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Headaches from laptop screens or monitors


Julia Falling
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Hey — Has anyone experienced headaches with one of Apple's higher resolution monitors or laptop screens? I got a new 13" MBA in July and began having a non-stop headache a week later. It's now gone one for nearly 3 months. It may not have anything to do with my screen, but I thought I'd ask. Just trying to eliminate contributing factors before I resort to amputation. I hate migraines!

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Julie,

 

Sorry to hear about the headaches! I have not had that exact problem, but I wonder if you have had your eyesight checked lately? The reason I ask was when my eyesight started going bad (and each time it gets worse) I got pretty bad headaches. And computer screens seemed to really exacerbate the problem. Even though the monitors are higher rez, smaller fonts may cause eye strain. Just a thought.

 

Hope you get relief soon.

 

In Christ,

 

 

Bret Hicks

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Thanks, Bret. My eyesight is worse every time I go to the doctor, too. I've got an astigmatism and I'm farsighted. I had my eyes checked about a month ago. My doctor said I might want to consider cataract surgery earlier rather than later because just changing my Rx would probably not help. My cataracts aren't very far advanced, but in combination with the astigmatism, fuzziness may have hit critical mass. I did up my font size with the new laptop, but that may not be enough at this point. Thank you so much for posting — you've been helpful. I think I'll call my doctor tomorrow and get some advice.

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Julie,

 

You may be like me.

 

I too get headaches, migraines if I am too long at the screen. I think, its the focusing distance, if I am even a bit out of my focusing zone it brings on eye strain. Yes have started wearing reading glasses but even with readers I find if I vary my focal distance too much then get headaches.

 

I am usually OK without readers but have to rest my eyes every 15-20 minutes by doing something else even for a short while. Just try having regular breaks see if that helps. I also know sometimes we just get carried away in terms of invoved in a subject and easy to lose all sense of time. Try this see if it works my eye doctor asked me to try it and seems to be working. Other thing is your neck and the way you haveyour Mac set up, as strain on the neck vn bring about migraines. Hope this hlps

 

Leaving you in God's Care and Grace

 

Phil

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Phil — Good suggestions. Thank you. I'll have to set the timer on my phone to remind me. I get caught up in study or email and spend too long at the computer at a stretch. It's not like there aren't other things to do!

 

I went to a good pharmacy/health food store combo in town yesterday and asked for help. They gave me the recommendation a local neurologist gives to his patients: magnesium, vitamin B2, and an herbal called butterbur. I was already doing the Mg and a multiple. I've added the B2 and butterbur.

 

Now that I've got a plan of attack, I'm more hopeful. I have some of my friends praying for me now, too — I kept this quiet for a long time because I just don't like to complain, and there are people in our church with more serious issues. This seemed like trivia in comparison. Not a smart move on my part.

 

If I find the magic bullet, I'll post back. It might help someone else.

 

Thanks, guys.

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A few more suggestions, Julie:

-turn down the screen brightness or shift to white on black instead of black on white text. I did this on my iPad for reading in Accordance (turning on Night Mode) and I find it much more comfortable to read, with less light "attacking" my eyes.

 

-could it be reflection/glare off the screen? I think there are some matte films that help with this.

 

-A set of glasses specially tailored to reading your computer screen, at the distance it usually is from your eyes might help. My mother has a pair of "off the shelf" reading glasses she keeps by her computer for this--a different magnification than her reading glasses. I may soon have to move in this direction. Some days I have trouble focusing on the screen with my progressive bifocals. I've also considered getting a pair of "communion" glasses, with the right correction for the focal distance from my eyes to the text of the eucharistic prayer laying on the communion table in front of me on communion Sundays.

 

None of the above is replacement for seeing your doctor, though. I feel for you, I have migraines, too.

 

Lorinda

Edited by Lorinda H. M. Hoover
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Perhaps off-topic, but have you tried to use Kindle Paperwhite e-book reader? Simulates plain white paper. Black letters on white plastic. Completely different technology compared to the LCD screens. You can copy/paste materials from Accordance into Word/Pages and send as Word document to Amazon, then read on Kindle.

