Reading Difficulties

I’m new to the forum and I’m wondering if anyone else is having the same difficulties with reading that I am having.

I was diagnosed with MAV about a year ago (the Hain/Cherchi Chicago clinic) and I basically can’t read at all without getting sick. I can do a couple of sentences; on my good days maybe even a paragraph or two. But anything beyond that triggers the vertigo in a major way. Looking through some of the past posts, I saw some issues with computer screens (which are definitely also a major issue for me) but I didn’t see much about this kind of trouble with reading in general. I have a lot of the other normal visual triggers as well (fast motion on the tv screen, movie credits, tile patterns, grocery aisles, a particular striped shirt my sister wears sometimes, etc., not to mention non-visual triggers like riding in a car or on a bus) but this one is by far the most debilitating for me because I’m a graduate student getting my doctorate and this is looking like the potential death of my academic career.

I’m finding a lot of ways to compensate (text-to-speech software, screenreader, touch-typing, I’m even looking into learning Braille) and I think I’ll eventually be able to learn how to make it work, but obviously it would be good to be able to solve the underlying MAV issues. We’ve been trying out various meds over the past year and so far there’s been real improvement in other important areas (no problems walking around and being able to go everywhere I want to go now) but they’ve done nothing when it comes to the reading and visual triggers. So has anyone else had this kind of version of the visual problem? Were there any particular medications that helped, or any suggestions about adaptive technology or resources that have helped compensate for the inability to read?


Sorry to hear about your troubles. Although computer screens really bother me, reading does not.

Can you read stuff far away without getting sick? I considered getting a projector so that I could get rid of my computer monitor and do my work by looking at the wall. Would that help you? You could get one to replace your computer monitor and you could even get one of those older types so that you could put book pages on it and shoot the image at the wall (not sure what those projectors are called we used them in school when I was growing up)

Just a few ideas. The braille is a great idea, and the voice software sounds like it would help too.

What meds have you tried?

Welcome philosopher.

When I was first hit with what I think (and a neuro) was vestibular neuritis in late 2003, I couldn’t read the newspaper without kicking off an attack of major dizziness. Over time as I compensated, that problem went away. At the moment computer screen are the big hassle as they always have been since that attack.

I’m wondering if some sort of VRT could help to make you less visually dependent? Most will tell you that VRT does little for the migraineur but there is one study showing some people benefited – more so in conjunction with a preventative. It seems like you are extremely sensitive and that it needs to be blunted. Basically, you currently have a nasty case of visual vertigo. But it can be sorted.

Scott :slight_smile:

I can only read a few pages out of a book these days. I am also having problems currently reading a computer monitor if the text is spread out across the screen, the head motion required for the extra distance is what triggers me. I try to make the text narrow by adjusting window sizes. When I can’t do that I skim text on a monitor.

I’m a doctorate student, too, and have serious problem reading books. A few suggestions learnt by experience:
Try to keep your head upright while you read, there are some reading aids that raise the book to your eye level.
Adjust the light, a dark or too bright study room makes it worse
Try your best not to move your head and follow the words on the page just with the movement of your eyes.
Avoid reading when you are sleepy.
Never combine physical activity and reading, I mean on a day when you have to do any sort of moderate physical activity do not read anything, allocate certain days for reading and do almost nothing else on those days.
Hope these tips help a bit.
With taking these precautions, I have managed to read books and stay alive!
When I was first diagnosed with MAV three year ago, I went through a terrible phase of depression, but you will learn to live with it do not worry.

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