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Computer monitor and TVs as migraine triggers
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Apprentice
Picture of Lily
posted
My migraines have worsened in intensity and severity over the years despite receiving regular and top-notch care from a migraine neurologist, second opinions, etc. Since preventives haven't been effective for me to date, I need to learn to be very proactive in avoiding triggers.

Like many of you, I suffer from computer monitors as a trigger. I know what you're thinking -- why are you on the computer NOW? Unfortunately, that's one reason why I post here so infrequently. Even an extremely brief time on the computer can be a migraine trigger.

I would like to be able to use the computer and wonder if any of you have found ways around computer monitor triggers with special screens, special monitors, etc. I'm sure it's the flickering/refreshing of the monitor that causes the trigger, as I'm extremely sensitive to flickering lights and even the TV can cause problems. When the TV causes problems (usually flickering or high-speed editing or screen changes), I can turn the TV off or leave the room. About the only "safe" visual field is a dimmed room or at best a book, which makes working next to impossible.

Any suggestions? Thanks.
 
Posts: 183 | Registered: 10-24-2007Report This Post
MMC Lead Expert
Supreme Guru
Picture of Teri Robert
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Marvel,

The flat-screen LCD monitors have no flicker rate, so they don't trigger Migraines. The prices of them have come way down the last few years. With an LCD monitor, you should be safe from triggers unless you come across a site that still has one of those awful flashing ads.

With the television, how about keeping a hand towel or something close so you can put it over your eyes when one of those triggering scenes comes on? If you cover your eyes, you should be able to at least sit still instead of having to leave the room.



Teri Robert
Lead Health Guide, HealthCentral Migraine Community
terimmc@helpforheadaches.com

Author of Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches

Stay up-to-date on Migraine info with my free weekly newsleter. Subscribe here

visit me on or

 
Posts: 4220 | Location: West Virginia | Registered: 01-11-2007Report This Post
Apprentice
Picture of Lily
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Thanks, Teri. I didn't know the LCD monitors had no flicker rate. That's certainly good news.

I've never used a towel to cover my eyes, but I have used my hands and turned my head away if the triggering scenes are temporary. I only leave the room is the TV show when others are watching a program that has constant triggering scenes and very loud sounds/triggers. I feel like such a jerk when I cover my eyes, look away, etc., because I fear people will think I'm "silently" complaining or am a weak individual. Although the majority of people are family and they have been educated about migraines, I still try to be as discreet as possible. I can't count the number of times I've gone without a much-needed cold-pack because I'm trying to act "normal" when I'm suffering. Lately, however, I'm learning to think more of myself, but I'm still quite sensitive to the effect of my disease on others in my family. They're quite understanding, but the progression of my migraines is a hassle for me, so I can imagine what it's like for them.

Thanks for the tips, especially about the flat-screen LCD monitors.
 
Posts: 183 | Registered: 10-24-2007Report This Post
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Guru
Picture of JamieHOST
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although the LCD monitors have no flicker rate, you may find you have a problem with glare. This can be solved relatively cheaply with a glare filter. I had one at my old job, and it made a HUGE difference.

I'm also ordering one for my laptop- should be here tomorrow. I spend A LOT of time on the computer nowadays, so it's only now become a problem.


Jamie
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Posts: 2886 | Location: north carolina | Registered: 01-12-2007Report This Post
Apprentice
Picture of Lily
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Hi Jamie. That's good to know about the glare screen. I never thought of getting one for a laptop. Do you mind my asking what type of glare screen you ordered or are they all relatively the same?

BTW, Does anyone know if Apple computers have LCD screens? Instead of a laptop I would like my next computer to be a desktop Mac.
 
Posts: 183 | Registered: 10-24-2007Report This Post
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Picture of JamieHOST
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Apple computers definitely have LCD monitors. As for what I bought for my laptop, I don't remember- all you need to know is your screen size- diagonally from one top corner to the bottom corner on the other side of the screen... then you can go shop for a glare filter for that.

You can also get a glare filter for a LCD monitor. It's much easier to get one for a computer monitor than for a laptop. I'd recommend officemax or officedepot if you want to get it in person- otherwise, there are gobs of sites online (including amazon.com) that you can find what works for you, both size wise and price-wise!


Jamie
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Posts: 2886 | Location: north carolina | Registered: 01-12-2007Report This Post
Guru
Picture of MaxJerz
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Just an FYI: I discovered quite by accident that the lighting element used in most LCD monitors and TVs (especially the cheaper ones) is a fluorescent light. I suspect that's part of the reason I'm very sensitive to monitors and TV. Some of the higher-end models use LEDs instead, so that may not be as bothersome to you. Apple does make some monitors that use LEDs, but those will probably be the more expensive ones. (An easy way to tell if your computer/TV has fluorescent lighting elements in it is to see if it has any mercury warnings on it.)

One of the best things you can do is turn down the brightness on your computer monitor to as low as it will go (and that you can still read it). I keep my laptop around 30% brightness. At my last job, I had it turned all the way down to 0%. Many of the newer flat-screen TVs also have brightness settings of some sort. I tend to keep mine turned down pretty dark as well. It does help. I also have my color scheme set very dark, to minimize how much white I see.

Also, if you have the choice, it may help you to opt for a smaller screen size. I do much better on my laptop than I do on my desktop. (My desktop has 2 monitors since I do a lot of graphics work on it.) My TV is also pretty small (22"), and I tolerate it much better than my mom's 42" TV. I've found that the more stuff I keep in my visual field that isn't the screen, the better I do.

Also, it's possible eye strain may have some impact on how well you can tolerate a computer, or even a TV for that matter. The way my desk was set up at my last job, I had big eye strain issues with my monitor. I'm nearsighted; my monitor was too far to see without glasses and too near to comfortably use my glasses. When I get another job, I will probably get a separate set of glasses specifically for computer use, based on the distance from my eyes to the screen.

