Tried dropping astigmatism correction and switching to contacts

Since I’ve started EM because of massive headaches if my glasses weren’t completely straight, I’ll have some relief, and then have to go get them straightened more and more frequently until I can’t stand them anymore, and then I lower it. Repeat. I’ve lowered both Spherical and Cylinder and this always happens. This last time I lowered Spherical to where I could tell it was definitely a little too low (I could not see clearly) - and it happened again. They were fine for a month before I had to get them straightened, then another month, and then a few weeks, and then I got them straightened a few times in a row and they never quit bothering me, and then covid lockdown, so I couldn’t get them straightened and quit wearing glasses for the last month.

So I started wondering if it’s the astigmatism that causes me problems if the glasses aren’t perfect, and I’d found an online contact company that did free trials. I upped the Sph in the left eye from -1.50 (which seemed too low in glasses a month ago) to -1.75 (which I know is even stronger in contacts), and dropped the -1.25 astigmatism altogether. I dropped the -1.00 astigmatism in my right eye and didn’t order right eye contacts. I got a call to fax a prescription from my provider in (which I don’t have), and thought I wouldn’t receive them - but low and behold, beautiful, wonderful contacts!

So far, thrilling! I can see far distances crystal clear, but with directional blur on signs sometimes - it’s kind of hit and miss. My right eye is having trouble keeping up (usually it’s the left that’s behind), but my right eye is so far ahead, I’m comfortable ignoring it for now. There’s actually much more directional blur up close then there is far away, which seems weird. If anyone has an explanation for that, I’m all ears. I wonder if it has to do with the Sph being overpowered…

Do I reduce back down to -1.50, or leave it overpowered and get rid of the need for astigmatism first? Could leaving it clearly overpowered put me backward on the Sph reductions? I know I’m in new territory since you’re not supposed to drop astigmatism all at once, but I consider it necessity because of the headaches and brain fog with astigmatism correction. I think I’d be more comfortable with it lower since I’m not outside all the time, but maybe the overpoweredness kind of forces the eye to focus well and possibly recover from astigmatism? If so should I add in a little Sph in my right eye? Is it worth the risk that the company will catch on and refuse to fill my order without a prescription (they’re legally required to have one, I somehow slipped under the radar)?

Why the heck is there more directional blur up close?

Thank you for any input.

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I know you have posted this a few months ago so I have no idea if you’ll see this, but your case is very relatable to me so I thought I’d share my experience as well. (I started with approximately -2 sph -1 cyl so the ratio seems close enough for experiences to be similar)

I, too, am very sensitive to lenses. A few years ago, I dropped all my astigmatism in favor of correcting for all my aberrations with spherical lenses. I still find minus lenses uncomfortable and I need to adjust them all the time, but any shift in my glasses when there was cylinder correction made me dizzy and susceptible to migraines. Minus lenses still make me uncomfortable, but in his last video, Matt Ely talked about how he learned to consciously relax when wearing minus, and it was helpful to me; I realized part of my headache problem was that I tensed up considerably when wearing glasses. But it is also true that the distortion whenever they are not perfectly straight is easy for me to notice and I believe some people are more sensitive to it than others.

As for directional blur in close up more than at distance, also relatable. The (so far) answer for me was somewhat counter-intuitive: ciliary spasm. Maybe other things as well. I wonder if inadequate convergence of the eyes as Hannie said is at play. Regardless, distance active focus, especially in bright light, noticeably reduces the double vision up close. Eye strain on the other hands (and insufficient lighting) makes it worse, more so than outside at night. I would love to hear other experiences and if people with better scientific education than mine can come up with an explanation for this, but so far, my best bet in managing the directional blur was managing ciliary spasm (also, for what it’s worth, I heard theories about tension in EOM making the eye less receptive to positive stimulus when it comes to astigmatism, and while I have no proof of that or of the effectiveness of eye exercises where one moves the eye (though the link between eye scans and astigmatism seems to be commonly accepted), the fact that outdoor walks stimulate the EOM in natural ways should cover the risks if there is truth to that theory)

So while spherical-only correction gives me good clarity at a distance, I like to manage residual close-up double vision by using distance vision and good habits. When I used to use differentials (-.5D, no cylinder), there was strictly no directional blur up close I remember. Ever since I lost those glasses (because of lockdown) I’ve been doing close-up with no glasses at all, and trying to compensate with good habits and good lighting as an alternative to minus. (I feel I could easily overdo the close-up if there isn’t ghosting to remind me my ciliary might be spasming)

I would love to hear an update from you!

Edit: I forgot to mention. When I stay “close up” I always mean digital screens. That’s a big factor, as I don’t get the same with, say, a printed book. And I’m comparing with normal material at a distance; screens or LED signs (like those count downs in crossroads street lights) are definitely just as prone to look double as my computer screen; it even gets worse with distance.

That’s great you were able to drop all cylinder. When you did that, did you remove axis on your prescription? I’m fiddling around with the idea of just dropping mine cylinder (-.75) but wasn’t sure what to do about axis numbers but I guess it’s irrelevant? Just wanted to see what you did in this regard.

Yes, I should take time to do more reading on this topic. Thanks for your help!

update: dropping the astigmatism last year took away the headaches, but I continued to be uncomfortable and unable to focus my eyes well at the same time. I finally saw a vision therapist and am getting my prism correction in the mail in a few weeks! Of course things don’t work right when your eyes don’t point to the same place - and my brain filtered out the resulting double vision by supressing one of my eyes if I ever managed to focus both at the same time. I’m hoping to be a lot less visually distressed soon.

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I’m a big fan of prism with plus lenses for near work to relieve eye-strain.

Once you get used to having your eyes pointing where they’re supposed to, you can probably train up your eyes to point where you want without the need for prism after a year or two of doing the vision therapy on your own or with help. I’d love to see a vision therapist but the only one I could find locally wanted $750 for a half-hour consultation and only sees children (her secretary was kind of unfriendly.) Instead I’m just reading their books and watching their videos and buying the tool of the trade myself. It’s kind of fun.

I tried the cheap DIY version of the FL41 tint that’s supposed to help migrane sufferers (went with raspberry tinted prism lenses from EyeBuyDirect), and it seems to do the trick (I don’t have a pair of fancy migraine glasses to compare to). If you get migraines or visual headaches you might try light-pink lenses. (Rose-colored glasses?)