Welcome everyone. After a long time struggle with monitors I decided to make a post about my eye/brain related fatigue. Perhaps there is something I can learn from you guys and you could support me with some coping strategies. I feel that my story is very similar to many users on LED-Strain forum.
Just few informal details, 26 Male. Symptoms started at age of 19-20.
My symptoms are the following:
- Brain fog - it shows up after about 20 minutes and it gets progressively worse. I feel like I forget what I want to say, how I phrase my sentences and difficulty thinking in general. On top of it I feel very alienated, as if I'm not in my own body. Psychotherapists referred to this as derealization. This symptom goes away within 5 hours up to couple of days. Sometimes hot showers help, although very little.
- Neck + Shoulder pain/cracking - The longer I use my computer the worse it gets. I tried to do neck and shoulder exercises but I feel like it only gets worse with exercise. The symptoms seems to be worse in the morning I wake up with stiff neck/shoulders. Rotating my neck feels like grinding gears(or sand/tiny stones in my neck), all forms of cracking popping is audible. Sometimes I get tense jaw that pops very loudly. I noticed that when my neck/shoulder tension is noticeable so is a bit of tinnitus. The ringing goes away when tension fades.
- Burning scalp + eyes - This one is very apparent too. After few hours I develop a burning sensation around my scalp. Sometimes there is a little bit of tension around my head but this isn't very apparent. Burning eyes seem like a normal symptom of using monitors however I also get quite teary eyed especially when all the above symptoms are present.
- Irrational fear of seizures(?) - There are moments where my brain feels like a mush, the feeling intensifies and I feel like I'm about to get a seizure. This happens frequently when former symptoms are present. I could describe this feeling by immense amount of pressure in my head that I can't stop? Perhaps it's blood rushing to my brain? I really don't want to make irrational diagnosis here. I have no idea.
- Anxiety, Depression and Suicidal thoughts - Pretty sure those are result of my inability to put my life together due to symptoms above. I feel stuck in life and unable to carry on.
Symptom occurrence and intensity:
Monitors - Different monitors cause different intensity and time of onset. Macbooks would do it almost instantly(2014 15" Macbook Pro and 2019 13" Macbook Pro), same with Lenovo X380. Other monitors such as BenQ XL2720T (TN 120hz) and BenQ XL2540 (TN 240hz) caused the effects very quickly. On the other hand Dell S2718H and Dell AW2521HFA seem rather usable. I have also had success with LG 34WN750-B (IPS 60hz). It is usable for generic tasks that do not use the GPU. Usable monitors still require frequent breaks to help in delaying the onset of monitors related fatigue/strain.
Light - Lights in class rooms or certain stores caused spells above.
GPU - I feel like the GPU should have a section of its own. It is the primary cause of overwhelming amount of symptoms. If I use one of my monitors listed above, like mentioned previously I can carry out simple tasks on computer be it little bit of programming, web searches, watching video or youtube HOWEVER the moment I run any application that uses my GPU the symptoms are infinitely worse. At first I thought that I get quite tense while playing games but then I realised that using applications such as Adobe After Effects or Premiere Pro would cause the same symptoms while Rendering videos. I used to be an avid gamer. Unfortunately I had to quit altogether.
Note that I am able to watch Twitch streams of other people playing games however the moment it's rendered on my own screen it becomes unbearable. I was thinking of buying a new graphics card but due to corona all the GPUS are sold out. (using MSI 1660 SUPER).
Mobile Devices - Mobile devices tend to cause same symptoms to a lesser degree. The ones I tested are iPad Air 2, iPhone 7. Samsung Galaxy S3 with AMOLED screen was a lot better in that regard.
Focus - This is another culprit. If I focus on something, say programming or writing this post right now it seems that the onset is a lot quicker than normal.
What have I tested to fix this:
- Checked for PWM.
- Played around with brightness / contrast.
- Played around with game settings.
- Multiple blood tests. Few notable things I was lacking D3, B12, Folic acid. I am on the lower end of testosterone as well.
- Visited top tier ophthalmologist. Apparently I could have an early onset of Glaucoma due to elevated intraocular pressure. She was the one who noticed the B12 deficiency and prescribed me vitamins. Pressure is now stable however I was told to monitor it.
- Visited cardiologist due to panic attacks / palpitations. Everything seems fine there.
- Updated my glasses + tried out contact lenses.
- Therapy for 2-3 years, currently on Bisoprolol but prior to that I was also on Lexapro. I tried out Xanax as well but the symptoms were also present.
- Visited a neurologist. Smacked me with a hammer a few times, made me walk around the room and said I'm fine. Did not recommend MRI or CT. Said physical therapy would help with the burning symptom. It didn't.
There are two notable events that could have possibly triggered it however I feel like its event number 2.
At age of 18 I have been assaulted by hooligans. A full force blow to the jaw from the back. Ended up unconscious, I have no idea if I hit my head or not at the end. I do remember my head hurting a bit afterwards.
My symptoms have DEFINITELY become apparent after buying a brand spanking new late 2014 Macbook Pro 15". I was a computer science student and I had to drop out due to my symptoms. Afterwards I sold the computer but the symptoms have carried on to other devices.
There are few things that I want to check out like having an MRI or CT scan and getting an EEG done for seizures/epilepsy.
So far, nothing worked. Am I just a hypochondriac? It's getting progressively more difficult to live with this.
(I'll edit to add necessary information)