Posted by: seattledizzygroup | October 31, 2020

Adapting to the Virtual World

Adjusting to Visual Environment

by Morgan Kriz, DPT

Vestibular Physical Therapist

 (Presented to Seattle Dizzy Group on 10/10/20)

This presentation discusses the challenges of adapting to the virtual world with a chronic vestibular disorder. For example, computer screens and blue light from electronic devices may cause or exacerbate symptoms such as visual issues, dizziness, migraine/headache, nausea, sensory overload, etc.

Morgan Kriz, PT gives suggestions for how to adjust to and overcome the challenges of visual environment so that those with vestibular disorders may better utilize technology and connect virtually with others.

The Brain Can Adapt and Change

The Brain is Like a Computer


“What Fires Together, Wires Together”

The ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to learning or experience or following injury.

Learning a New Skill

  • Can be accomplished (Robertson at el 2004)
    • Explicit learning = intentionally, with an individual’s awareness
    • Implicit learning = unintentionally, with little awareness
  • Make change = Little awareness with sleep
  • Minimal change = Aware of learning and no sleep

Compensation = Adjustment

  • Compensation
    • 1883 Bechterew first described
    • EWALD (1892), MAGNUS (1922, 1924) and others recognized the importance of optic, somato-sensory, cortical, and spinal influences on the compensation of labyrinthine lesions
    • Patients rely on somatosensory cues from the lower extremities during the acute stage, and on visual cues during the chronic stage (Herdman 1998)
    • The visual inputs that arise from peripheral visual motion cues are more powerful than those from central (foveal) visual motion (Horak 2014)
  • Decompensation
    • Overactivity leads to fatigue resulting in increased symptoms for 24-36 hours
    • Decompensation can occur: This may be triggered by a period of inactivity, extreme fatigue, a change in medications, or an intercurrent illness

** A relapse of vestibular symptoms in this setting does not necessarily imply ongoing or progressive labyrinthine dysfunction **

Set Yourself Up For Success

  • Life is a learning experience, there are no set backs
  • Set a Schedule = 60 every 60
    • Every 60 minutes, stand up/stretch/move/close your eyes for 60 seconds
    • SLEEP
    • Food/hydrate
    • Movement
    • Highlight: 1 thing to look forward to day/week/month/year
  • Proper attire & equipment
  • Design your happy & SAFE space
    • Desk, couch, bedroom, office

Video Viewer Tips

Postural Control

Balance Stance

  • Finding your center of gravity is key for balance, aka “sweet spot”
  • Think about a tripod – sturdy base of support – on both of your feet.
  • Keep the balls of your feet down, especially your big toe.

Embrace Change

  • Change your position often
  • Do not tunnel for too long
  • Move and appreciate your world

Good Job Brain

  • Treat yourself
  • Celebrate the milestones = get creative!
  • Create


  • What coping strategies do you use to help you manage unexpected life changes?
  • Do you fall back into old patterns of addictive behaviors or do you practice acceptance and other positive recovery coping behaviors?
  • Acceptance involves action through positive coping strategies such as affirmations, visualization, journaling and mindfulness practice.
  • Another positive approach to change involves reaching out to a supportive network of fellows, a counselor, family and friends.
  • Remember that changes are a normal part of life,
    It is also amazing how we each have our own resiliency and ability to recover from, or adjust easily to, change. Practice living life with an attitude of gratitude and embrace change as an opportunity for continuous renewal and growth.

Watch Video of Presentation


Morgan Kriz, DPT

Vestibular Physical Therapist

Morgan has a Doctorate of Physical Therapy that specializes in Balance and Vestibular Rehabilitation. Morgan does have a strong background in Orthopedic Physical Therapy and this provides a foundation for general musculoskeletal conditions that may contribute to balance limitations.

Her focus as a provider is for patients to feel empowered with management of their condition and learn strategies to live a functional life so they can participate in the things they love. The human body is a magnificent. Each body system has a distinguished function however all systems are interdependent with one another. Morgan tries her best to educate patients so they may be proactive in their healthcare and strives to communicate well with other providers to give efficient and quality care through a multidisciplinary approach.

Vestibular Rehabilitation is an exercise based therapy program used to treat balance and dizziness disorders. It is based on the body’s natural ability to compensate for balance problems through optimizing the brain’s connection from your inner ear; eyes and body. Morgan uses evidence based guidelines when creating a patient’s individualized plan of care for Vestibular Rehabilitation. Morgan believes getting the most out of life is to make it fun/play games and tries to incorporate this into her rehabilitation programs so the brain retains the information for long-term management.

Contact Morgan:

Vestibular Therapy Specialists, telehealth services:

Vestibular Specialists Videos:


Presentation information is not meant to be taken as medical advice.

Presentations posted online may include discussion notes, links, images, and other information added by Seattle Dizzy Group.


© Copyright 2020, Seattle Dizzy Group. All rights reserved.


  1. […] ways to overcome the challenges of connecting virtually and heard from guest speakers about “Adjusting to Visual Environment” and “Keeping Balanced in the Home.” We also partnered with Vestibular Therapy […]

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Seattle Dizzy Group

Providing support & community for people living with chronic dizziness & imbalance -- in Seattle & beyond

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