Strange symptoms

It often starts with walls moving continuously. Feeling unstable or drunk as soon as you move. The faces of people walking past are so blurred that you have to stop to recognize them. In motion, it becomes impossible to read traffic signs for the same reason: blur

Symptoms of bilateral vestibular deficits:Image flou

  • A balance disorder that appears every time the patient closes his eyes or moves in an area of darkness and even half-light: vestibular ataxia.
  • A blur of vision that appears as soon as he moves his head: oscillopsia.Bonhomme tombe


Video presenting a simulation of oscillopsia:

Patients no longer stabilize the image on the retina and the image is therefore blurry, floating, and jerky (a bit like panning quickly with a camera without a stabilizer).

There are aggravating factors such as fatigue, darkness, immersion in water or walking in a difficult environment (crowds, unstable ground, shelving, etc.).

Faced with such symptoms, the practitioner undertakes clinical vestibular examinations that will confirm or rule out the diagnosis of bilateral vestibulopathy.

A story of balance and “vestibule”

The sense of balance in humans is a complex function that results from sensory information from three main sources:

  • The vestibule in the inner ear (or labyrinth); there is one in each ear. It contains sensors that measure  accelerations, tilts and rotations of the head. This sensory information is transmitted through the vestibular nerve to the brainstem and then to the cerebellum and brain.
  • Sight gives us reference points in relation to the environment around us, to the things we interact with. This information clearly contributes to our mental representation of the vertical axis that is essential for equilibration. We can all, including with two operational vestibules, be put in trouble when these visual references are absent or misleading.
  • Our muscles, our tendons, the ligaments of our joints, the skin and in particular that of the soles of the feet, our organs in general, have receptors that are sensitive to stretching or pressure; These sensors constantly provide information on their position, the speed of their movement and their verticality. This information is essential for balancing.


Our mastery of balance is the result of incessant back and forth between our brain, our cerebellum, our muscles and all of our sensors that provide information about the environment, the position of our body in this environment and the awareness we have of it.

In bilateral vestibular deficits, vision and sense of muscle movement supplements are widely relied on for daily living.

It's very tiring and sometimes demoralizing but you have to keep your self-confidence, that's what life is all about.

Patience, adaptation, habituation and compensation are the fundamental elements of the overall rehabilitation process.

If sensory replacements are disturbed transiently (darkness, unstable ground, etc.) or permanently, then everything is much more difficult.


Last edited: 02/05/2024