Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Protecting and Preserving Your Vision?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the saving-your-eyes dept.

Biotech 123

Poligraf asks: "All of slashdotters spend a lot of time in front of monitors. What are you doing to preserve your eyes? My issue seems to be not a declining vision, but fatigue after certain amount of time in front of the computer. It becomes so bad that I need occasionally to leave the room with computer and sit or lie down to relax for 5 to 10 minutes. What do you think of a full spectrum lights? Certain scientists swear that it is the best thing since sliced bread, others viciously rip their claims apart. Has anyone used these? What is your experience? What other methods can you come up with?\"

cancel ×


Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

How presumptuous! (5, Funny)

DeadSea (69598) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539050)

I read Slashdot on a line printer, you insensitive clod!

Go get a drink (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8539051)

. . . rather than watching the clock for the 20 second timer to expire. First post isn't worth your sight!

Sorry, (1, Funny)

satanami69 (209636) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539053)

But it looks like everyone is taking their 5-10 minute break.

Re:Sorry, (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8545318)

Well, you are supposed to take your break from staring at the monitors. Actually, my nearsightedness did not worsen because of computers. I got my glasses from reading too many books. I would read for 8 hours or more at one sitting to finish my novels. I was one of the first kids to have glasses in my class. This was all before computers. Now almost everyone in college and high school seems to have glasses or contacts. I think people watch to much tv or play video games up close.

I probably wouldn't have needed glasses if I didn't read so much. My two younger brothers don't have glasses, and they played just as many video games as I did; they just didn't read as much as I did or read it all in one sitting. We kept the monitors/TV's quite far from where we sat.

Nowadays, I just remove my glasses when I'm at a computer. My vision hasn't changed too much since high school. I only put on my glasses when I'm walking from place to place. I have noticed that there are many more people with glasses and they usually have prescriptions worse (-3.0 to -6.0) than mine (-2.0 or about a little worse than 20/200). By not wearing my glasses in front of my 21 inch monitor, I've prevented my vision from getting worse. My vision has actually improved slightly.

If you must work all the way through, I find that it helps if you close one eye for a few seconds and then close the other eye for a few seconds at a time to let each eye rest.

Have you a shoe? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8539054)

I have not a single one at all. None. At all.

Simple... (0, Troll)

eurleif (613257) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539057)

My brain implant lets me see my computer screen without using my eyes at all.

See a doctor (4, Informative)

El (94934) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539074)

My vision varies widely over the day, especially after staring at a CRT for 12 hours. But then, I have diabetes... have you had your blood sugar checked?

Re:See a doctor (5, Funny)

trentfoley (226635) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539421)

My vision varies widely over the day, especially after staring at a bartender for 12 hours. But then, I'm a drunk... have you had your liver checked?

--Its just a joke, except for the drunk part. My intention is not to belittle diabetes sufferers, or, for that matter, drunks.

from experience (5, Informative)

Ratso Baggins (516757) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539087)

you may infact need glasses. Stimatism(sp) initially presents itself as eye-tiredness then little "grey" patches in you vision (like a spot of dust on a camera lense) when you are very tired. So do yourself a favor and have your eyes tested, I did and can once again sit at the box for long periods.

Re:from experience (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8539407)

So do yourself a favor and have your eyes tested, I did and can once again sit at the box for long periods.

I agree. I went for years with headaches and having trouble reading things at a distance refusing to believe I still didn't have the 20/20 vision of my teenage years. I went and finally got a checkup, go my glasses and the headaches are all gone. Also ironically I went back to taking classes to finish a degree and find I can actually SEE the chalkboard now and copy down notes. It makes a hell of a lot of difference to my grades too.. went from C's to A's. Before I had trouble even reading my textbooks. ;-)

Re:from experience (1)

ZeroLogic (11697) | more than 10 years ago | (#8540375)

I think he means 'astigmatism', from

A visual defect in which the unequal curvature of one or more refractive surfaces of the eye, usually the cornea, prevents light rays from focusing clearly at one point on the retina, resulting in blurred vision.

Some suggestions. (5, Informative)

Alereon (660683) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539104)

  1. Remove all glare from the screen. Rearrange your room if you have to.
  2. If you're on a CRT, raise the refresh rate to at least 85Hz. If on an LCD, make sure you're running at the native resolution. If your CRT monitor doesn't support at least 85Hz, get a new one or switch to an LCD.
  3. Have your eyes checked. If you need glasses, get them. If you have glasses, see if you need a new pair.
  4. Play with the monitor brightness/contrast as needed. Straining to make out dim images is not good. If your monitor sucks too much to display images with proper contrast or brightness, replace it.
  5. Finally, make sure you're sitting appropriately. If you're looking at your monitor at an uncomfortable angle or height, fix it.

one more suggestion (5, Insightful)

bromba (538300) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539161)

6. You need to take these 5 minutes breaks before your eyes get tired. You don't have to leave your desk, just look around, close your eyes for a while, etc.

Re:one more suggestion (2, Interesting)

ChopsMIDI (613634) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539471)

close your eyes for a while

Better yet, just go to sleep.

Re:one more suggestion (2, Funny)

addaon (41825) | more than 10 years ago | (#8541012)

I agree. I do some of my best programming when I'm asleep.

Of course, that's because most of my programming takes more man-hours to fix than I put into it.

One more suggestion -- caffeine (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 10 years ago | (#8543618)

6a. Drink lots of fluids. This forces you to make bathroom breaks, which causes you to not look at your computer screen for a few minutes, and to focus on things that are further away. Caffeine or alcohol can help speed up the urgency for bathroom breaks, but I find I'm more productive with caffeine in me, as opposed to alcohol.

And of course, sugared sodas and alcohol also include extra calories, so you'll have to adjust your diet to compensate for the extra intake. Yes, water works, but I'm not just all that big on drinking water. And there have been studies that show links from nutrasweet and short term memory loss.

Save your eyes, take up smoking! (1)

Iaughter (723964) | more than 10 years ago | (#8545136)

6a. Drink lots of fluids. This forces you to make bathroom breaks, which causes you to not look at your computer screen for a few minutes, and to focus on things that are further away. Caffeine or alcohol can help speed up the urgency for bathroom breaks, but I find I'm more productive with caffeine in me, as opposed to alcohol.
And of course, sugared sodas and alcohol also include extra calories, so you'll have to adjust your diet to compensate for the extra intake. Yes, water works, but I'm not just all that big on drinking water. And there have been studies that show links from nutrasweet and short term memory loss.

I drink a lot of water and do the bathroom break thing, but my five-minute vacations are cigarette breaks. Almost one every 90 minutes.

On glasses. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8539367)

Back when I used glasses. Just shy of needing them. I came across a need to walk about a mile or so between two places and back each day. With geography and parking being what it was, I'd probably have spent more time driving than walking. It turned out that just being outside and having the ability to look at things at close intermediate and far distances improved my vision over a couple of months. I was due for an eye checkup during this time, and the optimologist confirmed that this sometimes happens, and my theory that the lens stiffens and the muscles weaken through disuse might have some basis in fact.

