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MAV'ers triggered by computer use -- your advice needed!

Hi guys,
So it’s taken a long while, and maybe this hasn’t even always been the case since I’ve had symptoms of MAV, but I now am certain that computer use is a trigger for my dizziness. This is not at all a good things for me as I have to use a computer for my job (and I’m also a bit of a tech addict). Somehow at work the screen I’m using doesn’t seem to bother me too badly with a filter cover over it – but my computer at home (a beautiful, bright shiny iMac) sets me off within minutes of looking at it. The same is true for the iPad and even my beloved iPhone. I am beginning to think it has something to do with all newer Mac products (my husband thought maybe the glossy screen?) but today I sat in front of a PC for 2 hours and was feeling similarly wobbly, although it’s possible it was just because I woke up extra early today or that I didn’t have a filter on that screen (??). My doctor can’t come up with any reason why one computer might bother me and not another except perhaps the refresh rate? But I don’t think that’s something I can change on a Mac. Can anyone offer any insight into this? Unless I buy myself another old Cinema Display (what I’m using at work) to put in front of my newer computer at home :? , I’m not quite sure what I can do…

Adrienne

Does adjusting the brightness of the iPad for example, dull the symptoms down too? That’s what I do with mine. Also the iPad catches the reflection of any indoor lights like the ceiling light, and that doesn’t help.
Also, what about how far you are away from the screen… Obv with an iPad your Eye to screen distance is less, does that seem to be a variable?

I turn the brightness way down – makes it less strenuous on the eyes but still causes dizziness. Distance also helps, but even from far away my home computer (and the ipad) are triggers for me, whereas I sit a little more than arm’s length at my work computer without a problem (with a filter over it). This is so bizarre!! Another thing I can’t seem to figure out :frowning:

Hi Adrienne,

I feel your pain. We seem to have identical problems with computer screens. I can tell you this: it’s not brightness nor is it refresh rate and the last specialist I saw (Granot) had no idea either. What it may have something to do with is the contrast ratio though this hasn’t always held water for me either. Like you, the new Mac screens set me off whereas the older ones don’t. Apple uses a newer technology now where the screens are back lit with LED lighting and not the older bulb type lighting. LEDs emit very clear and instant light where the result is very white whites on the screen are very black blacks. There is no warm up period; they are just on immediately. Furthermore, the Macbook Air for example has a higher resolution screen which makes the eyes work a little bit harder no doubt.

I use both a 2008 version of a Macbook and a 24" iMac. Both are fine on my eyes (but not perfect). If I sit in front of the new 26" iMac I’m toast within minutes, just like you. I will begin to feel very disorientated and unwell and then dizzy. I bought a fully kitted out Macbook Air last December and haven’t been able to use it without feeling quite bad afterwards. My GF now uses it and believe me she’s not complaining. How could you!

I started this new job I’m at 3 months ago and went through screen hell at first. In the end I had to bring in my own screen from home, one that I had used years ago and new was OK. It still is OK thankfully. The other Dell screen they had here made me feel so ill I couldn’t believe it and really started thinking I would sink fast in this job. But now I’m all good with the right PC screen and my Macbook hooked up here as well.

Note that if I’m symptomatic, ANY screen will set me off. It definitely seems to be a product of migraine control which in turn shuts down visual vertigo triggers (such as the screens). If I were you I’d find screens you can handle and use those at work and stay with it until you feel OK again. Maybe then try and introduce a new screen over small periods of time and see if your brain adapts. I do adapt to some but haven’t to others. Alternatively, it may be that you need better migraine control to shut down the visual trigger.

I really want an iPad as well but am worried it’ll set me off. The phones are OK for me. The actual size of the screens is a factor as well. Small screens rarely cause me trouble.

Let me know how you get on.

Scott 8)

So here I am on my Macbook Air and within a few minutes the crappy feelings are hitting. Just looking at this screen is tripping me out. It’s bizarre. Doesn’t matter if I reduce the brightness right down either. Still has the effect. There has to be a way around this. It makes me wonder what we’ll do 5 years from now when all screens are LED back lit.

S

Scott, I knew you had mentioned having similar trouble… seems like it’s just you and me with this very particular trigger. That is what I worry about too – for now I can get by with an older screen if I really must, but what will I do going forward? I guess that’s the part of our anxious brains we have to learn to shut off as it only makes things worse! What type of PC screen do you use? Do you put a filter cover over it? Turn down the brightness? Just wondering if you still have to do that with screens that don’t bother you like the newer macs. You are right that I still need better migraine control and maybe finding that would help turn down this trigger a bit, but I’m at a stage where I’m not willing to try any other meds for a while at least.

