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Eye fatigue and strain

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by littlebird6180, Feb 1, 2017.

  1. littlebird6180

    littlebird6180 Senior Member

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    I've had ME for at least 20 years so this is a new symptom. In the past week, I've developed powerful eye fatigue and strain. I'm a graphic designer/artist so am at my computer a lot during the day. My eyes are starting to feel really strained though almost immediately when I arrive at my desk and look at the monitor. This has never happened before. They feel really bothered by the brightness so I dim the monitor but that doesn't seem to provide symptomatic relief.

    And by the end of the day, they're just incredibly dry and hurt a lot.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks
     
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  2. belize44

    belize44 Senior Member

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    I have similar issues, so here's what I do. For the dryness, I use prescription eye drops designed for moisture, or a bit of warmed organic Castor oil applied to the lower lid with a Q-tip. This is also good right before sleeping because it may blur your vision for a few minutes. Also, moistening a tissue with rosewater and gently applying it to the closed eye for a few seconds at a time, is wonderfully soothing.

    I do eye exercises where I look out my window at the furthest point I can, wait a few seconds,then focus on another point a bit nearer, etc. until I am looking at the windowsill. I do this several times, then move my eyes back and forth, up and down, diagonal, and so on. You can also look online for eye exercises. Sometimes I wear sunglasses if the brightness of the monitor is really bothersome.

    The eyes just need variety or they get strained, even more so with our health challenges. Hope that helps!:)
     
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  3. Snowdrop

    Snowdrop Rebel without a biscuit

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    I too have dry eyes and rely on the steady use of eye drops to get me through the day. I also use an eye gel.
    I am not disciplined enough about taking breaks from the computer screen but I do try. When taking a break it might be useful to consider using one of those sleep masks over your eyes. It won't stop the dryness or pain but it helps give temporary relief. Or alternatively a facecloth moistened with warm water across the eyes.

    I find the pain quite pronounced in the morning then again at the end of the day. It never really goes away so I'll be paying attention if anyone has solutions. Also, you might want to peruse Sjogrens Syndrome sites to see if this might be the issue for you. http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/sjogrens-syndrome/causes.php
     
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  4. sb4

    sb4 Senior Member

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    The type of light and intesity going in your eyes is massively important to eye health and overall health. We should be seeing only sun light but most of us now only see artificial light that is missing uv ir and contains way too much blue.

    Get natural sun light as often as possible , take many breaks from screen, install f.lux!

    Notice there is no eye strain when outside in natural light...
     
  5. TigerLilea

    TigerLilea Senior Member

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    Computers are very hard on the eyes and it is very common for people who spend long periods of time staring at a screen to develop eye problems. Children are starting to develop eye issues that previously were only seen in older people. Plus, as we age, so do our eyes and they do become dry. Have you tried using eye drops for dry eyes? Make sure they aren't the ones for red eye as they can actually make the problem worse. It could be also that you need glasses for screen time.
     
  6. littlebird6180

    littlebird6180 Senior Member

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    Has anyone here tried computer glasses?
     
  7. sb4

    sb4 Senior Member

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    I wore gunnars(?) computer glasses that reflects some blue at work. Helps a little but getting some that cuts out all blue is best.
     
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  8. littlebird6180

    littlebird6180 Senior Member

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    It just occurred to me that this might be a side effect of botox I received for migraines last week. It seems like too much of a coincidence that it wouldn't be related. I called my neurologist and he thought it was highly unlikely but I'm always that 1% who has the very rare side effect. Hopefully it will fade because as I said, I hadn't had this symptom before last week. And I have more than enough symptoms, I don't need one more! :)
     
  9. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Hibernating

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    Does it hurt on the surface of the eye, or deep at the back of the eye?
     
  10. echobravo

    echobravo Keep searching, the answer is out there

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    Get the largest screen you can and place it as far away as possible. I use a 55" LED TV as my computer screen, it lessens the strain on the eye muscles, preventing eye pain, migraines. Remember your eyes are "neutral and relaxed" at approx 6m, anything closer or further involves muscle contraction.

    Also get proper glasses for the distance your screen is at. Blue blocking filter will reduce strain as well.
     
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  11. littlebird6180

    littlebird6180 Senior Member

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    It's really hard to describe. My eyeballs feel heavy in the sockets and my vision feels strained, like it's a real effort to focus. And the muscles around my eyes feel strained.
     
  12. JES

    JES Senior Member

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    This happens to me typically once or twice a year when I experiment with new supplements, for example it happens bizarrely when I take a larger dose of vitamin C. I get some kind of immune reaction which makes my eyes go dry, so in my experience it's 100% related to dry eyes. Even a small decrease of tear production that I barely notice will force me off the computer whereas I typically can watch screens for hours without much issues.
     
  13. Prefect

    Prefect Senior Member

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    Did you come out of cold recently? Could this be a low grade sinus infection?

    BTW, do you feel like it takes just a microsecond longer for one of your eyes to focus on what the other one is looking at when you shit your gaze, like it has to quickly adjust a bit? I get this a lot.
     
  14. trails

    trails Senior Member

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    I've been experiencing this same symptom, concurrent with the sudden onset of cognitive and other difficulties, for the last three years. Like you, I had other CFS symptoms (PEM, etc.) that had been going on for quite a while before this.

