My computer is breaking my eyes.
December 11, 2008 7:58 AM   Subscribe

Need advice on computer vision syndrome and "eye-teaming" problems, and computer glasses recommendations...

My vision has been slowly deteriorating over the past few years and I think it's from eye strain directly related to my work (computer, spreadsheets, 50 hrs a week) . I don't experience blurriness in either eye over long or short distances, but the two no longer work together well to produce a crisp image- there's this ghosting, shimmery effect that makes me nauseous, head-achey, and interferes with depth perception. From what I've read, this seems to be one of the symptoms (convergence insufficiency) of "computer vision syndrome" which I gather is typified by whole suite of eye problems resulting from computer use.

I have my first vision therapy appt next week and it's very expensive so I'd like to get the most out of it.

What evaluations should I make sure to ask for?

If you have had similar problems, what has worked for you- particulary if you've suffered with convergence insufficiency...

And, I need computer glasses recommendations, if possible.

posted by hellboundforcheddar to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I haven't had anything quite so severe, but I have been getting headaches at work lately. They were coming at two or three in the afternoon and I assumed they were monitor related. Instead of using my lunch break to read reddit and metafilter, I've been using it to read actual books. Haven't had a screen related headache since.
posted by valadil at 8:41 AM on December 11, 2008

A competent eye doctor will be able to prescribe mid-distance glasses for your computer work (mid-distance because, for most people, the computer screen is not close enough for reading glasses to be helpful).

When you go to talk to the doctor about getting computer glasses, take along your computer distance measurement with you: When seated at your desk in the position you would normally be in when looking at the computer screen, measure the distance between your face and your screen (have a friend help you if necessary to get an accurate measurement).

When I worked as an optometrist's assistant, we prescribed numerous pairs of computer glasses and the vast majority of patients reported that they were very happy with them and felt that most of their computer-related vision problems were solved. Bonus: Since they're single-vision lenses, they're very affordable.
posted by amyms at 8:44 AM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

Several years ago, I had pair of glasses made specifically for computer work. They worked like a charm, but I got tired of having to switch to my normal glasses whenever I got up from my workstation.
Eventually, I just got fitted for trifocals and moved-on.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:01 AM on December 11, 2008

I used to have glasses with prismatic lenses to make my eyes converge properly, but the symptom I had was double vision rather than blurriness or shimmering. The glasses worked if all I did was stare immobile at the computer, but the minute I looked around I got queasily disoriented. I ended up ditching the glasses, sitting farther back from the computer (so less convergence is required), increasing type size, and getting standard medium-vision lenses.

Have you actually been diagnosed with convergence insufficiency? I ask because what you describe sounds a little like the temporary astigmatism I get when I work too long. When your vision is acting up, you might have a look at these charts to see if you get the astigmatism prize. I get it in one eye only but it messes things up all around.
posted by PatoPata at 3:04 PM on December 11, 2008

I had a terrible time seeing my PC without pain when I hit my mid-40s and developed presbyopia, even with computer glasses. I finally found an optometrist who said my problem was that I wasn't converging well. He told me to lower my monitor, and the pain went right away. (He also gave me PC glasses focused farther away than the others had, which was also a huge improvement.)
Good luck.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 2:52 PM on December 12, 2008

Response by poster:
Thanks for all the feedback. V. helpful. I'll post again after my eval.
posted by hellboundforcheddar at 8:35 AM on December 13, 2008

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