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Headaches when reading on computer screen
An_254143 posted:

I'm sure this topic has been discussed repeatedly so apologies for any duplication; I haven't yet found anything that has helped.

I'm 26, male, healthy. I have short-sightedness in both eyes, astigmatism in the left. I have regular check ups; prescription has been pretty stable for the last few years. I wear glasses but not lenses.

When reading on a computer screen I get headaches within minutes that steadily worsen to the point where I can't keep reading. General computer use (e.g. email, web-surfing) doesn't tend to give me headaches unless I do it for hours. It's only concentrated reading of continuous text that causes a problem.

Reading on paper (or on a Kindle) doesn't cause the same problems - I might get a headache but only after a long period.

Unfortunately I can't really reduce my computer use because of my occupation, so I'd really like to find a way to read comfortably on screen if possible. Altering ambient light, screen brightness and monitor position doesn't seem to help.

These are definitely tension headaches. I can feel the muscular tension in particular around my left eye and I get a typical spreading pattern of headache back round my temples over both ears.

I sometimes grind my teeth at night and have in the past worn a mouthguard for it, so tension headaches tend to be an issue anyway.

Basically what I'd like to know is whether there's anything I can do about this that has to do specifically with my vision. Or whether alternatively I just need to either find ways of reducing residual tension in my face, neck and shoulders or of reducing my screen use.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated. Many thanks.
Alan M Kozarsky, MD responded:
Computer related eye strain and fatigue are common these days.

I would repeat the eye exam and make sure the the doctor carefully checks your eye alignment as well as your cycloplegic refraction. The cyclo refraction will assure that you are not wearing excessive nearsighted correction or in any other way putting yourself in an eyeglass situation which forces you to accommodate (squint) excessively to read the computer.

Less proven but other possible relief in this situation might come from glasses that are specially made for computer use or a non-reflective cover for the computer screen. Make sure you undergo the comprehensive eye check prior to trying eyeglass and computer screen measures.

In general, its very helpful to take scheduled breaks from computer work, at least a few minutes every 30-60 minutes and find far away objects to look at. Artificial tears as needed for dryness from not blinking during computer viewing is a good idea as well.
computereyes replied to Alan M Kozarsky, MD's response:
Thank you for the advice - much appreciated.

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