Great article on this subject (3, Interesting)

jtheory (626492) | more than 10 years ago | (#8540102)

The Straight Dope covered this subject in an interesting (but not completely conclusive) article [] .

One interesting tidbit -- he mentions a study that found that while monkeys with their eyes sewn shut and untouched monkeys (oh, to be in the control group!) did NOT develop any vision problems, monkeys with their eyes sewn partly shut -- so they could only see dimly -- became myopic.

That seems like a pretty good hint that you might want to take breaks from the monitor. As other posters have noted -- it's a good idea to refocus your eyes on objects at other distances frequently during the day, and this should help avoid the eyestrain (and the other problems you might not notice for a while...)

Re:Great article on this subject (2)

bandy (99800) | more than 10 years ago | (#8545491)

As my optho-dude said, "There is no nearsightedness in pre-literate societies."

6. green on black (2, Interesting)

jtheory (626492) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539661)

I'm dealing with more vision problems right now, but I've found that viewing a monitor is MUCH more comfortable if you change the colors of your main tools to use black backgrounds with light text, usually green or yellow.

All good text editors and IDE's let you change the background/text colors. Same with telnet apps, etc.. I spend most of my time on win2K, and use a slightly tweaked version of the "High-Contrast Black" scheme. There are always a few apps that don't conform, but it's easy to switch back and forth, or if you have switchable desktops you can switch over for those few apps that are hard-coded to use black text.

warning (2, Interesting)

Albert Cahalan (761500) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539740)

This is good advice for a 100% digital display, and good advice for an early-90s Trinitron like the ones Sun used to ship.

It's terrible advice for a Windows-optimized CRT. These days, black-on-white is the standard. If you use white-on-black, the vertical lines will be a bit darker than the horizontal ones. The effect is especially bad with high resolution, high refresh rates, cheap analog cables, and any video card not made by Matrox.

Test your monitor now. []

Re:warning (0)

minusthink (218231) | more than 10 years ago | (#8541241)

so whats the solution?

My monitor is pretty new (a couple of years old -- samsung symaster 900nf) and I get color in the first one and the dark vertical bars symptoms on the last three.

Re:warning (0)

r00t (33219) | more than 10 years ago | (#8542809)


You could reduce resolution or refresh rate to
get brighter verticals, but there's a limit to how
much you can do before THAT is a worse problem.
Try 800x600 at 72 HZ. Maybe, if you dim both the
monitor and the room lighting, you can be happy
with as low as 60 HZ.

There ought to be a software solution involving
a variable-brightness font.

Still missing something here (1)

jtheory (626492) | more than 10 years ago | (#8544641)

I can't imagine that lowering the refresh rate to 60 Hz would be a good thing in any situation.

I *did* look at the example page, and the first one especially clearly showed me that the vertical bars were darker (I have a 19" CRT).

But when I look at a flat black field (i.e, background to text on my system), it just looks black. How is this hurting my eyes?

I know when I look at black text on a white field I feel like I'm going to go snowblind until I lower the contrast/ brightness to a point where details are clearly lost from graphics. And when I look at pale text on a black field, I can sit farther back and read without straining at all.

If you're making a point about how these monitors may not accurately represent an image, fine -- but we're talking about ease of reading text here, so who cares?

Re:6. green on black (1)

TechnoPops (590791) | more than 10 years ago | (#8540961)

So, you're saying I should switch back to the old monochrome monitor that came with my XT? All yellow-on-black, all the time!

Re:6. green on black (2)

Simon Brooke (45012) | more than 10 years ago | (#8543260)

I'm dealing with more vision problems right now, but I've found that viewing a monitor is MUCH more comfortable if you change the colors of your main tools to use black backgrounds with light text, usually green or yellow.

Hear hear! Far easier on the eyes. I use a green-on-black KDE theme all the time, and KDE 3 is now much better and more consistent about its handling of non-standard foreground/background combinations than KDE 2 was.

All good text editors and IDE's let you change the background/text colors.

They certainly should. Unfortunately Eclipse [] , which I use all the time, does not - but I've logged a feature request and it's being worked on. And a lot of applications which should know better (e.g. Mozilla) don't pick up their theme colours from KDE.

My personal pet peeve is websites which set foreground colours but not background colours or vice versa. Even the specification document for CSS2 [] fails on this one - it doesn't specify a foreground colour for links, so on my screen the pale green links on the pale blue background are virtually unreadable.

Eclipse -- use a milestone build (1)

jtheory (626492) | more than 10 years ago | (#8544038)

I'm actually a heavy Eclipse user myself, and I depend on the color support.

What version are you using? If you're still on 2.x you're right -- but the version 3 milestone builds are quite stable (the current one, M7 [] , is what I'm using now and I haven't had any problems yet... though M6 and M5 had some noticeable bugs). They have a new and vastly improved code formatter, too -- you should try it out.

Now that I think about it, I think I started trying out the version 3 builds *because* I needed more control over the colors....

Anyway, in any of the recent builds:
In the preferences window, drill down to Java --> Editor, and flip through the tabs. Set the colors here, mostly on the Syntax tab. It'll take you a few minutes to get them tweaked right (there aren't preset color schemes, like "Twilight" in JBuilder), but it's worth the time.

I also noticed that in Windows at least (and I'm guessing other platforms as well) Eclipse 3.0 does pick up the systems colors for shading buttons, menus, etc..

You can also change font sizes, in Preferences under Workbench --> Fonts.

Your color theme matters, but not green on black (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 10 years ago | (#8543517)

Green on black is _okay_ (unlike black on blinding white, which will make you
snowblind if you set the contrast high enough to show detail properly), but
there are better color schemes. Amber on black looks uglier for the first five
minutes, but after your eyes get used to it you can stare at it for much longer
periods of time with zero eyestrain.

Even better, I've found, is a tertiary color scheme. Set your system foreground
color to #FFE6BC and your background to #294D4A. Set this system-wide. If you
use Gnome, there's a theme available called themacs (GTK1) or eMaCs (GTK2).
On Windows you can just go into the Display properties under the Appearances
tab (clicking on Advanced if you're using WinXP) and set it up manually easily
enough. It's possible in KDE/Qt also, though I forget the exact steps. Anyway,
Also set your web browser to use these colors exclusively (ignoring the colors
the web page author specifies). (You'll need to change your link colors also;
blue on slate green isn't the best combination.)

Your first reaction will be, "boring", but use it for a week and then ask
yourself when was the last time your eyes got worn out looking at your
display; it'll be a week ago, right before you switched to this scheme.

Oh, and do make sure your refresh rate is set as high as it will go.