1 Like

Hi A – how are you getting on with screens. Any break throughs? We have to solve this. I cannot face having to sell my MacBook Air. I love this thing but it tears me to shreds within minutes of looking at it. Right now I’m trying to tough it out again hoping I can get used to it but I’m not hopeful. I’m thinking I will have to sell this eventually if I cannot get it going and get an iPad. But before I do that I’ll ask to borrow one from a friend for a while first. Using one in the shop for 5 min does not give me enough idea of whether or not it’s going to do me in (iPads have been OK so far on that front). I have to get home and sit on it for a good while.

The PC screen I use at work is an HP1702. No filter cover. I’ve never used one of those … there’s just something about the HP screen that doesn’t set me off. No idea what apart from a lower contrast ratio (400:1).

What on earth will we do when all available Mac screens use this new LED tech and the old ones die a death? :cry:

Adrienne,

I’ve decided I’m selling the Macbook Air. I gave it time last night and then again today and it left me feeling so lousy I can’t believe it. I am not going to get used to this. I’m going to cut my losses now and sell it before they upgrade the Air. I’ll take a risk and get an ipad plus a cheaper entry level MacBook Pro (lower res screen) with the cash and hope like hell I can handle the ipad. I’ve never felt anything weird going on with an ipad to date but who knows. :?

I too have computer screens as a trigger (and don’t get me started on computer screens under fluorescent lighting!). The bigger the screen the worse.

My theory (and it IS just a theory) is that computer screens bother me for several different reasons:

  1. no horizon - When a computer screen dominates your vision (and find me one that DOESN’T!) you have no horizon. Your brains ability to use sight for balance correction goes away because the screen doesn’t give you any frame of reference.

  2. focus/eye strain - computer screens are notorious for causing eye strain, especially with small text and glare. I find that upping the font size and sitting a bit farther away from the screen helps, along with minimizing glare if at all possible.

  3. flicker - All screens flicker. Doesn’t matter if it is an LCD, LED (just an LCD with a different back light), Cathode Ray (old school)… they all flicker. Newer screens might not be so obvious, but at a very basic level, all screens operate on a principle of ‘on’ and ‘off’, whether it be line by line refresh (cathode ray) or individual LCD changing colors, they all have delay between refreshes, hence, flicker. Flicker of any type sets off my dizziness like crazy.

  4. too busy/ multiple colors - I find that the more I have going on on my screen the worse it is. Drab backgrounds are best, and I keep desktop icons to a minimum. I also try to keep only one window up at a time.

When I haven’t been staring at a screen for 3 hours straight I actually am almost symptom free. Almost. But stick me in front of a computer for 8 hours (ie, my job) and I’m toast by the end of the day. Sometimes the onset is instant, other times I can stare at a screen for a while before the dizzies kick in.

I am contemplating now that maybe computer use is the culprit for me. When I was home on disability my MAV and migraines werent as bad as they are now that I’ve returned to work part-time. This past week and a half has been horrible. Computers are a big part of my job like they are for most people now - I dont know how to get around it unless I switch vocations altogether and find something of a purely physical nature. Has anyone had to resort to this?

Good insight Slightcrazed.

I think you might have something with a combo of no reference point while being consumed by larger screens and also the way our eyes are forced to focus on the pixels. On the Air, the pixels are tight and sharp and the screen bright.

The only thing that has really ever given me a clue as to the possible reason was when I loaded Window 7 onto my older 24" iMac. Using OSX I have little problem on that iMac but when I put Windows on it, the freaky head bullshit started. Immediately I noticed that in W7, text was more crisp and jagged as was the way the screen was drawn whereas the Mac OS was softer and not as harsh. So I swapped back to OSX after feeling weirded out on W7 and the symptoms stopped within 10 minutes.

I cannot believe my luck today. Just as I’m gearing up to sell the Air (only 7 months old) Apple released a new Air today – more whiz bang which will decrease the selling price of mine. Grrrrr

I’m testing a friend’s new MacBook Pro tomorrow to see how I cope. The resolution on them is lower than the Air so hoping I will not go down in flames and can buy one for myself.