The only other thing to add is to watch out for those new "glossy" computer screens. They produce a lot more glare. My laptop has one and I will be getting a glare screen for it. If you can, go check out computer monitors in person (if you're planning to order online) so you can see what you can tolerate.

Hope this helps! Flower


-MJ

my blog: http://rhymeswithmigraine.blogspot.com

"What will you do, if it does not turn out how you expect?"
"I do not know. Nor shall I worry about it until it happens. I still have an action left to take; until I have exhausted it, I shall not despair." - Robin Hobb, Assassin's Quest
 
Posts: 2833 | Location: western WA | Registered: 06-01-2007Report This Post
Apprentice
Picture of Lily
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Wow -- these are great tips. Thanks everyone. I'm off to go reduce the brightness right now. Since I don't like a lot of contrast (black on bright white), I'm surprised I didn't think of this before. Thanks for the idea!
 
Posts: 183 | Registered: 10-24-2007Report This Post
Newbie
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Wow - I will try adjusting my monitor settings and work on the glare too! I never thought to blame the monitor - I was guessing it was certain sites. I play games on Pogo once in a while to relax but there are days where I can't just look at it without feeling sick. Thanks!!
 
Posts: 2 | Location: PA | Registered: 01-15-2009Report This Post
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Picture of dragondroolHOST
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Hi, Jerimom, and welcome to the forum! Smiler

When you get a chance, please stop by our Start Here Folder, which has all kind of info to help with finding things on the site.

I like Pogo, too. Lately I play a lot of freecell and Scrabble. Smiler



Dragondrool
Forum Moderator


~~8=:>>>>
 
Posts: 6478 | Location: Montana | Registered: 01-11-2007Report This Post
Maven
Picture of Cyn
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I'm glad to see the info about changing the brightness on the computer - I'm going to check that as soon as I get off of here. I've tried to get a glare reducer for my computer (Dell Laptop) and have ordered two different kinds and neither worked. They left huge bubbles on the screen no matter how careful I was to clean the screen and put the film on slowly and carefully. If anyone knows of a good glare filter for laptops, I'd love to know!!

Thanks!


graceforthestom.blogspot.com
 
Posts: 554 | Location: Tennessee | Registered: 11-19-2008Report This Post
Newbie
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Actually, YES, there is "flicker" (called a "refresh rate") with LCD monitors. Here's a link to the website for the Austin Migraine Support Group. It has a video on how to change yours. Go down its page to item 12 B:
http://www.fincher.org/Misc/Migraines.shtml
 
Posts: 1 | Registered: 12-08-2009Report This Post
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Picture of dragondroolHOST
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Hello and welcome to our forum family, Bren808! Our goal is to provide everyone with the information and support that we all need to manage our Migraines and/or headaches. To that end, we consider this a “safe harbor,” where nobody tries to sell us anything, and we all use “family-friendly” language so parents are comfortable letting their children read the forum with them.

Please take a few minutes to review our policies and guidelines along with the other information in the START HERE folder. For information about Migraines, a good article to begin with is Learning About Migraines - Where to Start

Thanks for the great tip, and the link to the "how-to". Smiler



Dragondrool
Forum Moderator


~~8=:>>>>
 
Posts: 6478 | Location: Montana | Registered: 01-11-2007Report This Post
Newbie
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I have been battling these as triggers for about 12 years now - infuriating since I am an elecotronics engineer / manager and live with computing as my life.

For CRTs, it used to be easy - use aperture grill / Sony Trinitron, not shadow mask, and wind the refresh rate up to > 85 Hz.

Or use TFT/LCD, until around 2003 they did something that made them OK to watch DVD's on, but again likely to trigger migraines.

I think I have now worked out what is happening, and more importantly what to do about it.

While LCDs do not inherantly flicker - the 60Hz rate is the refresh rate - and this has caused many people to say they can't be a cause, it seems that MOST do not have the full color range and dither between the colours they can represent to match what windows is requesting (at a fine scale, switch quickly between green and blue and you get ????).

Now, some displays, those intended for high colour accuracy, have the full color range. Typically using IPS rather than TN technology. From my own personal experience I seem to be able to use these fine.
Examples are :
Viewsonic VP2365wb - been working for me for 4 months now
Apple Imac (but not yet macbook)

If you are finding computers impossible to use, try these. The Viewsonic is one of the cheapest of this technology (around GBP250) and if you suffer you will probably consider that worthwhile as a speculative solution !

For laptops - the only one I know of at present is the HP Elite 8740W with Dreamcolour screen - hoping to try one soon

Hope this helps
 
Posts: 2 | Location: UK | Registered: 08-17-2010Report This Post
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Supreme Guru
Picture of dragondroolHOST
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-:¦:-•:*'""*:•.-:¦:-•*Hello!*•-:¦:-•:*'''''*:•-:¦:-•*Welcome to the family!*•-:¦:- •:*'""*:•.-:¦:-

Hello and welcome to our forum family! Our goal is to provide everyone with the information and support that we all need to manage our Migraines and/or headaches. To that end, we consider this a “safe harbor,” where nobody tries to sell us anything, and we all use “family-friendly” language so parents are comfortable letting their children read the forum with them.

Please take a few minutes to review our policies and guidelines along with the other information in the START HERE folder. For information about Migraines, a good article to begin with is Learning About Migraines - Where to Start.

Welcome, Keith, and thanks for sharing your wealth of engineering info!



Dragondrool
Forum Moderator


~~8=:>>>>
 
Posts: 6478 | Location: Montana | Registered: 01-11-2007Report This Post
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