Re:Some suggestions. (2, Interesting)

Albert Cahalan (761500) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539939)

"Remove all glare" may mean to remove the dust.

Going to 85 Hz or higher will cause horizontal
smearing due to bandwidth limits. You may be
better off at 72 or even lower. You can increase
your tolerance for low refresh rate by decreasing
the overall brightness -- that is, including the
overhead light, window, desk lamp, etc.

Any one monitor height is bad. Unfortunately,
it isn't easy to drasticly change monitor position
every few minutes. Maybe you could get one of
those movable arms, allowing you to sit, stand,
lie down, etc. This is more of a back, wrist,
and elbow issue though.

Re:Some suggestions. (1)

System.out.println() (755533) | more than 10 years ago | (#8540220)

Any one monitor height is bad. Unfortunately, it isn't easy to drasticly change monitor position every few minutes.

Unless, of course, you have an iMac.... :)

Re:Some suggestions. (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 10 years ago | (#8545298)

1. Remove all glare from your screen. ...
4. Play with the monitor brightness/contrast as needed.

One of the more interesting comments that I read years ago, from an ergonomics expert was the question "Would you ask your customers to sit and stare at a lit flourescent tube for hours?"

The presumed answer that any sane person would give was, of course, "No."

He then pointed out that a CRT-type computer screen is in fact a flourescent tube, and a white window is a fully-lit flourescent tube. So if your screen has windows with a white background, you are staring at a fully-lit flourescent tube.

One of his points was that this is a simple, elegant way to refute almost all "user friendly" claims of software makers. Just look at their windows. Do the backgrounds default to white? If so, then nothing more need be said about any "user friendly" claim. They are viciously assaulting your eyes. End of discussion.

What I've done since then, for any new machine or software, quickly locate the color controls and set the background to a neutral gray. With browsers, you'll also want to look for the "override web page colors" or "always use my colors". This will significantly ease your eyestrain.

With LCD-type displays, it's not quite so bad, because they aren't flourescent tubes, and they don't glow as bright. But they're still a problem, and a medium to light gray is a much better background than white.

Or, to look really elegant, set the backgrounds to black and all the other colors to something bright and colorful. It's much prettier, your eyes will last longer, and your battery may too (depending on the technology).

On my Powerbook, I have the backgrounds mostly set to a gray that closely matches the brushed-steel look of the casing. It looks nice. Too bad Apple didn't think to set it up that way by default.

(But I can't find the color settings in Safari. That's one reason to use mozilla or firefox, I suppose. ;-)

Re:Some suggestions. (1)

UberLame (249268) | more than 10 years ago | (#8546069)

> If you're on a CRT, raise the refresh rate to at
> least 85Hz. If on an LCD, make sure you're running
> at the native resolution. If your CRT monitor
> doesn't support at least 85Hz, get a new one or
> switch to an LCD.

Alas, this doesn't help those of us who don't work from home, and whose jobs won't pay for the new monitor. Until I can either move my work home or get a job, it looks like I'm stuck with a 60hz display in a room with flourescent lighting.

Bad? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8539121)

It becomes so bad that I need occasionally to leave the room with computer and sit or lie down to relax for 5 to 10 minutes.

There's a law in Brazil which allows a five minute pause every one hour so the person can leave the PC.

It's not "bad". It happens. To a lot of people.

Re:Bad? (3, Interesting)

xanderwilson (662093) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539187)

More than that, it's a probably the best thing you can do. My dad was in advertising before it was all done on computers, and the artists used to know to look away for at least five minutes or so per hour to rest their eyes. Probably even more necessary now even though it might be much harder to look away from the pretty lights than it is from a drafting board.


Computer Vision Glasses and Filters (2, Informative)

AndrewM1 (648443) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539134)

At Ac Lens [] they are selling Computer Vision Glasses.
Quote: "These glasses have a special tint that helps to reduce glare and the intensity of the light produced by the average computer monitor, and a special UV coating that blocks UV rays produced by monitors and flourescent lighting." Sounds like Just what you're looking for to me.

Also, You might want to look into getting a Glare Screen, there's a good one at
FutureShop [] .
Quote Again: "VisionGuard XL, Glare Filter with Radiation Barrier. Relieves eye strain for healthy vision. Reduces glare up to 99%. Fits regular and Flat screen monitors 14 " to 17"." Looks again like it will solve your problem. AndrewM

Re:Computer Vision Glasses and Filters (1)

AndrewM1 (648443) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539188)

Also, You might want to Check Out Similasan #3 [] Eye Drops... Says it reduces Eye-Fatigue.


I am far sighted. (1)

redog (574983) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539164)

Cant read print for very long with muchless without my glasses but I can stare into the green glow for days.

easy but not cheap (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8539185)

First, you need to go 100% digital. By this I
mean an LCD with a DVI or ADC plug. Forget about
anything with a traditional VGA connector.
It should go without saying that you MUST run
at the native resolution.

Pick an LCD with wide-angle viewing, such as the
excellent 20" Apple Cinema Display at 1600x1024 or
the 23" Apple Cinema Display HD at 1920x1200.
Don't cut corners on this -- I know you're tempted!

Now get rid of cheap flourescent lights. I suppose
you can keep the fancy 15 kHz ones. Avoid the
regular 60 Hz flourescents.

Adjust monitor brightness to match room lighting,
but wait... room lighting needs to be somewhat
low. At low light levels, your eye is less
sensitive to flicker. The eye does a kind of
time integration over a pulse stream to work;
the time constant varies with overall brightness.

Re:easy but not cheap (2, Interesting)

Cthefuture (665326) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539462)

I agree you with that LCD seems to reduce eye strain.

Another cheaper and excellent LCD is Dell's 20" UXGA LCD.

Around $1000 (it's on sale for as little as $750 sometimes) and gives you 1600x1200 resolution. Note that the more expensive Apple 20" is only 1600x1024 but it does have a wider angle view (why you need more than 90deg I don't know; can you see the monitor from behind?).

I'm not big on Apple stuff. You're paying extra for the Apple logo. Plus their Cinema display needs way too much desk space with its tricycle landing gear feet.

Re:easy but not cheap (2, Interesting)

Cthefuture (665326) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539478)

Argh, I forgot to mention that although the Dell has a lower viewing angle (at 88 deg) it has better brightness and contrast specs which are probably more important than viewing angle.

170 degrees whips 88 degrees (2, Informative)

Albert Cahalan (761500) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539685)

Viewing angle matters a lot if you want to avoid
eye strain, which was the whole point of this
ask-slashdot. It especially matters on a screen
that is nearly 2 feet wide. Apple gives you a
whopping 170 degrees, and it shows.

Contrast may matter a bit, but 350:1 is enough.
Remember that 8-bit per channel video limits
the output anyway. I smell marketing.

Brightness is useless unless your room lights
are too bright. Any monitor you can buy is
brighter than you should need. If your room
light is way too bright and you are stuck with
it, then yeah, maybe brightness could matter.
Fix your room lights.

