nausea due to repetitive visual patterns, can be achieved through virtual reality, although the exact onset of episodes is unknown.

Dr. Georgina Powell, of Cardiff University’s School of Psychology, told the BBC: “We don’t know very much about what causes visual vertigo at the moment.”

“There also are not many effective rehabilitation therapies available, so the aim of our project is to try and understand those two things,” added Powell.

The doctors hope that by using virtual reality they can have vast flexibility over the different types of environments they can show to patients and thus find out what their individual triggers might be and then tailor specific rehabilitation therapies, according to Powell.

The doctor said that since the price of VR has reduced dramatically, and the sophistication of the technology has at the same time increased, a future where these sorts of technologies are common in clinics and even at home is possible now.

Often, people with visual vertigo develop vertigo after suffering damage or illness related to their vestibular system – the apparatus of the inner ear involved in balance and space orientation – such as an ear infection. It can also be related to migraines.