High Def Screens and MS
After the experiment with the touchscreen tablet last week I had pretty much given up on the idea of changing computers. My computer seemed to have ideas of its own, though. Late last week my six year old laptop started showing signs of age and heavy use. Hard drive noises, paired with errors during start up convinced me that it was time to go shopping.
Since I really liked the touchscreen on that tablet, my husband suggested I look at full sized laptops with touch screens. I need a 17 inch monitor on my main computer- anything smaller and I can’t work when my eyes go wonky. My husband found an HP Pavilion laptop with a 17.3 inch screen with touchscreen. Because of my recent experience with the tablet, I was hesitant to try a touch screen. When we went shopping, I tested every 17 inch screen I could find. We went to several stores, so I could test different brands and models. After all this testing, I came to the conclusion that my eyes do not like the modern high definition screens.
Running around town, playing with computers, testing out screens, I learned that ever screen I tested gave me problems. At the first store, I blamed the flickering fluorescent lighting for my headache. But the second store had more “ms friendly” lighting, and I still had problems with the laptop screens. Finally, it occurred to me that I have the exact same problems with eyestrain, eye pain, vision blurriness, low level motion sickness, and headaches when I use our HD television, and my husband’s 6 month old laptop with HD screen. I don’t notice it much with our tv, or my husband’s computer, because I don’t use those things very often. My son reminded me that during our LOTR marathon a few weeks ago, I developed a headache in the same place, and had to stop watching the movies because of dizziness and motion sickness symptoms.
So, I’ve come to the conclusion that the problem is the HD screens. My techie husband did some research and decided that HD screens put out more info than my eyes (or my neurological system) can handle and the excess information aggravates my optic nerve. It’s just a theory, of course, but we decided to test it.
Since we decided it was the HD screen that was the problem, I went back and bought the laptop I liked best. I explained my situation to the store before hand, and they ensured me that if I had problems with the screen, I could return the laptop with no hassle.
By Saturday evening, I was ready to return the new laptop, and run my old one until it finally dies a hard death. After only 2 hours on the new laptop I felt horrible — Dizzy, motion sick, headache, painful eyes, spinning head, etc. I was at a loss as to what to do. I spend a lot of time in front of my screen, I am a writer, after all, and in today’s world that means working on a computer.
My husband started problem solving. When my Optic Neuritis was at it’s worst I used polarized sunglasses to block out the “extra” light waves that were causing me problems. Those polarized sunglasses were a small miracle for me. They eliminated the dizziness, pain, and headaches caused by the ON. He theorized that the same thing might work with the screen. I put on my polarized sunglasses. The screen looked a little different. But, my sunglasses are made with my distance prescription. My glasses prescription is very mild, but I couldn’t read the words on the screen. When my eyes are bothering me I use reading glasses for up close work. Most of the time I don’t need them because my eyes are good. My husband suggested getting a set of clip on polarized lenses and trying them with my reading glasses. He figured it was a fairly inexpensive experiment. If it worked, my problem was solved. If it didn’t work we weren’t out more then a few dollars.
I’m thrilled to report that worked. The polarized lenses block out whatever it is about the HD screen that causes the ON to flare. I’ve been working on the new laptop for the better part of the day with no symptoms. If I take the polarized lenses off of my reading glasses, I notice an immediate difference.