Correction on the sizes:

1680x1050 $1299 20" Apple Cinema
1920x1200 $1999 23" Apple Cinema HD

Re:170 degrees whips 88 degrees (1)

GuyWithLag (621929) | more than 10 years ago | (#8541328)

Contrast may matter a bit, but 350:1 is enough.
Remember that 8-bit per channel video limits
the output anyway. I smell marketing.

Remember that the 350:1 is a linear comparison, whereas the eye perceives brightness using a logarithmic-lice scale; this is the reason why gamma correction seems to enhance an image better than contrast adjustment.

Contrast ratio for text???? (0)

r00t (33219) | more than 10 years ago | (#8542653)

You're pretty weird to display near-black on black,
or were you forgetting that nobody does that anyway?

I think 10:1 would do. :-)

Re:Contrast ratio for text???? (1)

GuyWithLag (621929) | more than 10 years ago | (#8542768)

High contrast ratios are absolutely essential for film/movies, because a) black is blacker and b) you can display much more detailed shadows because they are no longer just black regions on the screen.

Re:Contrast ratio for text???? (1)

bandy (99800) | more than 10 years ago | (#8545395)

Pick a website designed by kids - dark text on a black background. I particularly hate blue or purple on black. What are they smoking these days?

I knew you'd be tempted. Stop it! (2, Informative)

Albert Cahalan (761500) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539597)

90 degree is 45 to each side, which is not enough
for a decently wide monitor. With that Dell, there
will be subtle disturbing color and brightness
variations, especially near the edges of the screen.

That is, unless you sit back very far and line
your head up perfectly.

Also, is it free of dead pixels? (both kinds?)
I got my Apple Cinema Display shipped by mail,
and it arrived with 100% perfect pixels. There
wasn't a single stuck-on or stuck-off pixel,
and not even a bad sub-pixel.

If it is resolution you want, get 1920x1200
with the 23" Apple Cinema Display HD. ("HD"!)

Damn, I sound like an Apple ad... except my
Mac is running Debian of course. :-)

You can use a PC with an Apple Display if you
like; it requires an ADC-to-DVI adaptor that
takes away the coolness of running power and
USB down the monitor cable. (ADC is DVI plus
25-volt power and USB pass-through)

Re:easy but not cheap (2, Informative)

Grab (126025) | more than 10 years ago | (#8542430)

Definitely agree on the LCD monitor - for desktop work, CRTs are just no competition.

As far as size goes though, I don't agree with going for monster monitors. I find that 17" is about optimal for me, as this is almost exactly the size of my eye's main focus. I used to use a 19" monitor and found that I was getting tired eyes because I couldn't see the whole screen at once - 1" of the screen on each side was outside my main focus and only visible in peripheral vision, so my eyes had to move around to see what was on the screen, and that tires out the muscles.

Personally, I reckon the ideal solution would be two 17" monitors, rather than one enormous single monitor. With two monitors, you tend to move yourself (either turning head or whole body) to look at the second monitor. That tends to work much better ergonomically.


super-wide is like dual, but better (1, Insightful)

r00t (33219) | more than 10 years ago | (#8542708)

When you go really wide, like with those monster 23" wide-aspect things from Apple, you tend to display your windows side-by-side. You stop trying to spread one window across the whole thing, unless you're doing something non-text that calls for that. If you go dual-display, you can only evenly divide your workspace by 2 or 4. On a wide display, you can divide by 3. Also you don't have to deal with software behaving badly, putting dialog boxes spread across the two displays.

What I do (2, Interesting)

Sandman1971 (516283) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539206)

What I do to relieve eye strain is to look away from the monitor every few minutes. Whether it's looking at the keyboard while I type (which I don't have to do, I can touchtype with the best of them), or look at your cubicle wall, your feet, anything that will have your eyes change focus. Doing this for even just a few seconds is a tremendous help (and I too suffer from diabetes, and if I stare at a monitor for too long my vision just goes blurry).

Do what your mother says. (4, Funny)

Ruis (21357) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539215)

Don't do that "one thing" that makes you go blind. And while we're on the subject, stop looking at pron on the computer all day. That'll cut your screen-staring time down at least by 75%

Re:Do what your mother says. (1)

turgid (580780) | more than 10 years ago | (#8542093)

I knew this guy who used to come to work at 8:15 in the morning tired, and with bags under his eyes. He claimed he was on the Internet pr0n until 4am.

Eventually, with a bit of help, he scored. Now he comes to work bright eyed and refreshed.

Focal Depth (5, Informative)

Inexile2002 (540368) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539234)

I've got an astigmatism in both eyes and have problems with declining vision (just as a result of aging unfortunately) and eye fatigue from looking at monitors. Other than the obvious - wear my glasses when using the computer, take breaks away from the computer etc - I set up my sight lines to have various things at different focal depths.

I put up a number of pictures on the walls near the monitor and I make a point to look at them every few minutes (a Kandinski, a Renior and a picture of Liv Tylor in a school girl outfit... sigh... a couple of minutes pass...). Anyway, by looking up every few minutes it allows my eyes to focus on things at different depths. I also look out the window as often as possible. When I use my laptop, I arrange it so I have a view.

Its simple but I find it helps. The anthropologist in me can't help but point out that from an evolutionary standpoint, the muscles in the eye were not designed to focus on one plane of depth all the time. Complex environments (forest, savanna etc), constantly moving around and generally not looking at something three feet in front of you for 6 to 16 hours a day probably created a eye muscle that can adapt quickly, but probably didn't create one that is designed for endurance - holding a single plane of focus for hours and hours. Not that I'm siting a reference here - pun ;) - this is just off the top of my head.

But the differing focal depths thing works. I do it when I read too.

Re:Focal Depth (2)

jclip (113040) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539599)

...or leverage nature's vast focal-depth bounty and set your monitor up in front of a window. North-facing ones rarely have backlighting issues; awnings or shades can also do the trick.

When my nearsightedness and astigmatism were radpidly getting worse 12 years ago, my VMS-hacker optometrist recommended a low monitor (down and in is the natural eye direction, he said), a window placement, high resolution/high refresh/big fonts, and anti-glare coating for my glasses. My nearsightedness actually improved the first few years after I implemented his advice, and has been stable for 8 years.

Re:Focal Depth (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 10 years ago | (#8540360)

Also: Don't put your desk against a wall, but situate it so that you're facing out into the room.

This is typical in an executive setting, but seems to be incredibly unpopular in the home office crowd (or with anyone raised in a cube).

It reduces the cost (muscular, time) of changing focal length, so it's easier to do. And since you're more likely to -actually look around you- when it's easier to do so, it means that you might actually do it enough to make a difference.

Being able to glance just off one side of a monitor, into the room, and then out of an open doorway is a really easy way to let your eyes "stretch" and relax.

