I have been aware of my above average light sensitivity only for a couple of years. Before that I hadn’t given it much thought. There was no good reason for it. Then in my mid 30s I started having severe problems of dry/itchy eyes, general fatigue, headaches and tension around the eyes for which my doctors couldn’t find a good explanation/solution. From there on the problem persisted being particularly acute every winter. Therefore I started paying more attention to its potential causes. Finally, light sensitivity crystalized as the root cause.
In retrospective, I would say that my above average light sensitivity could be detected already when I was younger. For example, I remember preferring shade to Sun when I was about 10. At the time I thought that it was because of heat. But now I know that the real cause of this preference was the intensity of light. I also noticed that in the dark I could see better than most people. For example it would surprise me when in the evening they switched on the lights when to me it appeared bright enough to continue with natural light a bit longer. None of this was, of course, disturbing enough, to merit any consideration, but this changed when I was about to turn 35.
In early January 2008, while visiting an exhibition of Christmas crèches, I started feeling ill. At first it seemed to be just a flu. However after a few days when the symptoms of flu were gone, I still felt very tired. To be precise, I remember feeling quite well as long as I was in bed or sitting down. However, anything more active than that would exhaust me in a few minutes so I had to return to my bed or sofa. Working with a computer was impossible, as I would immediately get a headache. I could read, but not for too long. This state of the affairs lasted for nearly three months and slowly faded away in the spring.
I turned to medicine as my tiredness dragged on. I had my blood checked twice. The test results were so good that the second time my doctor thought I was faking it. I went to see another doctor who also couldn’t find anything wrong with me. Then a friend suggested that sometimes tiredness may be caused by the eyes.
The eye doctor found nothing wrong with my vision, however, after learning that I mostly work with a computer, he suggested that I start using artificial tear drops to combat the dry feeling in my eyes. Moreover, he prescribed glasses for computer work with a minimal correction (0,5) and anti-reflex coating. Effectively, I found it much easier to work with a computer, so I thought my troubles would disappear.
In the spring and summer things improved only to worsen again the following winter. I had the same symptoms, though this time “only” for about a month. I went to see a different eye doctor who told me I had enough tears of my own. He augmented the correction of my glasses to 0,75 and suggested that I always wear them. This didn’t help either, because the cycle repeated so that in 2010 I got a new pair, this time with correction of 1,0 and a suggestion to regularly look away from the computer screen and focus on far away objects. This last advice was the best of all. I still practice it today as often as possible and I think it helps in relieving eye strain. Unfortunately, the following winter wasn’t any better so I was ready to try an alternative.
By mid-2011 I stopped wearing glasses after attending a workshop titled “Regaining Your Eyesight Naturally” by Leo Angart who suggested that I stop wearing glasses. Given their ineffectiveness in resolving my problem, I did so, gladly! Leo Angart thought me another very useful trick to relieve eye strain and I plan to tell you about it in a future post.
I really truly understood that it is glare that causes my problems about two years ago. It was trying to relieve my driving related symptoms what helped me arrive to this conclusion. My sister suggested that I try polarized sun glasses after I told her about the fact that one hour of driving, particularly on a sunny day, was enough to cause a headache and extreme, unreasonable tiredness. Once I started using polarized sunglasses, this changed dramatically. Since the primary function of polarization is to cut out glare, I could finally conclude that glare is the cause of my problems. (Unfortunately, anti-glare, polarized sun glasses could not solve my problem completely, because it is not possible to wear polarized sunglasses at all times… I’ll write more on these other situations in future posts).
In this way ergonomics of light or glarminomics has become my new passion. Without being anti-glare – that would be utopic in a world where glary and shiny is what sells – I seek for ways to minimize glare in ordinary situations such as work, home and driving.
Please, do let me know how old you were when you started severely suffering glare related problems! If you feel like it, do tell me your whole story! I (and probably other people with this condition) will be delighted to read about it!