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This paper discusses the impact of vision on balance and orientation in patients with vestibular disorders and in anxiety patients with space and motion discomfort (SMD). When the vestibular system is impaired, vision has a greater influence on standing postural control, resulting in greater sway when individuals are presented with erroneous or conflicting visual cues. Studies have shown that individuals with other motion sensitivities, such as motion sickness, also tend to rely on vision for balance and do not disregard erroneous visual cues. Recently, patients with anxiety disorders that include SMD also have been shown to have increased postural sway in conflicting visual environments, similar to patients with vestibular disorders. Thus, while specific vestibular deficits are not always directly associated with SMD, data regarding the impact of vision on balance suggest that some patients with SMD may have an underlying balance disorder. Copyright © 2001 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of anxiety disorders

Publication Date





81 - 94