My eyes (which are horrible - I can't read inch-high letters more than a foot or two away unaided) have more-or-less stabilized since I made it easy to look around at my surroundings, and adopted the habit of actually doing so.

My eyes! The goggles do nothing! (2, Informative)

Momomoto (118483) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539305)

Previous posts have made suggestions to get your vision checked to see if you either need glasses or you need your prescription changed. I'd definitely opt for that with the suggestion that, in the meanwhile, you bump down your screen resolution and sit further away from the monitor if possible.

The reason I suggest this is that your eyes require no effort in order to focus on objects in the distance, but require the contraction of the ciliary muscles in order to focus on objects that are close up. This response, like any other muscle response, can fatigue if it's held for a long time.

A lot of Visine may help as well -- if you are spending a lot of time in front of a monitor you are probably blinking a lot less, too.

Good luck!

Re:My eyes! The goggles do nothing! (2, Informative)

lambent (234167) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539797)

A better solution than turning your resolution down, is to turn your resolution up, and increase the default sizes of all your gui stuff (display fonts, text zooming, icon sizes, menu width, etc, etc), turn on AA, and increase your refresh rate, as has already been said.

My mother is a text editor (no, really ... she edits medical texts), and for years she suffered from the eye strain bit, with the whole 800x600 resolution crap, cause that made everything bigger. I helped her upgrade last year to an LCD with a proper refresh, 1280x1024, and fixed all the font sizes and layouts, etc etc. She saw immediate improvement in ease of use.

Low resolution introducies jaggies, which just worsens the eye-strain. (in my experience)

Woo!!! Yay 4 glare!!! (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539343)

I went from 20/20L 20/15R to 20/25L 20/20R because of monitor glare. And that was a year or two ago.

Talk to an optometrist (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539368)

If you're having any kind of eye problem, you really need to do this. You might well have some physical problem that needs serious action.

In any case, you'll get some good advice. Mine told me a bunch of stuff to try. The most suprising was the suggestion that I lower my monitor so that it was about 25 degrees below eye level. This sounded odd to me, because computer furniture mostly seems designed to raise the monitor.

Glasses might also be an option. I have a friend who wears them only when she's online. (And on certain, uhm, other occasions, because her husband thinks they're sexy.) Or if you already wear glasses, you might find it worthwhile to have a separate set of "task" glasses just for working with the computer.

Re:Talk to an optometrist (1)

Zelet (515452) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539443)

Man... I thought I was the only one who thinks the ladies with glasses is hot.

Grrrrr, baby! Yeah! /austin powers

There's no perfect solution. (4, Funny)

gklinger (571901) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539391)

I use to have a guy that would describe everything on the screen for me so I wouldn't strain my eyes but the costs became prohibitive so I had to let him go. Now I have a guy in India doing it for a 1/10th the cost. It would be the perfect solution but the phone bills are killing me. Also, porn is not as stimulating.

Re:There's no perfect solution. (1)

addaon (41825) | more than 10 years ago | (#8541026)

Try getting a girl in india. That should help.

Re:There's no perfect solution. (1)

hummassa (157160) | more than 10 years ago | (#8541768)

If he could get a girl anywhere, he wouldn't need that much pr0n. :-)

My Optometrist called it "Artificial Astigmatism" (2, Interesting)

cfoster611 (219409) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539501)

I got my eyes checked a few months ago, the first time in ages, and computer use has absolutely speeded up the deterioration to my vision.

Not only has be myopia speed along as its typical pace, she also said I have developed astigmatism from my (apparently) near-constant computer use over the years. and i'm only 19..

They prescribed me some long distance (which i only use rarely, since I refuse to give in..) and some close-distance glasses that should the progression of the computer damage. I used them for a while, though they seemed not to do much in the way of helping.

The only way really to prevent this is to take breaks. up to 15 minutes, at least once a hour. Taking breaks can even help other aspects of your health, maybe if you combine them with some walking or other exercise.

I should listen to my old advice.

Re:My Optometrist called it "Artificial Astigmatis (1)

Rtsbasic (709532) | more than 10 years ago | (#8543693)

Ironically smoking helps with this; forces you to get away from the computer for 5-10 mins once in a while, so I go outside, walk around a bit and have a smoke.

Proper brightness/contrast settings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8539506)

My experience with people who complain about eye strain with computer monitors is that they almost always have their brightness and contrast set way too high.

A display is an emissive device, not reflective like a piece of paper. Have you ever held a sheet of paper next to your computer monitor? notice the difference. Now try to adjust your monitor so that it looks more like the piece of paper as far as brightness and contrast go.

Personally, I use dark green text on a black background (Mozilla) or light amber text on a black background (all my xterms) and have the brightness and contrast turned down very low. I don't suffer from eye strain with these settings.

Of course, my eyes are probably a but more sensitive than most since most other people can't see anything on my computer monitor they way I set it up. But for me it's as clear as day.

With laptop displays I find that is is even more important to use a dark background since the backlight is the cause of most of the eye strain.

Speaking specifically of the GE "Reveal" bulbs... (1)

bluephone (200451) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539561)

Regular incandescents are a little "yellow" to me. I don't like it much. I'm a very light oriented person, despite being a night owl. I like my light sources to be a little on the blue side. I love those new headlights in better cars, although most folks hate them.

Ten years ago or so, GE came out with some pastel tinted bulbs, pink, yellow, blue pastel tints to the powercoating inside the bulb. I found the blue tint gave a much "whiter" light than regular incandescent bulbs, and I like a nice white light source. When they were discontinued, I went back to shitty bulbs. Now they market almost the exact same product as the blue pastel ights as the new Reveal bulb. Speaking from experience, I love them. They're worth the extra buck. Whites are whiter, colors are brighter, and things DO Seem a bit crisper and clearer. So while I do agree with SOME parts of this study, I disagree with the weight they give to the psychological aspects.

  1. Improves color perception
  2. Improves visual clarity
They acknowledge that these lamps can help in these areas.
  1. Improves mood
  2. Improves productivity
  3. Improves mental awareness
They dither about this, but I can say the GE bulbs do help my mood, and through that my productivity and awareness. Try to do ten dimentional math when you're in a bad mood and foggy. It's hard. But in a good mood, you can do it more easily (although it's still hard ;).
  1. Improves results of light therapy in treating seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
I anecdotally disagree. However on the other factors, I can agree that these bulbs do nothing to further retail sales, vitamin D production or tooth health (chewing light bulbs is NOT good for the teeth). For plant growth, I can't speak because I'm not a plant.

Re:Speaking specifically of the GE "Reveal" bulbs. (2, Informative)

michael_cain (66650) | more than 10 years ago | (#8540083)

Regular incandescents are a little "yellow" to me... I like my light sources to be a little on the blue side.

