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At the start of the year I suffered a minor injury to my left eye. This brought my vision down to slightly below average for my age. A doctor and an ophthalmologist both thought that my vision was good enough at this level and that I don’t need glasses. But the ability to use a small font means that I can have more text on screen and thus do my work more effectively. Since about March I have worn glasses all the time. Regardless of what the experts say I want to have good vision all the time and there is a significant difference between my vision while wearing glasses and that without.

It’s often recommended that people get their eyes tested about every 2 years from when they are in their late 20′s and also get a test done a few months after any eye injury. I strongly support such recommendations for anyone who works in the computer industry. Even if your vision is slightly less than it could be it will make a difference to your work. I have not found glasses to cause me any inconvenience, I’m sure that it would be bad for children to wear glasses but for adults the only potential issue is when playing sport (which is less demanding on your vision than reading an 8 point font on a typical monitor). I am constantly amazed by TV and radio adverts which say “do you wear glasses, if so then you must have considered LASER eye surgery“. Glasses are fine (IMHO) and I will not consider having a LASER or other dangerous object pointed at my eyes unless I am in danger of death or blindness!

The testing apparatus that an optometrist uses is interesting to inspect if you like machines. It is a device with a huge selection of levers for inserting different lenses in front of your eyes until they discover the combination that gives you the best vision. If you get your eyes tested make sure you get the optometrist to explain everything, you can learn many interesting things.

Recently, I have had a further eye problem. Recently my central vision went blurry with a shimmering affect for about 40 minutes, but the peripheral vision was OK. An ophthalmologist diagnosed this as a migraine, apparently I got a very mild one with only a minor visual affect but no headache etc. One thing that is apparently possible when experiencing migraine related vision impairments is the ability to act on visual information without consciously knowing it (EG catch a ball without seeing it).

A migraine is a better diagnosis than I had feared. The movie Super Size Me (the topic of tomorrow’s blog entry) contains an interview with a main who describes a diabetic vision problem that sounded similar to mine. Migraines don’t cause permanent problems while diabetes can, and diabetes requires lots of unpleasant blood tests and injections.

Apparently migraines are often triggered by physical events or food items. If you suffer one then it’s recommended that you write down as much information as possible about the previous 24 hours to help track down the cause. If you experience something similar to what I describe then do not take this blog entry as medical advice, instead rely on a doctor and whichever specialist they refer you to. But do write down everything that happened prior to the medical problem (keeping an accurate diary can’t do any harm).

The Wikipedia entry on Migraines has a lot more interesting information, but don’t take it as medical advice either. One particularly interesting thing in the Wikipedia article is the note that migraines may be caused by not having suitable glasses, or prevented by wearing special glasses.

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