Edited April 2014 from facsimile transmission dated July 2007
Good afternoon Dr. It’s now been a few months since you examined my eyes and prescribed a new pair of glasses in hopes of correcting the headaches/eye pain issues I’ve been dealing with since March 2006. You contacted me soon after my examination to check up on the success/failure of the prescription and I had asked for a longer evaluation time since my previous prescription had worked fairly well at first but eventually lost effectiveness. I would now like to provide you with an update of my situation.
As I mentioned when you called, I do believe the glasses are providing some relief but they have far from fully corrected my pain problem. Use of computers continues to cause strain and aching in the muscles above my eyeballs and in my head between my eyebrows. This pain will present itself within 30 minutes of using the computer. The glasses do seem to curb the pain to some degree, but they certainly do not relieve it. In fact, I would say that the glasses are inflicting a different pain symptom, similar to my initial problem, but also different. I know that is a rather vague description, but it is difficult to quantify the difference between the two sensations. Without glasses, the pain seems more acute and certainly after a full day of computer use without glasses, I am in much distress. While using glasses, the pain is somewhat subdued, as I mentioned, and I am more easily able to recover after a full day of computer use, but there remains a pain. The best way I can describe it is when someone who has perfect eyesight puts on another person’s prescription glasses. There is a sense of strain as one’s eyes adjust for a correction that was not needed.
Further oddities regarding my symptoms are the differences in pain sensations that I incur at different computers. My office computer is located in a sunlit window office whereas my home computer is in a dark basement office with artificial lighting only. I would say the pain is more pronounced in my basement, regardless of the type of lights (incandescent vs fluorescent) or screen I use (crt vs lcd). I continue to experience similar, though far less intense pain when watching television or going to a movie. Distance to the screen seems to play a role in this as the TV is perhaps 12 feet away whereas computer screens are 1 to 2 feet away. I do not where my prescription glasses when watching TV as they cause more problems in this distant viewing situation.
I’ve been attempting to assess any other symptoms that may be of help in finding out what’s wrong with me. One item I recalled from my examination was a question regarding light sensitivity. At the time I said that I had not noticed any problems with light sensitivity. I’m starting to wonder if I was perhaps mistaken is saying so. It’s a difficult symptom to assess since I don’t really know how anyone else feels on a sunny day etc. But I’m starting to wonder if I actually am more light sensitive than the average person. I find that I am in need of sunglasses more often than most other people when walking outside. Even on overcast days I just find it more comfortable to wear sunglasses. This is not to say I can’t get along without them, but they do seem to make me more comfortable when outside for any duration of time. And certainly on sunny days, I need sunglasses to survive or else I’m scrunching my eyes and squinting a great deal. And my discomfort isn’t necessarily a pain or headache, just a feeling of minor distress.
On that note, I have had a few odd experiences in unfamiliar lighting situations. Take, for instance, a lunch I had at a restaurant downtown. I was seated in the far back corner of the restaurant which almost has a warehouse feel to it. The only natural lighting is at the front of the place and I was seated facing my friend who had her back to the direction of the windows. There was only the very slightest dull grey daylight entering from the windows, but it just about drove me crazy. I had the most difficult time even focusing on my friend silhouetted in this light. It was quite discomforting and caused some strain in my eyes, similar to what I’ve experienced on the computer front. This may simply be an oddity associated with the lighting at this particular restaurant, but I wanted to tell you about it nonetheless.
I believe during my examination I had mentioned that prior to this pain/headache developing last March, there was a week or so where I would experience a sharp pain from my teeth to the backs of my eyes on the left side of my face whenever I would move or tilt my head relatively quickly. If I looked down I would experience the sharp pain but if I looked again it wouldn’t happen. I’d wait a few moments and look down again or turn and the pain would shoot again. Then it disappeared as this whole headache while using computer screens issue came to be. Well, a month or so ago I experienced similar pains for a couple days, this time on the right side of my face, but they have since subsided again. I only mention this because the shoots of pain seem to finish in the same place I feel the most discomfort above/behind my eyes when using the computer for longer periods of time.
I also have mentioned that I do not feel the pain when reading books. As I thought about this I wanted to qualify it by saying that I don’t read books for 6 hours a day so I don’t know really if they would cause similar headaches that the computers do. I would say that after using these glasses for a few months, when I try to read without them my sight is compromised to what I remember it being before this whole problem surfaced. The characters seem clear, but there is an almost psychedelic feel to my eyes as they try to focus on the words. It’s almost as if the white space on the page is undulated behind the words. Yet, when I put on my glasses to read, this phenomenon continues to occur, though very slightly less obvious. Again, forgive my less than stellar descriptions, but they are difficult to describe.
And finally, I just want to re-iterate that when I spend time away from the computer screen or the TV, like say spending a few days at the beach or camping, I do not experience any persistent pain. These moments are quite a relief compared to the usual strain of a full day’s work on the computer. That said, even on these restful days if I look downwards with both eyes, I can feel a definite pain in the muscles above both eyes. If I look down as well as side to side, the pain is most pronounced in the far right above my right eye just behind the upper eye socket.
I would be most curious to know if you think there could possibly be a muscular problem causing all this. I continue to suffer significant pain in my upper right side of my back whenever I sit up for periods of time. The pain seems to stay at bay if I remain in a reclined position, lie down, or stand. I have had no luck dealing with this pain either despite many visits to the doctor and various physiotherapists. In fact, exercise and activity tend to aggravate the pain and cause it spread to my shoulder, across my back, and most recently into my hip. Anyway, I just brought that up in case there might be some kind of relationship between the problems since to me I seem to be experiencing all these pains in muscles, and oddly enough they seem to predominate on the right side of my body.
Anyway, I hope somewhere in this you find something that might provide some lasting relief from the pain/ache. I’m finding it all very distressful since I have yet to find lasting relief. Please feel free to call me if you’d like to discuss this further and let me know if you’d like to see me again. I appreciate your time.