Monday, November 28, 2011

Changing Vision with Fibromyalgia

The last time I had my vision exam, I got a new contact lens prescription and a new, light-framed set of glasses - after two failed trials at varying prescriptions.  It took several weeks, two pairs of trial contact lenses, and a pair of completed glasses before I realized that the originally ordered prescriptions were not going to work well for me.  Am I a freak?  I don't know, for sure, but here's what I do know...

I get my vision checked every year, at least, because I am near-sighted (myopic) and need to see clearly to drive, use a computer, watch television, or see things in general.  I've been myopic since early high school.  My vision is not awful, but the awful part is that it's inconsistent from day to day, or even hour to hour.  During the past few days, I've noticed that my vision is uncomfortable while working on the computer in the mornings, after I install my contact lenses or put my glasses on.  It feels distractingly off right now, as I am trying to focus on my computer screen while writing this post, even though morning hours are long gone for the day.

I usually opt for the contact lenses vs. glasses on any given day, because I prefer to have nothing on my face (pressure can cause headaches and skin irritation for me, thus the ultra lightweight glasses I paid extra for).  I also prefer the fully focused field of vision that I get with contacts.  Glasses have gotten smaller over the years and I find that I have to move my head more to look around when I have glasses on, because I can't focus on the edges very well, like when I descend stairs and look down at my feet.  (For those of use with Fibromyalgia or other chronic pain or fragility issues, being careful on the stairs is no joke!)  It can be a bit more of a bother, but I still wanted an updated set of spectacles for days when my eyes don't want contact lenses in them, or if I want to rest my eyes or read or do close up work that doesn't require correction.

I know that my vision, though imperfect, was very stable before I was rear-ended and sustained the concussion that seems to have developed into myofascial pain and fibromyalgia within a year and a half.  The first odd thing that happened with my vision right after the concussion was that my myopia improved by a whole number!  I found out when my vision was so awful with my existing contact lenses on that I went to see the eye doctor.  The optometrist that had been treating me for a decade was rather surprised to see this change, as even he hadn't seen anything like it in his career.  He did, however, offer the hypothesis that the muscles around my eyes were changing the shape of my eyes, thus my vision, due to the trauma.  This would also explain the pain I was having in my eyes when simply looking up or in any direction with my eyes.  (The pain is much better now, but it seems the vision is still changing at will.)

I take a muscle relaxant at least twice a day, every day, to try to help combat the constant myofascial pain, muscle tension, and spasms that occur in my entire body.  For whatever reasons, my muscles may feel better or worse at any given time, so I assume that they can be changing my vision just as unpredictably and that is what I'm experiencing.

However, there are other considerations, such as:
  • the medications I take and any visual side effects they may be causing (I distinctly remember having an episode of double vision while on Lyrica, and that was just with one eye), 
  • migraines (I get those crazy auras sometimes and they really mess with my vision), 
  • that concussion I had in 2006 and possible long-term effects that may be affecting the vision portion of my brain (among other areas), 
  • the sleep dysfunction that comes with fibromyalgia and its own visual effects, 
  • the intensity and "flavor" of pain I may be having at any given moment (which can cause tension to escalate while the stress response in the body increases involuntarily), 
  • any other physical or emotional stress I may be experiencing (stress response), and
  • my age (I'm pushing 40).

I have learned to expect that my body will act up in odd ways without my permission or without warning.  This is just one of those things that I have had to accept: sometimes I can see fine, other times I feel like I'm wearing someone else's contacts or glasses and struggle to do certain things.

Are any other fibromites out there dealing with visual changes like mine?  Please comment.  I'd like to know if this symptom is as rare as my optometrist would have me believe.