    I agree that it difficult to describe. My eyes continually feel sore and the muscles surrounding them feel strained and very tight or "non-elastic". Additionally, I experience fluctuating vision clarity throughout the day, and a compromised ability to shift focus.
     
    flybro likes this.
  15. charles shepherd

    charles shepherd Senior Member

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    Although eye strain and fatigue, especially after a more prolonged period of reading or computer work, is something that can occur in ME/CFS it could be a sign that there is something else wrong with the visual focussing mechanisms

    So you ought to get your eyes checked by an optician before concluding that this visual problem is ME/CFS related

    If there is any doubt about the cause you could be referred to a hospital eye department for further assessment

    Dry eyes are a very common problem in the normal population and there are some simple over-the-counter eye drops (artificial tears) that will help to significantly improve lubrication.

    Hypromellose eye drops/artificial tears:

    http://patient.info/medicine/hypromellose-eye-drops-artelac-isopto-tears-naturale

    But it's worth noting that there is an interesting condition called Sjogren's Syndrome that causes fatigue, other ME/CFS like symptoms and dry eyes (plus dry mouth etc) which may be worth checking for

    More information on research into visul problems in ME/CFS - this is a conference report

    Dr Claire Hutchinson, School of Psychology, University of Leicester


    Visual processing and ME


    Dr Hutchinson gave an interesting presentation covering the sort of visual problems that people with ME/CFS commonly report. She also described the way in which she has been investigating these symptoms in a group of 63 people with ME/CFS to see if they can be confirmed by objective measures of visual performance.


    Visual symptoms are quite commonly reported in a range of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Some of these symptoms may be related to what is termed cortical hyperexcitability - in other words, parts of the brain involved with visual messages become over sensitive. There is currently very little information in the medical literature about visual symptoms in ME/CFS but these problems are frequently discussed on social media and may have a significant impact on the quality of everyday life. Some people, for instance, stop driving as a result.


    Visual symptoms that people with ME/CFS often report include:


    •increased awareness or sensitivity to bright light

    •visual or reading fatigue

    •difficulty with focussing on images and following moving images

    •vision related headaches after reading

    •pain in or around the eye

    •dry and/or itchy eyes - dry eye syndrome


    From a research point of view, Dr Hutchinson has been carrying out a number of tests to see if these symptoms can be objectively measured and confirmed.


    Using a group of people with ME/CFS, along with a control group, Dr Hutchinson described some of the investigations she has been carrying out to measure:


    •cortical excitability

    •visual attention and the ability to ignore irrelevant background information

    •eye movement and the ability to track/follow objects


    The results so far, some of which have been published, indicate that basic eye movements to simple static targets are less accurate in people with ME/CFS and that moving eyes for even short periods of time induces eye-movement fatigue. This type of opthalmological testing has helped to confirm that people with ME/CFS have a range of problems related to visual attention that are consistent with their self-reported symptoms.


    •More information on this research can be found here:

    http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/psychology/ppl/ch190/CFS_ME


    Dr Charles Shepherd
    Hon Medical Adviser, MEA
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
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  16. littlebird6180

    littlebird6180 Senior Member

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    Thanks for the info @charles shepherd - very interesting.

    I'm constantly a little baffled at how hard it is to really be clear on whether this is ME or something else. My ME doctor said she has increased concern that I may possibly have something else going on (like MS or Sjorgen's) but she also thinks the eye strain could be a clear side effect of the botox. Because I've also had increased problems with hand tremors, I need to get a more in depth neurological work up.

    @trails the focus shifting is a problem I've been having too.

    I'm just so depressed by my own health. I just want to be normal and keep up with my happy little kids who deserve the world and not some parent that is more of a burden than anything else to them.
     
  17. charles shepherd

    charles shepherd Senior Member

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    Sjogren's syndrome - from the Differential Diagnosis of ME/CFS section of MEA purple book:

    Sjögren’s syndrome:

    A number of viruses, including Epstein-Barr virus and endogenous retroviruses, have been implicated in the causation of Sjögren’s syndrome. They have also been implicated in the possible causation of an upregulated cytokine profile that can occur in Sjögren’s Syndrome.

    The commonest presenting features of Sjögren’s Syndrome are dry eyes (causing a gritty sensation) and a dry mouth.

    A Schirmer test assesses ocular dryness.

    Vaginal dryness (causing painful intercourse) and respiratory tract dryness (causing a dry cough) may also be present. Debilitating fatigue and/or arthralgia is present in a significant proportion of cases.

    Anti-Ro and/or anti-La antibodies are found in approximately 75% of Sjögren’s syndrome patients. Hypergammaglobulinaemia with raised immunoglobulin G (IgG) and/or IgM is common.
     
  18. Barry53

    Barry53 Senior Member

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    Yes, I do every day, but bear in mind I do not have ME (my wife does). In the UK (not sure where you are) they seem to be called occupational glasses, and mine are optimised for my viewing distance at work, with anti-glare coating. I find mine to be very good, but they do need to be prescribed properly.
     
  19. dhube32

    dhube32

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    I've recently noticed issues with my eyes and vision similar to what you are describing. My eyes feel strained within an hour or so of waking up, when they really have no good reason to feel strained. I noticing it particularly when driving or reading. I went to my eye doctor to get an exam and of course was told that everything looked perfectly good, a phrase I am so sick of hearing at this point...

    Take care,
    Denise
     
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