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Easing Eyes: How to reduce eye strain from screens

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  • 4 min read

Eye strain from computers has been around for the past few decades now. As technology advances and we keep looking at more screens for a longer time, this strain grows with it.

Back in the day of CRT monitors, eye strain from looking at your monitor was extremely tiring. There was a significant ‘flicker’ in such monitors. This flicker, even though it was imperceptible to the eye, was still the leading cause of eye strain and fatigue.

After LCD monitors went mainstream, the flickering issue was ruled out but not the eye strain. While LCD monitors are so much better to look at (literally), they come with their own set of problems. There are a number of reasons why eyes still strain by looking at digital displays.

Also read: LCD vs OLED displays: What’s the difference and which one is better

Why do eyes strain?

In spite of all the research that has gone into making these displays look and work better, there are still issues that need to be solved.

Eye strain from displays and 6 ways to counter strain

The biggest of these is the blue light emitted by these displays. The blue light emission from smartphone and computer displays has been found to cause sleep inconsistencies as well as degrading sleep quality.

Also, a majority of these panels give out glare and are reflective in design. This further adds the strain as these reflections and glare require more effort from the eye.

Ambient lighting also plays a huge role in computer-induced eye stress. Aggressive office lighting create extremely lit environments that cause more strain when looking at a relatively dim screen.

Even when outdoors or under average lighting conditions, we never give too much attention to ambient light, and our eyes end up paying the price.

Apart from this, some human errors also cause eye strain.

We often blink way less than we do normally while looking at a screen. At about one-third of our normal blinking rate, our eyes dry up quicker, which further leads to eye dryness and itchiness.

We also tend to either be too close or too far away from our monitors. An optimal distance should always be used while using a digital screen(s).

Also read: How to organise a computer desk to increase productivity

How to use displays comfortably and reduce eye strain

There are many ways displays can be made more comfortable to view. Follow these guidelines to make your computer a bit less heavy on your eyes.Eye strain from displays and 6 ways to counter strain

  • Always try to keep your ambient light slightly lower in brightness than your computer screen. Be careful though, only ‘slightly’ lower.
  • Try to position your display in such a way so that any windows in the place may fall to the side, not the front or the back of the screen.
  • Minimise glare inside your space. Try to upgrade your display to an anti-glare one or put up an anti-glare filter.
  • If you wear spectacles, get anti-reflective/anti-glare lenses in them. These lenses significantly reduce the eye strain from your computer screen.
  • Use software like f.lux to change your screen’s colour temperature to better suit the time of the day. This is one of the most effective ways to reduce blue light emissions.
  • Buy a higher refresh rate (120 or 144Hz) monitor and thank me later.

Also read: 60Hz vs 120Hz vs 144Hz vs 240Hz displays

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: