M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) is a term that is frequently used interchangeably or in conjunction with the term Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). It is a condition characterised by a variety of symptoms such as chronic fatigue, restless sleep, muscle discomfort, cognitive dysfunction (‘brain fog’, sensitivity to sound and light, melancholy, anxiety, irritability, and mood swings. Other symptoms of ME/CFS include food allergies or sensitivities, digestion issues, chills and night sweats, disorientation, and fainting.
But why is an optician talking about ME we hear you ask!
Many people are unaware that ME/CFS can cause a broad spectrum of vision-related symptoms. Eye pain, photophobia (light sensitivity), visual processing issues, floaters and spots, tearing, dry eyes, poor focus, double vision, scotomata, blurred vision, tunnel vision, night blindness, depth-of-field loss, nystagmus, and early cataracts are just some of the symptoms.
In a 2001 Belgian study of 2073 CFS patients, 74.4% of patients satisfying the Fukuda criteria and 77.2% of patients meeting the Holmes criteria had visual acuity issues. About three-quarters of ME / CFS patients report eye and vision problems. Additionally, some ME patients demonstrated reduced binocular eye movement control during non-reading tasks, when compared to controls.
An example of a commonly reported vision problem is reading difficulties and vision-related symptoms (e.g., pattern glare, headaches, difficulty tracking lines of text) when reading, especially when reading for long periods of time. Studies have found that despite the fact that ME/CFS is not associated with poor reading acuity or visual acuity for letters or cognitive deficits, increased susceptibility to visual crowding may contribute to challenges with reading. All Allegro Optical practices are equipped with visual stress analysis equipment and all offer overlay assessments and colorimetry.
Saccadic eye movements and ME
Patients with ME may have impaired eye movements when reading or performing non-reading tasks. It may be possible to shed some light on the causes of reading-related visual discomfort among ME patients by studying eye movements while reading. With our saccadic eye tracker, we can systematically examine eye movement during reading and non-reading tasks.
As the only optician in the Huddersfield and Holmfirth area to invest in saccadic eye-tracking technology Allegro Optical is better equipped than most to assist with these problems.
ME and regular eye exams
Our eyes work constantly throughout the day. That’s why we believe in preventative care – getting regular check-ups. By doing so you can enjoy early detection of problems and avoid what could potentially become more significant issues in the future.
If you suffer from ME and you are experiencing any eye or vision-related symptoms, book an eye exam as soon as possible. It’s recommended that most people should get their eyes tested every 2 years. However, it’s best to attend earlier if any eye problems occur or if advised by your GP.
If you would like to book your eye examination call Allegro Optical in either Marsden 01484 768888, Greenfield 01457 353100 or Meltham 01484 907090 to find the perfect match. Also, follow us on Twitter @AllegroOptical. Or on Instagram @allegrooptical.