Tips for Handling Common Visual Problems
Compiled from Comments Submitted by our Facebook Fans
Vision problems are common in CFS, but are often overlooked. We posted articles by two experts describing visual disturbances and asked Facebook fans to share their tips. Links to the visual dysfunction article are at the bottom of this page.
TV and Computer Tips
When lights start flashing, etc., on the screen, I close my eyes, turn my head to the side and put a magazine or pillow in front of my eyes.
Go into the TV “menu” and lower the “brightness” setting on the screen to a level you can better tolerate. It helps a LOT if you're watching TV in the dark (as I always am since lights are my arch-nemesis!). This also works with computer screens to keep the bright glare from being so painful.
I got some good tips for making computer viewing less straining: http://www.allaboutvision.com/cvs/irritated.htm
Blackout In the Bedroom (or Other Rooms)
Use blackout lining on all the curtains and tape the sides and bottom to the wall. I tuck things into the space at top to keep out the light.
Get a sheet of the styrofoam insulation board that’s used in walls. (If you can find it with foil backing, or fiber reinforcements, that’s even better.) Cut the sheet to fit TIGHTLY in the window opening. Cover all the edges with duct tape for extra strength. For extra light blocking, tape a blackout shade to the back of it. When we lived in Alaska, we had the problem of too much light at night during the summer, and not enough during the winter. In the summer, we taped aluminum foil to the inside of the windows, reflective side out. Get it right up into the corners. During the winter, I used a sunlight.
I have a roll-a-shield on my bedroom window and it keeps the room pretty dark.
I sleep (and nap) wearing an eye mask so light doesn’t disturb me.
I hang quilts on a spring-loaded shower rod behind the vertical blinds in my sliding doors.
Sunglasses to the Rescue
I have to wear sunglasses when watching TV and while using the laptop. I wear bifocal glasses during the day. On really bright days I wear an eye mask for a while to get rid of my daylight headache.
I wear sunglasses all the time, even when it’s cloudy.
I have transition lenses but they really don’t help with glare as much as they are supposed to. I might do better with prescription sunglasses.
I wear polarized sunglasses all year round, every day of the year, rain or shine. I also find that I have to wear my sunglasses in stores because the lights are so bright they hurt my eyes and give me an instant headache.
I have sunglasses that fit over my prescription glasses. They cover the top and sides as well and I wear them all the time outside. In rain I use a grey pair but in sun I use an amber color. Have about five pairs in different places as I can’t go outside without them.
I spend the extra money to have my glasses treated so they’re non-glare and transitions, which darken to any light.
Special Bulbs & Lighting
I read with a red LED bulb at night; have an electronic Irlen filter on my main computer’s monitor (it doesn’t work with the operating system for my laptop); wear Transitions lenses and a broad-brimmed hat when light is strong and I am feeling sensitive to it. I have dimmer switches (rheostats) on lights in my room that I can turn waaaay down) and try to avoid fluorescent lights (hard because I cannot afford to replace all of the lights with not-blue LED bulbs).
I actually have little fairy lights in the living room (like Christmas lights).
Indirect lighting is always helpful no matter what kind it is and I have to avoid all high contrast situations such as watching TV in the dark.
I find colored lights very soothing; in fact, it was very hard for me to take down my holiday lights.
I use a green light bulb in the bedroom. I find it relaxing.
I don’t turn the lights on in the evening until it’s too dark to see my way to the bathroom. Then I have only one light on, a three-way bulb set on the lowest wattage.
Hats & Visors
I wear a wide-brimmed cowboy hat indoors to cut the glare of overhead lights.
I find a visor is helpful too, because it cuts your visual field about in half, thereby reducing irrelevant visual input (which we can't filter out very well) and makes it easier to think, no matter what.
Easy Does It
When I go from a darker area to a lighter one (for instance, going from a shady doorway into the sunny outdoors), I take it slowly and close my eyes for a minute to help my eyes adjust. It seems that my eyes’ ability to adjust (to light and for distance) is as weak and tired as the rest of me, so I let them take it easy!
Other Things to Avoid
It about kills me when I come out of the movie theater!
Driving at night – the lights blind me.
Flourescent lights in department stores are the worst.
Driving in unknown congested areas! Too much sensory overload.
Tint your car windows in car as dark as your state allows. There are window films that can easily be applied to your house windows, too.
I see better in the dark. I hate it when others turn on the light so that I can see to read – the light hurts my eyes.
My major sight problem is losing my place in space. I reach for something and it isn’t where I thought it would be. My vision problems are worse trying to go up or down stairs.
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