S

— Begin quote from "scott"

Adrienne,

I’ve decided I’m selling the Macbook Air. I gave it time last night and then again today and it left me feeling so lousy I can’t believe it. I am not going to get used to this. I’m going to cut my losses now and sell it before they upgrade the Air. I’ll take a risk and get an ipad plus a cheaper entry level MacBook Pro (lower res screen) with the cash and hope like hell I can handle the ipad. I’ve never felt anything weird going on with an ipad to date but who knows. :?

— End quote

I have no issues with the iPad at all.

— Begin quote from "scott"

I cannot believe my luck today. Just as I’m gearing up to sell the Air (only 7 months old) Apple released a new Air today – more whiz bang which will decrease the selling price of mine. Grrrrr

I’m testing a friend’s new MacBook Pro tomorrow to see how I cope. The resolution on them is lower than the Air so hoping I will not go down in flames and can buy one for myself.

— End quote

BUY BUY BUY SELL SELL SELL!!! I agree I think bigger screens are an issue as my bf’s Samsung screen at home used to thrash me when I was at my worst. I def feel more crap when I’m at work (like right now) stairing at this crappy monitor.

Eyeball removal anyone? :smiley:

— Begin quote from "Muppo"

Eyeball removal anyone? :smiley:

— End quote

Isn’t that kind of like curing the disease by killing the patient?

Hey - I’m all for symptom relief and the thought of dragging out my eyeballs or labotomising my brain is ssssssssssoooooooooooooooooooooo appealing, the thought alone makes me smile :smiley:

HAHAH.

Sorry for the late reply on this. I’m coming back to this post after having a weekend where I used the same monitor I use at work with what I thought was no problem, and seeing it greatly exacerbate my symptoms. So now I’m not sure, maybe computer use in general is setting me off… but the newer macs are by far more instantaneous. Scott, the iPad and iPhone both mess me up badly. In fact, I think they may be worse than the computer itself – I think for me the opposite is true of what you said about screen size. Smaller screen seem more difficult for me to deal with than bigger ones; I am guessing this may have something to do with trying to focus on the small object in addition to it being something that triggers me.

Now that I’m on a paranoid roll with this, and the guy at my eyeglasses placed asked me, do you also have a problem with LED televisions? I don’t think that I do (maybe because I sit far enough way from it?) but now I’m questioning all types of screens :roll: This is so troubling to me – I’d rather have a zillion food triggers than a computer which is pretty much impossible to live without these days!!

I had to quit a job because the constant computer use was making me dizzy! I felt like I was the only one this has happened to. I try not to use the computer late at night-for some reason it seems to be worse. If I’m already having a problem with light headedness/dizziness then I try to avoid it completely. But when you have to use it for your job it makes it more difficult.

With so many of us having computer use as a trigger, doesn’t that seem to point to this having some sort of eye component? I read through the VHS thread as well, and that makes sense, but there are other conditions as well that affect the eyes that can cause/contribute to dizziness.

Anyone had a full eye workup (not just the vision check they do)? Anyone ever mention dizziness to their optometrist?

I have mentioned it to an eye Dr. before but, of course he couldn’t give me an answer. It reminds me of motion sickness.

Slightcrazed - Yes, I’ve posted about this before, but I’ve been doing a vision therapy program for an eye condition called convergence insufficiency that I was diagnosed with (see thread: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3091&p=27002&hilit=convergence+insufficiency#p27002). My therapist, however, is totally baffled as to how some computers and not others could bother me.

I am having this problem too. I’ve been using computers for 30 years. Suddenly this summer I started developing vertigo whenever I use a computer screen. It seems to happen worse when I am under fluroscent lights, but it will still happen (more slowly) under good lighting. If I use a computer all day, I feel like I’m on a rocking boat for the next 12-24 hours. It always fades in time as long as I don’t look at another damn computer screen.

I went to my eye doc and got special computer glasses. They helped a bit, but I am still getting extremely dizzy from just using a computer. I am 100% fine doing anything else, including going out in boats. The only places I’ve felt dizzy are in front of a computer or in places that are lighted 100% by flickering fluroscent lights.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I just had a baby and now I’m looking at losing my job because I can no longer use computers. I’ve worked as a computer programmer since the day I got out of college–I really have no fallback position. I’m really not sure what I’m going to do. The doctors want to run multiple thousands of dollars of tests on me like brain MRIs and I suspect that they aren’t going to show anything.

This whole thing is just crazy. How can doing something that I’ve been doing constantly since the age of 10 suddenly make me sick, when otherwise I am completely healthy?