Pain in the eye when wearing glasses - help!

Discussion in 'Glasses' started by purple_bovine, Jan 17, 2006.

  1. Hi all,

    I had a case of eyestrain a couple of months ago, from reading too much
    on my PalmPilot (those things are *really* bad for you!). The
    eyestrain manifested as pain in my left eye. I am mildly myopic and
    astigmatic - something like -1 diopters. Nothing serious. The pain
    rather resembled the pain I had when I got a wrong prescription on my
    glasses (the PD was off by 10mm - ouch!) - same type of pain in the
    same eye.

    Unfortunately, ever since that episode, I found I could not wear
    glasses for long without the pain recurring. When I go without my
    glasses, I do not have pain, even though things are rather blurry and I
    see double images with each eye. (and I can't read street signs when I
    drive) I went to an eye doctor and got my eyes checked, and she did
    not find anything wrong, except for weak accommodative muscles (?).
    She prescribed reading glasses (which I haven't received yet - still
    waiting for them to be made). She could not explain why my eye hurt,
    and why it was only one eye that hurt. I updated my distance
    prescription, but the new glasses make my eye hurt too. The vision I
    get in those glasses is perfect, btw; I do not think the glasses were
    badly made or that the prescription was terribly inaccurate.

    So I would like to address the following questions to this august
    group: a) What do weak accommodative muscles have to do with eye pain?
    b) Am I doing serious damage to my vision by wearing those glasses (or
    by wearing any kind of glasses at all)? c) Should I get another eye
    exam, and what should I ask the doctor when I do?

    I'll be extremely grateful for any advice.

    purple_bovine, Jan 17, 2006
  2. purple_bovine

    acemanvx Guest

    try wearing glasses just for driving or when you need to see in the
    distance. For close work, glasses just strain the eyes as in your
    case(and mine too) if you are happier without glasses, then go without
    them much of the time
    acemanvx, Jan 17, 2006
  3. purple_bovine

    Dom Guest

    Aceman I know you are very enthusiastic and just trying to be helpful
    but in this case your 'advice' to Larisa is not correct as she has
    astigmatism. We don't know how much astigmatism yet but you have
    prematurely jumped to an incorrect conclusion.

    Dom, Jan 17, 2006
  4. purple_bovine

    Dom Guest

    Larisa it would be helpful to me and the other optometrists who read
    this if you could answer a few questions:

    How old are you?

    Can you post your optical prescription to this group, including the "Add"?

    How would you describe the pain? Sharp or dull? Mild or intense?
    Momentary or lasting for hours? Like a headache? Like tired eyes? Pain
    located behind your eyes or on the surface?

    Dom, Jan 17, 2006
  5. Sorry about the incomplete information; answers follow. Thanks so

    OD: -1.75 spherical, -1.00 cyl, 100 axis (add 0.75 for the reading
    OS: -0.25 spherical, -1.25 cyl, 100 axis (add 0.75 for the reading

    It's fairly recent; I had the eye exam done a week ago or so.
    Umm... it's kinda sharp, medium intensity (and gets worse the longer I
    leave the glasses on). Feels like it's in the middle of the eye,
    somehow. In the morning, the eye feels sore and tired (as if I hadn't
    slept enough - even when I had). When I take the glasses off, the
    problem lessens; if I don't wear glasses for a couple of days, it goes

    The weird thing is that it's only one eye - the other eye is fine.
    I've even been thinking that I might just take the left lens out of my
    glasses for a while.

    purple_bovine, Jan 17, 2006
  6. Oh, that's what I'm doing - I don't have a choice at this point, I
    don't want to damage anything in my eye, so I'm wearing glasses as
    little as possible. Just for driving, at this point, and I take them
    off the moment I get out of the car. But I don't know what's going on
    with my eye - and that's what scares me. My glasses used to be just
    fine, and I could read in them and use them for distance vision, with
    no problems. And now I can't; and I'd like to know why.


    P.S. And I'm not happier without glasses, alas; I hate it when
    everything is blurry. Even if it's a little blurry, as in my case.
    purple_bovine, Jan 17, 2006
  7. purple_bovine

    acemanvx Guest

    What is your UCVA in each eye? BCVA? You are nearly plano in the left
    eye so maybe it does not need a correction and hence why you feel a
    pain in that eye? I have some friends who are nearly plano and glasses
    make next to no difference in how clear they see but it causes
    eyestrain and gives headaches so they go without glasses and see fine
    anyway. I am also thinking maybe the anisomtropia could be a factor.
    One of your eyes is considerabily worse than the other. I understand
    about the doubling, thats due to astigmastim but your astigmastim is
    mild so there isnt much disortion. Perhaps you have presbyopia? You got
    bifocals, this should help with the strain. I also cant see clearly
    from near unless I remove my glasses or use weaker glasses. How
    functional are you without glasses? I wish I could go without glasses
    but at -4.5 this isnt close to possible. You have it easy that glasses
    for you is optional!
    acemanvx, Jan 18, 2006
  8. purple_bovine