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I found the best background for Accordance reading isn't white, but parchment as this reduces the contrast and the eye strain. Guntis, I use a kindle a fair bit and can back up what you are saying. I find regular breaks help, plus my glasses if I have to work hours on end

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Like Lorinda (and thanks, Lorinda for the suggestions), I use black background with white lettering when I read on my iPad (Kindle app). I've wondered about getting a Kindle. The price isn't bad, and they're supposed to be easier on the eyes. Just how many gadgets to I need to accumulate, though?

 

Taking breaks and being faithful about using my computer glasses are great ideas. I don't use white backgrounds for any of my Accordance modules. But I could darken them up a bit. I don't use black fonts, either.

 

I already have my external monitor at the lowest brightness level. I still feel like I need sunglasses. It may be the quality of my monitor (Acer 24" pixel pitch 0.277 x 0.277). Maybe I need an anti-glare film. I have more control of the brightness on my laptop than on the Acer monitor. I just went and experimented with brightness on my husband's iMac. I am able to take the brightness down to where it is comfortable. I've been wanted an Apple display. Perhaps that would be a good anniversary/birthday/Christmas request (they're all within 11 days of each other) if they release the new ones this year.

 

Thanks for all the suggestions. My eye doctor will be calling me back when she gets back into town next week. I'll make an appointment with my MD for next week that I can cancel if this goes away before then.

Edited by Julie Falling
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  • 2 weeks later...

Update — I talked to my eye doctor and she said that if the problem were eye strain, it would go away as I sleep and be gone in the morning. I had two days last week when I was awakened at 5am with a bad headache. That's not it. I had a CT scan yesterday, finally approved by our insurance. I don't know if I'm hoping it reveals something (which might be treatable) or not. If everything is normal, I guess it will be a neurologist next. Last week was the worst I've had. I'm not ready to conclude that it's escalating unless this week is as bad or worse.

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I'll be praying for you Julie! God is good.

 

Soli Deo Gloria,

Randy

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You are right, Randy — God is good whether we get the outcome we want or not. It all redounds to His glory and the eternal best for His children. In this case, what we have is a normal CT scan. No brain tumor, and I'm assuming no bulging aneurism. We're so grateful for that! I'm waiting to hear back from my doctor about the next move. Thank you so much for your prayers. God is good, indeed, and He always answers.

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Thank you, B Tan. I have been "glare sensitive" my entire life. So too my parents and my kids. Just being able to reduce the contrast a bit makes screen viewing so much more comfortable.

 

Do you have it on an iPad or iPhone, too?

 

EDIT: Installation on an iOS device requires jailbreaking. That's a 'no go' for me.

 

Edited by Helen Brown
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Julie, I don't have it on my iPad or iPhone. As I do all of my seminary homework on my laptop, it's enough for me that the contrast is reduced there. I'm really glad f.lux worked for you too.

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It's a great program, and really doesn't seem to distort the color noticeably. To put it on an iOS device requires jailbreaking, and I just don't want to do that. I actually like iTunes and the apps and podcasts I can get there. I also like the easy managing of my content.

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  • 1 month later...

Here's an update. I have been going to a specialized physical therapist (CranioSacral). The headaches are becoming less and less frequent, less severe, and not lasting nearly as long. I had had an appointment with a neurologist – I cancelled because of the steady improvement. I am encouraged and so grateful for a non-pharmaceutical solution. Last night I actually had zero headache for the first time since mid-July.

 

I do continue to appreciate the Flux app - it does reduce eye strain for me.

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Thanks for the update Julie, wondered how it was paning out for you in this area

 

Thanks B Tan, will try the app you suggested as I am having problems off and on in this area.

 

Leaving you in God's Care and Grace

 

Phil

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Julie, I work at a computer all day (I'm a designer/ web developer) and then spend a lot of time on it in the evening reading. I just came across the Flux app just a few weeks ago. It does take some time to adjust to it but I've noticed a difference in the ease of reading at night. I was amazed at the difference it made when reading at night.

 

Another thing I have done is adjust the colors in Accordance to a more soothing color profile. In the programming world we use color themes for viewing and editing code. There is one in particular that I also use in Accordance. It's called Solarized by Ethan Schoonover. I use a modified dark text/light background version. My background is very, very close to the parchment color setting and my text is set at RGB 76,76,76. (A dark gray). It makes for a much more pleasant reading environment.

 

I also tend to reduce my screen brightness at night.

 

Good to hear you're seeing improvement!

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  • 2 weeks later...

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