Has anyone had had to quit their computer job?

I was just wondering if any of you have had to quit your computer job over mav. I recently had to return to my job full time and I’m struggling so much. I think this is the end of the line for me in this feild. I went on vacation two weeks ago and all the remaining symptoms I was having disappeared. I felt normal for the first time in months. Then I came home and went back to work full time and they are all back times ten. I can’t do this anymore. I don’t know how I’m going to make it through another 5 days of something that makes me feel so horrible. I’ve worked in this feild so long, I don’t know what else to do. I feel so stuck.


I had to stop computer work for about 6 months until I figured out how to work on them without getting sick.

For me (before the topamax allowed me to go back to working on them without symptoms again) the key was finding the right monitors, using reasonably low brightness, and using sunglasses/migraine glasses.

There were 2 components of the monitors bothering me. Component 1 was brightness, which I was able to alleviate with the sunglasses/migraine glasses. Component 2 was the strobling/flickering which I was able to alleviate by avoiding LED-backlit monitors and other certain monitors that use strobing to control brighness. I’ve found the Dell monitors are usually pretty good for this. I use the U2410 quite a bit, though it tends to be a really bright monitor so you have to turn it down to 0 brightness to use it.

Obviously it is much easier now that the Topamax is keeping my symptoms in check. But I was able to get to about 80% symptom-free use just with glasses + the right monitor. And this is for some really long computer sessions, like 12-16 hour days.

Which glasses do you use Jamie?

Teri, I am so sorry to hear this as it sounded like you were doing so much better. I have not returned back to work yet because my dr put me on topamax and my symptoms got way worse. He wants me to give it another 2 weeks but I’m slowly tirating down. But I seriously don’t know how I’m going to handle it. The Effexor alone had me feeling so good so I’m hoping that once the topamax is out of my system, I’ll be able to tolerate my work environment. Have you tried the glasses? Are you working full time?

I used the Migralens glasses that you can get from the UK. I don’t know that they worked any better than regular sunglasses would have, but they allowed me to work for many many hours on the computer when working without them for even 15-30 minutes made me start rocking away.

Note that with the wrong monitor, the glasses did no good. Certain monitors are strobing (at imperceptable rates) which is a major migraine trigger that glasses cannot help with. LED-backlit monitors are especially likely to be doing this, though they are not the only ones, nor do all LED-backlit monitors do so. I recommend IPS LCD monitors and I’ve had good luck with Dell monitors, though I have only tried a few models. The screen that made me sick the quickest was my Macbook–that thing can trigger a migraine faster than anything else I’ve ever seen.

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I went back full time a couple weeks ago. Already have at least two or three occurances since then for missing work. I work in a call center. My eyes cannot tolerate the screen pops, or the massive amount of scrolling I have to do at lighenting speed. I can’t do this anymore. I end up just sitting there, avoiding calls because I don’t want the screen pops or the scrolling and I watch my performace just go down the drain. I can feel myself giving up. Sorry, I’m just feeling very low right now. I’m sorry the topamax did not work for you. I do have computer glasses I use. They help, but not enough.


Yes it’s a huge deal and I’ve had to reduce my hours. Like the other suggestions it’s worth experimenting with screens etc if you can - I find that I last a way longer with some screens (and on some days…). Way better on bigger screens and my job involves reading a lot of research reports/spreadsheets etc online quickly and scrolling is absolute death. Always.

It may not work in your context (and it sounds so basic is a bit embarrassing) but ages ago an OT showed me using page up and page down keys. Not every keyboard has them but vastly improves things for me, particularly if the computer has a bigger than usual screen so less scrolling. Another silly small but quick thing is with the view/font size at the start so I find where I wanna be more speedily . and in my breaks wondering what you need to do to be a park ranger… cheers W

I think it depends on whether you are getting motion sickness due to scrolling or migraines due to brightness/strobing of the monitor backlight. I think they are distinctly different issues.

My job is computer based all day and its not a new system either so makes it worse. I did find it made me feel worse but I coped with it but I only did part time I would not tolerate full time I dont think but did do it on occasions when we were short staffed and it messed me up all weekend.
I dont have any suggestions as i just battled through it but like I say it wasnt full time so I really feel for you , I hate working in an office as it is because the lights mess me up aswell. Im on mat leave now and am grateful Ive got a year away from the place.

Good luck I hope you find a solution soon

I HAVE to remember this info for when I go back to work…
how do I bookmark this thread??

Thank you. I was part time between June and early Sept. At four hours a day I handled it much better. They only recently made me go back to full time. They typically don’t allow people to work part time at my job and I’ve been struggling with this for so long. I’ve been on medical leave for it 3 times I’ve basically come to the conclusion they are really just wanting to get rid of me at this point. They have been a great comapny to work for but I guess they are tired of dealing with this as well. I can def sense a change in their attitude toward me in the last few weeks.