    serebel Guest

    And once again Ace makes his diagnosis and saves the world. Stay tuned
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    serebel, Jan 18, 2006
  9. Umm, BCVA is 20/20; I'm not sure what the UCVA is.
    The thing is that this was not a problem until the eyestrain. I've
    been wearing glasses full-time since the age of 18 or so, and had no
    trouble until about 2 months ago. I'm just not sure what it is I did
    to myself, and how to undo it.
    Yup. I get kind of a "monovision" effect when I'm not wearing glasses;
    my left eye is dominant for distance vision and my right eye is
    dominant for near vision. Both are somewhat blurry due to the
    astigmatism, but I can see well enough like that.
    Haven't received the things yet; actually, I just got regular reading
    glasses rather than bifocals (I'm too young for bifocals...). But they
    haven't arrived yet. The eye doctor did say "weak accommodative
    muscles" - I'm not sure it's the same thing as presbyopia (isn't that
    due to a stiffening of the lens?), but the effect is the same, I guess.

    Well, sure it's optional, but I'm headed for law school (I start in
    August). There's lots of reading in my future, and I'm kinda worried
    about reading that much without glasses. After about 1 hour or so of
    reading without glasses, I start seeing triple.

    But yes, I'm rather glad that I am able to function without glasses
    right now.

    purple_bovine, Jan 18, 2006
  10. purple_bovine

    acemanvx Guest

    maybe you can get glasses that just correct for your astigmastim and
    leave the myopia untouched. This will reduce the strain of constantly
    accomodating when your becomming presbyopic. By taking care of the
    astigmastim you wont see double or triple. Its worth a shot trying this
    just correcting for your astigmastim. Your myopia will help you with
    all the reading without strain :)
    acemanvx, Jan 18, 2006
  11. purple_bovine

    Dom Guest

    OK so it's not "presbyopia" as another poster incorrectly suggested.
    OK so you have enough astigmatism that you could expect to experience
    problems when reading for long periods without glasses (& even
    not-so-long periods). Wearing the appropriate glasses when reading would
    certainly help you.

    Really Larisa I'm not sure what the cause of your problem is. Maybe your
    new glasses are too strong (which could certainly cause eye strain).
    Maybe you have dry eyes, which has been known to cause a sudden sharp
    little pain (which disappears fairly quickly). These are my two best

    If you came to see me for an opinion I would:
    1. Check that your glasses were made correctly.
    2. Re-check your vision (refraction) paying attention to the balance
    between your eyes and being careful not to "over-minus" you.
    3. Also I would assess your tear film to check for dry eye.
    4. If nothing showed up yet, I'd start looking for much more unlikely
    things like iritis, retrobulbar neuritis, etc. Don't worry about step 4
    until you've done 1 to 3!!!

    The fact that the pain is in one eye doesn't necessarily mean that that
    is the eye with the wrong prescription.

    Unless you really don't trust your original eye doctor, I'd go back
    there and give him/her an oppotunity to look further into it.

    BTW, do you have a copy of your previous prescription you could post for

    Dom, Jan 18, 2006
  12. purple_bovine

    Dom Guest

    I just had another thought: do your new frames sit further out away from
    your eyes than previous pairs?

    Yes presbyopia is a hardening of the lens which becomes noticeable
    around the mid 40's. At 29 you're way too young to have that.

    "Weak accommodative muscles" is not an accurate name for any condition
    but just the layman's translation your eye doctor used. What he really
    meant I'm not sure.
    With your astigmatism I wouldn't recommend doing a law degree without
    wearing glasses for reading! Whether they need to be special reading
    glasses or just your everyday pair I can't say without a lot more
    information. But either way glasses for a law student with your
    astigmatism are not 'optional'!

    Unfortunatly Aceman who has been 'helping' you is not an eye doctor or
    optometrist but an enthusiastic teenager who lives with his parents,
    chews psychoactive mushrooms (seriously), and reads a lot about vision
    on the internet. As I said to him recently, "a little knowledge is a
    dangerous thing". He means well but tends to give advice that's not
    backed up by any training, experience or expertise.

    Dom, Jan 18, 2006
  13. purple_bovine

    Dom Guest

    Ace she is not "nearly plano" in the left eye. She has 1.25 dioptres of
    cyl in that eye. That is not "nearly plano".

    and hence why you feel a
    Ace she is 29 years old: she does not have presbyopia.

    You got
    She did not get bifocals, what made you think that she did?

    I also cant see clearly
    Glasses are not optional when you have one dioptre of cyl and are
    planning on going to law school.

    Aceman I've said it before and I'll say it again: A little knowledge is
    a dangerous thing. You have a *little* knowledge. Your well-meaning
    advice may hurt someone. Please be careful.

