Jacques Mattheij

Technology, Coding and Business

Are you a programmer with chronic headaches? If so please read

Until I was 30 the word ‘headache’ didn’t even exist for me. I never really understood what other people were going on about. But that changed. From mild and short ones it went to longer and worse ones rapidly.

I’m not the kind of person that complains about health issues but it got to the point where I couldn’t sit behind the screen for any length of time without my eyes wanting to close themselves without permission because of the splitting headache I would develop.

And that should have been a strong hint about what was going on. I can see very well far-off and at night, but apparently it cost more and more effort to stay focused on a surface close to my eyes. And since my job involves a huge amount of reading that’s pretty much what I do all day long.

A few weeks ago it came to a head, I had just gotten back from a long car trip (Bucharest, Romania to Groningen, the Netherlands). After unpacking our luggage I turned on the computer and I realized I couldn’t read the screen at all. Last week I visited the optometrist and the verdict is pretty clear: reading glasses, now!

The various letter sizes tested were all readable until the smallest ones but it cost a lot of effort, and with reading glasses on they were as sharp as could be, without reading glasses I had trouble to determine they were letters at all, forget about which ones!

The difference between looking at anything that is up to 12 a meter away from my eyes is so large that I wonder how I got by so long without them. This really creeps up on you. I never suspected my eyesight because I could always focus on what I wanted to read until a very short time ago, and in the distance I see better than almost anybody I know. But apparently the strain is what accumulates and even if you can see just fine that strain will give you a headache up to the point where you can’t function normally. And it’s possible that you’ll see just fine, you just don’t realize how much work you have to do in order to be able to do that.

Once your eyes can focus on the screen (or some other text) without continuous effort you can spend much longer reading and it doesn’t tire you out, and it won’t give you a headache.

If you have headaches, especially chronic ones do yourself a favor and have your eyes checked, you might need glasses without realizing it.