Have you tried the various compact florescent bulbs? I recently went through a few, looking for one that was the "right" color. Incandescents are about 2750K, a good approximation of sunrise/sunset lighting. Some of the compact florescents are about 6000K, a reasonable approximation of high-noon sunlight. Those were too white for me -- seemed odd to have that color light inside the house, and made the whites on my LCD screen look a bit yellow by comparison -- but might be good if you like things more towards the blue. I ended up with a Philips bulb listed at 3000K.

Re:Speaking specifically of the GE "Reveal" bulbs. (1)

toast0 (63707) | more than 10 years ago | (#8540342)

The reason I hate the bluish headlights, is when they're not uniformly colored... so when they're behind you on a not terribly smooth road, they do all sorts of cool color changing effects as your viewing angle changes... which is distracting.

Well... (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539570)

It becomes so bad that I need occasionally to leave the room with computer and sit or lie down to relax for 5 to 10 minutes.

I've seen a number of solutions posited. But the simple one is this: Occasionally leave the room with the computer, and just sit down and relax- for around five to ten minutes or so. Perhaps in conjunction with these other fine ideas. :)

reading glasses (seriously) (3, Informative)

Calaf (78730) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539603)

I am rather nearsighted, but I wear corrective contact lenses all the time, and I used to work at the computer just with those. One day I visited my optometrist and he told me I would feel more comfortable working at the computer wearing reading glasses. I scoffed, I told myself I felt fine, and anyway I was too proud to adopt the trappings of old fogeyhood just yet. Until one day at the drug store I tried on a pair and was amazed at how much more comfortable it made it to see at close distances. Apparently my contact lenses refocus the light so much so I can see far distances, but it creates more strain when looking at near distances. The reading glasses counteract that. So for working at the computer and for reading, I wear my contacts *and* my reading glasses. It makes it so much more comfortable. I just got a cheap +1.25 power pair at Target, and they're not unfashionable, either.

3D stereograms (2, Interesting)

macemoneta (154740) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539754)

Periodically looking at 3D stereograms [] has helped me relax my eyes quite a bit. The regular exercise has even corrected an astigmatism, according to my eye doctor.

Get glasses (1)

Dixie_Flatline (5077) | more than 10 years ago | (#8539840)

I don't need glasses away from my machine. So, I went to the Optomitrist and told him that I was interested in preserving my vision. I told him that I wanted to spend money buying glasses, even though I didn't really need them.

He gave me a quite weak prescription. My ability to discern small details is already very good, but these glasses enhance my close vision even more. I put on my glasses, and things are just a bit bigger. As well, the lenses come with an anti-glare coating.

I've found that my eyes ARE a bit less tired after the end of the day. I switch between wearing them and not wearing them pretty smoothly, and I never wear them unless I'm looking right at the monitor.

Even if you have glasses, you can probably benefit by having a slightly different prescription for working at the computer. No reason to let your normal prescription get any worse.

Watch your convergence (1)

vthome (21702) | more than 10 years ago | (#8540056)

Make sure you don't have a pretty rare condition that is called a convergence insufficiency [] (or the opposite, "divergence insufficiency"). Usually, it is specific for children, and the eye doctors tend to miss it altogether (it took me three doctors and three years to have it identified).

Unusual symptoms include:

  • A feeling that one of your eyes shuts off or fades into a haze;
  • A feeling that your eyes are under a different kind of strain - left is not the same as right (this often gets mistaken for different prescription for left and right eye);
  • Changing prescription doesn't help, and the optometrists swear that "it is as good as it gets".
The cause of it is that you're staring at the monitor at a fixed distance for extended periods of time, without invoking your accomodation muscles.

It is fixable, though. It'll cost ya (and usually it is not covered by insurance), and you'll have to go through quite painful physical excercises, but they do indeed help, so don't lose the hope if you get diagnosed with it. And keep in mind that surgical measures are pretty much useless when dealing with it, it's your willpower that is getting you back in shape.

Eye Strain (3)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 10 years ago | (#8540081)

The specific fix will depend upon the specific cause. Try each suggestion here and elsewhere and see what works for you.

Switching to LCD if you haven't should be first. CRTs have more variance in output because LCDs are slower to darken. They flash.

Room lighting should be incandescent, rather than fluourescent, for the same reason: flash. Spectrum is, IMO, far less important than constancy.* If one thing flashing is bad, two things flashing at different rates is probably worse.

Work with room lighting and screen brightness to get it as comfortable as possible. You can't get around the problem of transmitted rather than reflected light, but you can minimize it.

The average optimal working attention time is around 25 minutes. Taking 5 minutes of every half hour off will keep you at a higher performance level as well as rest your eyes before you're forced to. Better to quit when you can find a good stopping point than when you can't see to read whether you've made mistakes.

Eye exercise to try while working: focus briefly on something far away. Outside if possible. Look at it for 30 second to stretch the muscles that had been set for close looking. Then look back and forth between something near and far, to "warm down" the eye muscles and keep them flexing. Then rest them by looking at something far again, for a few minutes.

Use paper when you can, especially for something you need to concentrate hard on. You'll lean forward and squint at the screen when trying to find a bug in code or something similar. That makes the transmitted light + flash (if applicable) problem all the worse, For reviewing something closely, print it. This especially for PDFs and such that are presented too small. If you'd have to have it wider than the screen (ie. use your bottom scroll bar to read across the page) in order to see it comfortably, print it.

Don't use WYSIWYG black-on-white skinny little letters for lots and lots of reading. I can read 4 or 5 pages of that stuff on my 15" LCD before my eyes get tired. I can read 10 times as much using light grey text on dark blue background in plain old DOS style monospace font.

I'm firmly convinced about the constancy thing. I've done experiments with incandescent vs. fluourescent lighting and found fluourescent to be worse (though I can only hypothesize why that is). About the only prior work I could find to reference was by a guy that also showed fluourescent light caused cavities, so it was kind of an iffy proposition. But my data replicated some of his other claims, so it's not completely bogus.

Re:Eye Strain (2, Interesting)

Myself (57572) | more than 10 years ago | (#8541059)

Yeah, I've switched to compact fluorescent lights in parts of the house for efficiency reasons, but I try to pair them with incandescent bulbs in fixtures near reading areas. I figure, half the efficiency benefit is better than none, and the reduction in flicker is essential.

I try to let natural light into the room when I'm looking at the monitor, but I'm careful to balance the contrast and avoid glare. If it's nighttime and I need light other than the monitor, I use an incandescent on a resistive dimmer (never a triac dimmer, they flicker too).

The most important thing has got to be focus though. A friend of mine has a degenerative disease where her eyes can only change focus slowly, over the span of several seconds or minutes. Looking from the road to the instrument panel and back to the road is impossible for her, so she has to read the gauges with her peripheral vision. (Analog gauges are easy, because you can tell the positions of the needles. Digital readouts are next to impossible.) When she uses a computer, she has to turn away and focus on the room for a moment before standing up to go get something.