This thread has been an eye opener for me. I work as a computer consultant and can be on the computer 10+ hours per day. I work at home primarily. I know there are times when I can’t look at the monitor any longer but its usually when I’m tired or already stressed.

I have one client that drives me crazy and I’ve been thinking of dropping them because they totally stress me out. I haven’t been to their office in months because I can’t go there without getting sick.

Still, I was equating my MAV with the stress factors only, not the actual monitor. I’m going to turn down my brightness and check out different monitors.


There is 100% no question that certain monitors can trigger migraines in migraine sensitive people. No question at all.

I have used an expensive optical oscilloscope (available through my dad’s job) to measure several monitors and have verified that some monitors strobe at frequencies that are just outside of the human visible range but are within ranges that many believe can cause problems for those that are sensitive to migraines (approx. the 100 - 180 Hz range). Most people believe anything above 200 Hz or so should not affect anyone regardless of sensitivities.

My Dell monitors, which did not bother me (except for brightness) did not strobe at all. My Macbook screen, which set me off horribly, strobed at 110 Hz. My Samsung monitor, which caused me problems, but not nearly as bad as my Macbook, strobed somewhere in the 160 Hz range if I remember correctly. My LG LED backlit monitor strobes horribly at anything other than 100% brightness.

My Samsung TV, which never bothered me (again, except for brightness every once in a while if I watched something that was really bright) strobed at 400Hz.

The takeaway is, if you are migraine sensitive, find monitors that you seem to be able to work with and try to stick with them. If you find certain monitors are causing you problems, try to avoid them. The problem probably IS the monitor. And as always, if you are light sensitive, make sure to turn the brightness down, unless you are using an LED-backlit monitor. I pretty much encourage all migraine sensitive people to avoid all LED-backlit monitors, but if you must use them, I recommend using them at 100% brightness and controlling the brightness through the control panel. Often times (at least on Windows machines) you can turn down the brightness in the control panel in addition to any brightness settings on the monitors. Most LED backlit-monitors strobe horribly (again, you can’t see it–it is strobing just fast enough that your eyes can’t see the effect) at anything other than 100% brightness, and some even strobe at 100% brightness, which is why I recommend avoiding them altogether if you can.

JamieH, how does a normal person figure out what frequency a monitor is strobing at? I’ve looked at the specifications for my ASUS monitor but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t tell me this piece of information. At least it doesn’t appear to be LED backlit.


Thanks for your detailed explanation!

ETA: I found an article about testing a monitor with a digital camera. Because of different frequencies, you can see the strobing through the camera. My monitor looks pretty good at full brightness so this is the way I’ll leave it set. I could see the flicker on lower brightness settings.


The digital camera method you mentioned might be a good method. I’m not sure how someone without access to the expensive equipment I have access to would test for this strobing. You are right–this is NOT in any specifications that are listed on the monitors. They don’t tell you about this anywhere, as it is not visibly detectable. To the majority of the population that is not migraine sensitive, it is completely irrelevant. But for migraine sensitive people it can be killer. For me at my worst it was instant migraines–sometimes as quickly as 5 minutes. Didn’t matter what glasses I wore.

I think the biggest thing is to just be aware that monitors CAN be responsible for triggering migraines and if you notice that a certain monitor is consistently giving you problems, try a different one. As I said, I’ve had good luck with Dell. My laptop, my wife’s laptop and my main monitor (U2410) are all Dell LCDs and none of them strobe. I can’t guarantee that no Dells strobe but they seem to be better than most.

I get dizzy in a few minutes using our pc (benq screen) but can use my ipad (2) for an hour & no dizziness. I vaguely remember someone saying they had tried the new ipad - 3 but got dizzy so went back to using the 2 version. Any ideas why they are different? I’d also like to get an iphone but not sure how that would affect me either. Any info would be helpful.
Thanks - Barb

Here is a very good post explaining the issue with LED backlighting and why it is causing migraines. Personally I avoid all monitors/televisions/devices that use LED backlighting and will continue to do so until manufacturers come up with a new way to control the brightness of LED light or choose to set their PWM frequency high enough that it won’t bother me. But it is getting tougher as everything in the world is moving to damn LED lighting.

crispycromar.com/psa-led-backlig … headaches/

Note that manufacturers can easily CHOOSE to make the LED PWM frequency high enough that it won’t bother migraine sensitive peple like us. They are just too cheap and lazy to do so.

Also, here is another post on the subject and a list of some possible monitors that don’t have the flickering problem.