Eye strain or not?
October 25, 2007 7:34 AM   Subscribe

If it's not eye strain then what is it?

My left or right eye frequently wants to shut, especially when I'm looking at something I'm also concentrating on. Sometimes it literally forces itself shut and I'm powerless to stop it and I'm left with a scrunched up eye. Sometimes it feels a little like it's weeping, but no tears come. My eyes rarely hurt, or feel dry.

I've mentioned this to two different opticians, both of whom said it was eye strain. I wear glasses for very slight short-sightedness and astigmatism. I spend literally all day reading, either from the page or a computer.

I'm not sure if it's eye strain or not. It can start just 30 minutes after I get out of bed, so my eyes aren't even tired. I have yet to find a cure that works and I've tried blinking, eye drops, an eye bath, putting palms over my eye sockets... The only thing that brings relief is to shut my eyes for a few moments. A cloth with cold wet water feels good but doesn't help for more than a few minutes.

Is this eye strain? If not, what is it? If it is, are there any sure-fire relief methods I can employ?
posted by deeper red to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Get thee to an ophthalmologist. Opticians are not doctors. This can be serious. It doesn't exactly sound like what you describe (i.e., don't freak out), but optic neuritis can be an early sign of multiple sclerosis (it was for me).
posted by words1 at 7:38 AM on October 25, 2007

Seconding the get thee to an ophthalmologist with the addition of, report back and let us know what he told you.
posted by qvtqht at 9:09 AM on October 25, 2007

I don't think an ophthalmologist is the right doc. You need a neurologist.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:31 AM on October 25, 2007

Minor sidetrack, but maybe helpful if someone can answer: for something similar but different, I have been referred to a "neuro-ophthalmologist".

When would you bother with one of these, versus a vanilla-flavor neurologist?
posted by blue_wardrobe at 10:23 AM on October 25, 2007

Response by poster: I've done some research and some people have suggested my eye strain can be caused by glaring at white all day (word processor pages, and browser backgrounds). So I'm experimenting with inverting my screen colours, so that the background becomes black. I might admit it feels better immediately -- much more restful.
posted by deeper red at 11:17 AM on October 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

When would you bother with one of these, versus a vanilla-flavor neurologist?

When you need someone who specialises in eyes.

so that the background becomes black.

My dad swears by white text on a royal blue background. He's been a programmer for twenty-something years now, so I take his screen-reading advice seriously.
posted by robcorr at 12:40 AM on October 26, 2007

Best answer: Problem solved.

My TFT screen was quite simply too bright. I think this is a real problem with TFT screens compared to older CRT monitors -- they can be set to much higher brightness levels.

Previously my iMac was set to maximum brightness full-time. Now it hovers around the minimum brightness level. It depends on circumstance, of course. But since doing this I've not really suffered from eye strain and can even manage without my glasses sometimes. If I do start getting eye-strain, I turn the brightness down a little.

Sometimes this really does mean the screen isn't bright, and can appear a bit grey, but your mind adjusts and compensates.
posted by deeper red at 6:39 AM on January 18, 2008

« Older The Ending of Alan Moore's From Hell   |   I want this job but I look like a slob? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.