I'm determined not to let this happen to me. I use my music collection to help -- at the beginning of each track, I close my eyes for a few seconds, take a deep breath, open my eyes, and look at something across the room. It's relaxing in terms of general stress, and it gives my eyes a chance to change focus distance.

Think about it -- our eyes weren't designed to stand still for long periods. In a survival situation, you're focusing near and far constantly, and your eyes are all over the place. Try to give them a little workout now and then.

Re:Eye Strain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8541205)

Yah, except it's been probably about 30,000 years since most people were constantly in a "survival situation."

Re:Eye Strain (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 10 years ago | (#8544126)

"Yeah, I've switched to compact fluorescent lights in parts of the house for efficiency reasons, but I try to pair them with incandescent bulbs in fixtures near reading areas. I figure, half the efficiency benefit is better than none, and the reduction in flicker is essential. I try to let natural light into the room when I'm looking at the monitor, but I'm careful to balance the contrast and avoid glare. If it's nighttime and I need light other than the monitor, I use an incandescent on a resistive dimmer (never a triac dimmer, they flicker too)."

I've found some people are more sensitive to the flicker. They tend to be the same people that when they chew something crunchy while looking at the TV, they see the picture jump and flicker. When I talk about this people either get excited because it happens to them, or have no clue what I mean. (And yes, it was a real science experiment done in a real lab. We used carrots.)

Different from being able to perceive the flicker, people wtih ADD seem to be adversely affected. This came to be as an informal observation shared by many school teachers around the US: when the kids on Ritalin start having problems, turn off the over head lights and open the curtains. Well, their informal observation was right. In ADD, fluourescent light makes reaction times slow down and heart rate speed up (which, when it occurs during focused attention, like the video game I had them playing, means that the strength of the attention is decreasing).

I only realized a few days ago my wife had replaced one of three bulbs in the dining room light with a fluourescent bulb type. That's where I do my modeling. I hadn;t noticed it, which I usually do when they're alone. Perhaps the other bulbs do mask it enough. Thanks.

The Worst Way To Prevent Eyestrain (1)

spudwiser (124577) | more than 10 years ago | (#8540164)

Use computers 10-24 hours per day, 7 days a week, for your entire youth, while your eyes are growing. Anything less than two feet in front of me I can see with frightening clarity at times, but anything further than two feet in front of me is a total blur without glasses. My eyes don't get tired until about 10-15 hours of hard core usage, which is usually about when my brain has turned to tapioca and it's time to stop anyway.
Let's hear it for mutations.

I wear sunglasses (1)

crzfire (654340) | more than 10 years ago | (#8540174)

I wear my sunglasses indoors, espically when i have to be looking at the screen for long periods of time. It seems to help my eyes from straining and reacting to all the light around me

Don't get laser surgery! (2, Interesting)

utahjazz (177190) | more than 10 years ago | (#8540189)

OK, I had laser surgery and it's the best thing I've ever done for myself. But, one thing I thought it would do was reduce my eye strain.

Bear with me.

I have a bad asygmatism (sp?). For going on a few months, my eyes started hurting pretty bad whenever I put on the glasses. I tried different glasses and still had the problem.

I figured it was time to fix my vision so I got the surgery. Good news: 20/15 vision (wuhoo!) Bad news: Now I had the 'I'm wearing glasses' hurt ALL THE TIME. It drove me freaking mad. I asked the doctor and he said "Maybe you should get glasses". That's where he lost me.

Anyhoo, my eyes are great now, here's why:

[drum roll]

I stared running. Outdoors. In the sunlight. With nothing but far away things to look at like mountains, sky, clouds, trees, OTHER PEOPLE, all illuminated by constant unflickering sunlight along with it's magnificent ultraviolet rays.

So, I say, to fix your eyes, buy some running shoes.

Re:Don't get laser surgery! (1)

addaon (41825) | more than 10 years ago | (#8541037)

How can you have a medical problem requiring both surgery and subsequent doctor visits, and not learn how to spell it?

Darkness (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 10 years ago | (#8540229)

I enjoy spending long periods in total darkness. It's relaxing. Is it good for the eyes? I dont have a fucking clue, but uh.. maybe it rests them? I dont know :)

Re:Darkness (1)

bandy (99800) | more than 10 years ago | (#8545080)

Adversion to garlic? Holy water burns? Craving for blood? If so, you've got bigger problems...

Turn down the brightness (2, Informative)

SteveOU (541402) | more than 10 years ago | (#8540321)

I don't have the reference pages right now, but....Most people's monitors are way too bright and have the contrast cranked up way too high. How do you know?

  • Contrast: Human eyes are better at seeing dark colored details on a light foreground, because of the way the eye adapts to the contrast range of a scene. Several optical illusions (Illusion 1) [] play on this fact. If you have eye fatigue problems using a white console w/ black text, you've got the contrast set too high. If green on black seems more comfortable than black on white, the contrast is too high
  • Brightness: Needs to be set according to the surrounding light level. The area behind and to the sides of the monitor should be about 75% as bright as the screen itself. I borrowed a light meter to check mine; place the sensor facing the wall, behind and to the side of your monitor to get a reading, then directly in front of your screen and adjust accordingly.

I've been having problems w/ eye fatige since the beginning of this year, and am getting to know my opthamologist fairly well. These are just notes I'm passing along from him as we try to get my workspace corrected.

desk vs office (2, Interesting)

cookiepus (154655) | more than 10 years ago | (#8540333)

some weeks/months ago we had a discussion about programmers having desks on an open floor vs. having private offices or semi-private cubes. I was one of the few voices in support of open floors, at the time, for the reasons of fasciliating team communication.

Well here's another argument for open floor plans. Yes, you get distracted more, when someone comes over and asks you something. This also makes you look away from the PC, look at a person, roll your eyes as a joke, look down in thought, et cetera.

I noticed this because a few times I had spent the whole day at work listening to music through headphones and noticed my eyes were getting tired. Why? I think it's because the headphones shielded me from the little distractions (like when someone walked near me or my manager wondered aloud about something.) Usually these events warrant a little turn of the head, which breaks up your tunnel vision.

Lutein (2, Informative)

ChiralSoftware (743411) | more than 10 years ago | (#8540346)

I can't believe this thread has gone on so long with no one mentioning lutein. Lutein is a natural anti-oxidant nutrient found in leafy vegetables. Very few of us get enough of it in our diets naturally. All the opthamologists I know take it every day. It is the best thing we know of for prevening macular degeneration, something which frequently causes blindness in old people. This isn't crackpot new-age herbal stuff. If you don't believe this, ask any opthamologist if he has heard of lutein and what he thinks of it.

Does your hosting company offer WAP hosting [] ?