    Dom, Jan 18, 2006
  14. Umm, not really. They're pretty similar. And it's the old glasses I
    had trouble with after the eye strain - glasses that had been
    problem-free for two years before that.
    She tested my accommodation - showed me some kind of small print to
    read, moved it in really close and asked if it was blurry. It was.
    The weird thing is that when I had an eye exam 3 years ago, the doctor
    had said I had very good accommodation (and I had no trouble reading in
    my distance glasses); could eyestrain cause some kind of damage to the
    eye muscles?
    Sure. That's why I'd like to get the problem resolved before I go to
    law school. Right now, I can read without glasses if I take breaks and
    rest my eyes periodically. I'm kinda scared to put on my glasses right

    purple_bovine, Jan 18, 2006
  15. How does that work?
    Yeah, I think that's what I'll do.
    It wasn't all that different, from what I recall. I think it was about
    0.25sph less in both eyes, with no change in cyl.

    I think I'll just go without glasses for now (since that makes the pain
    go away), and see what happens. If my left eye still can't tolerate
    glasses by the time it's time to go to law school, I'll just get a
    monocle. Do people still wear monocles?

    purple_bovine, Jan 18, 2006
  16. purple_bovine

    acemanvx Guest

    I have been told I have presbyopia even though im only 23. I dont want
    to argue. If you say its not presbyopia, does it make a difference if
    my symptoms and purple_bov's act like presbyopia whether they actually
    are or not? We both experience a blur if things are held too close to
    our eyes.

    purple_bov is near plano. With her -1.25 astigmastim and -.25 sphere,
    she has a total spherical equivalent of less than -1 diopters. This is
    functional for going without glasses and legal to drive since shes
    probably 20/30 or at worst, 20/40 uncorrected. Do you know for sure
    what it is purple_bov? Ive also suggested to purple_bov getting glasses
    just to correct her astigmastim.
    acemanvx, Jan 18, 2006
  17. I'm actually not sure, but alas, I'm not legal to drive without
    glasses, because my right eye did not pass the test (the left eye did).
    I also find that since my astigmatism is on a nearly-horizontal axis
    with my left eye, I can't read street signs when I drive without
    glasses - the letters blur together.

    Quite seriously, I know my optical error is mild and I don't bump into
    the furniture when I walk around, but just after a week of not wearing
    glasses, I'm getting a very unlovely wrinkle on my forehead from the
    constant squinting. Not good.

    I've started using "artificial tears" - I'm not sure if they're helping
    any, or if it's the not wearing glasses, but I'm happy to report that
    my left eye is now merely "tired" rather than actually painful.
    Wrinkles aside, things are improving. I'm still scared to wear
    glasses, though.

    Now that I think more about this (and optical matters have been rather
    at the forefront of my mind lately, obviously), I've had this kind of
    pain before (about 2 years ago), when I got glasses with the wrong PD
    (the doctor's stupid secretary wrote down the wrong number - it was off
    by 10mm). I wore them for a few days because I thought my eyes "needed
    to get used to them" - gave myself a pain in the eye instead. It was
    the left eye then, too. Could I have strained something then, in an
    effort to accommodate to the wrong prescription, and caused a
    recurrence now by all the computer use?

    purple_bovine, Jan 19, 2006
  18. purple_bovine

    acemanvx Guest

    If your not legal to drive, how do you drive without wearing glasses?
    It does seem supprising how much -1.25 diopters of astigmastim blurs or
    rather, disorts things. Do you think maybe your glasses pescription is
    outdated and too weak? Or maybe your astigmastim axis changed somewhat?
    Mine does that all the time so ive gotten glasses that dont correct the
    astigmastim and I see fine. Granted my astigmastim is probably no more
    than -1 and probably half that in my dormant eye. Have you tried
    placing reading glasses over your glasses when reading and see if this
    helps with the headaches?
    acemanvx, Jan 19, 2006
  19. Just as an update - I took the left lens out of my glasses. I have to
    say it's an improvement - I am not squinting anywhere near as much,
    though things do look weird (I probably look weird too - I wonder what
    my students will say...). Reading is not as comfortable like this as I
    thought it would be. I find myself just closing my left eye to read.
    But distance-related things - watching TV and such - are a lot easier.

    purple_bovine, Jan 19, 2006
  20. purple_bovine

    Dom Guest

    Another possibility is that the axis is incorrect in one eye (maybe a
    transcribing error).
    I suggest this because often an axis of 100 in one eye would go with an
    axis of 80 or thereabouts in the other.
    e.g. RE axis 100 LE axis 80.... or RE axis 80 LE axis 100.
    Just a thought... especially since that secretary is prone to copying

    I'd still suggest following those 3(-->4) steps I posted earlier.

    Also, keep up those artifical tear drops just in case they help... they
    can't do any harm to try, that's for sure.

    Dom, Jan 19, 2006
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