Making Fun Of Typo (1)

Kethinov (636034) | more than 10 years ago | (#8540578)

What other methods can you come up with?\
Where did you learn to type?\

Use big monitor with low resolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8540847)

I have extremely good eyes (not color, though). I sit in front of computers a good 8 hours a day, at least, and it has been going on for at least 8 years. I don't feel that my eyes are getting worse (and I am already 37). I almost never have eye strain. At home, I have a 21 inch monitor, and the resolution is 1024x768, and thus I can sit almost a three feet away from the monitor. At work, the monitor is smaller, but the resolution is the same. I also can sit fairly far from the monitor.

I recommend to use a big monitor, low resolution, and high refresh rate. I am extremely sensitive to flickering, so much, that I refuse to stare at such a monitor for an extended time.

Advice. The last thing you should save money is on a good monitor. Yes, you can save a couple of hundred dollars over a few years, but the price will be your eyesigt. Is it worth? You can eat with an artificial tooth, you can dance with a wooden leg, but you cannot see with a glass eye. Take care of it. Allocate more money for your monitor.


monitor ray (0, Flamebait)

faridx82 (760501) | more than 10 years ago | (#8541168)

Score:5 Funny Hey! I haven't said anything yet.

5 minute breaks every hour (2, Informative)

henrik (98) | more than 10 years ago | (#8541616)

This is why you have scheduled 5 minutes breaks every hour during the work day when you have sitting down terminal work (like computer work).

If there isn't a law that allows you this already (worker's protection), then make sure your employer understands how much more efficient you will work with these breaks, even though he/she is paying for them. In the end, your boss will benefit from you having 5 minutes break every hour.

Re:5 minute breaks every hour (1)

tf23 (27474) | more than 10 years ago | (#8542903)

That would mean they'd have to come unlock the shackel and chains that bind me to this desk 10 hours a day.

C'mon, there's no way management's going to walk down the hallway, unlock it, wait for me to get back from my break, lock me back up, then go on with their 'business' - then rinse and repeat each hour... yeah right.

Re:5 minute breaks every hour (1)

henrik (98) | more than 10 years ago | (#8543005)

I guess you need to have a discussion about working conditions with the federal prison board.

The problem? (1)

ivan1011001 (751254) | more than 10 years ago | (#8542037)

My issue seems to be not a declining vision, but fatigue after certain amount of time in front of the computer. It becomes so bad that I need occasionally to leave the room with computer and sit or lie down to relax for 5 to 10 minutes.

Then you, my friend, are obviously not running on your optimum caffeine rating (ocr). Might I suggest some Bawls [] ? Or maybe some Penguin mints? []

Monitor Settings and color schemes (3, Interesting)

bjb (3050) | more than 10 years ago | (#8542348)

I have had this node on Everything [] called "Saving Your Eyes" for about two years now. The text is below:

This is really targetted at Computer Users who complain about how their eyes hurt, especially after a long day of staring at the computer monitor.

I have had 15/20 vision all my life, and I've also been a heavy user of computers since 1979. People ask how the heck I have maintained my eyesight. It is really simple: turn the brightness down!

Here are my tips for adjusting your computer monitor:

  • Display an image that contains a lot of BLACK, not grey, but black image. A perfect example is your boot loader, like lilo, if it doesn't have graphics. The black background should be black, not a shade of grey. If it is, turn down the brightness on your monitor. That is the dial that usually has a picture of a sun (or a circle with lines coming out from it).
  • Now turn down the contrast all the way. That is the dial with the half-filled circle. Turn it up until you can read the text without straining.
  • Now, if your monitor supports color temperature, adjust it to the 6000 or 6500 setting. This has a bit of a yellowish hue to the white, but you'll appreciate it later.

That's it. Note that if you are working on computer graphics, this will NOT make the colors bright and pretty, so you'll probably have to go back to the eye-killing settings. But if you're a coder who is just doing text and web browsing all day, USE THIS. Your eyes will thank you for it.

Even better: do the same thing I mentioned above, but with an LCD screen. CRT monitors are worse for your eyes than LCD.

If you're playing first person shooters like Quake, you will probably have to crank up the brightness dial. Just remember to turn it back down later!

A Quick Bit on Color Schemes

When I originally wrote this node, I was focusing only on monitor settings. The above works fine for any monitor going back to monochrome CRTs from the 1970s, but with the advent of configurable color window managers like Windows where you have a choice of color settings, I have one more piece of advice. Get off that default scheme!

Ever since Windows 1.0, there has been a default color scheme. Somewhere around Windows 2.0 you were able to change it, but most people never do it and they leave it with the default settings. These default settings are BRIGHT white backgrounds with the blue title bars. In my opinion, this color setting isn't optimial for your eyes. Of course, we're not just limited to Windows, but since the majority of people use it, I'll at least start with it for my point.

Without going into technical and difficult to apply color preferences, I suggest trying one scheme that has been in Windows since Windows 95: the 'Plum (high color)' scheme. The point of using this scheme is that the window decorations are not the typical bright grey, and the window backgrounds are off-white. You may not care for the purple accenting, but that's not the point of this scheme, in my mind. Give it a shot for an hour and see if it works for you.

What I've strived for is the perfect balance of colors on my desktop. A lot of people don't know how, and don't bother with adjusting their appearance settings. Granted after you've been using one scheme for a while, it might feel too foreign to have a different scheme. But try it, it might help even more.

Start using ths (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8542349)

This program monitors your use andd force breaks and stretching:

It is oriented for Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), but helps eye strain too.

Has Linux and Winddows version.

LCDs? (1)

Tom7 (102298) | more than 10 years ago | (#8542874)

LCD screens help a lot for me. I have a window at work, though, so "full spectrum" lighting is free.

Also, go get your vision checked, I was surprised how much getting glasses helped, even though I am nearsighted---it makes it more comfortable to look at far-away things, which means that when I take a break, I'm not constantly looking downward or at walls in order to keep things in focus, and I'm giving my eyes a little rest.

Glasses (1)

colinleroy (592025) | more than 10 years ago | (#8543208)

I guess it has to happen to everyone spending lots of time starring at the same distance. Ie, looking at a monitor for a few hours a day.
I started with computers at 9, now 24 and it's my job. I usually spend 8-12 hours a day in front of my computer. I can see the square of the pixel on my LCD, but can't read the licence plate of the car 30 meters in front of me.
Just got some glasses and I now see the outer world differently. (no glasses vision still good to avoid seeing ugly people in town ;-))

I have messed up eyes... (1)

CresentCityRon (2570) | more than 10 years ago | (#8545720)

... that really have a strong effect on my enjoyment and use of a monitor.

Here are my two cents:

1. Keep at least an arms length away from the monitor. Keeps you from staring at the damn thing up close.

2. Keep some light around the room going. If its nice and dark then you kill your eyes and they tired much faster. I know it makes it harder to see but you'll see longer.

3. Get a plant. You need something oddly shaped in three demensions near the monitor. Gives you something to refocus your eyes and keep from getting eye muscle strains.

I hope this is of some use.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>