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When I am using my laptop for more than an hour or two, I get some eye strain. Is this a common problem for computer users? What should I do to prevent being affected?

  • To get dry eyes is perfectly normal. You need to remember to blink, and every hour or so look at something else (or take a sip of your favorite drink) just for a short while. Unfocus your eyes, refocus and blink. That's what I do, and it helps me quite a fair bit. (I spend a lot of time on my computer) – perhapsmaybeharry Jul 23 '16 at 11:40

15 Answers 15

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I just recently got a job where I have to stare at a computer for around 8 hours a day. The first thing I did was lower the brightness on both the monitor and the graphics card nearly all the way. Not actually all the way, because you have to be able to see it without straining, but a decent amount.

I also install f.lux (https://justgetflux.com/) and made my screen warmer, to try and reduce the blue light coming out of it. That helps quite a bit, and I don't notice the color unless I look at someone else's screen. It takes a bit to get used to but I think it's worth it.

Finally, I have a pair of Gunnar glasses that I wear during the day. Not all the time, because I don't like 24/7 glasses, but they help too. They slightly magnify the screen, and reduce ALL blue light (not just from the screen) to help my eyes relax. They're a bit expensive, so I'm not saying you have to go get some, but I like them for what I do.

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When my eyes become strained from looking at screens I often use eye drops. "Artificial tears" tend to work well, although there are more expensive alternatives.

Also, dimming the brightness delays the symptoms for me. Also, a dimmer screen in my opinion is easier on the eyes. When I have a text document open, or another program with a bright white background, dimming the brightness can make a world of difference. It reduces the severity of a bright white screen blasting in your face.

Keep in mind everyone is different. My eyes are sensitive to bright lights, which is why I find relief from lowering the brightness helps me. It's very possible you are the same way.

  • 1
    Black text on a white background produces glare. – Stan Jul 20 '16 at 16:02
  • Black text on a white background is pretty standard. For example: this website. The intent of my answer is to point out that reducing the monitor's brightness will reduce the severity of the white. As long as you can still see whats on the screen, reduced brightness has helped me in the past. – Justlieb Jul 20 '16 at 18:07
  • @Justlieb: You don't have to accept the default values of the web site or browser. This site works perfectly well when I use a bit of user CSS to make it display white text (or yellow in input fields like this comment box) on a black background. Many, if not most, other applications respect similar specification of foreground/background color in the OS/window manager. – jamesqf Jan 2 '17 at 5:12
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It is common among computer users. There a lot means to reduce it. I suggest you following methods:

1.Use a plain glass coated with anti glare coating.

2.Try to give your eyes a fresh water wash at frequent time gaps.

3.Do blink your eyes at frequent time gap.

4.Before sleep, wash you eyes with a medium cold water.

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If you are using a computer late at night, it is recommended to download an application like F.Lux. It reduces the brightness of the screen on sundown, and removes the light band that produces eye strain/keeps people awake.

  • Welcome to lifehacks.stackexchange. Did you notice that you duplicated the earlier answer given here by nmjcman101? – Stan Jul 21 '16 at 16:18
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When I am using my laptop for more than 30 min

I would suggest to see a doctor and check your vision first. It may be as simple as dry eyes but IMHO worth checking.

A separate note on reducing the brightness.. In very rare cases it is actually dimming that causes a very rare type of photophobia where a person cannot stand flashing light. Every modern light bulb (including those in LCD screens) flash with a high frequency. Dimming controls time span of every little flash. When you reduce the brightness it flashes more and causes more irritation. In this case an alternative may be to set it to full brightness but reduce the colour components so that the screen does not look bright.

  • Yes, do get your eyes tested. If you already wear glasses you might benefit from special ones for working at a screen. – RedSonja Jul 29 '16 at 11:52
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Reduce eye strain caused by constant exposure to a computer screen by adjusting your working conditions in order of importance.

Find the optimal seating (or standing) working position. The science behind those optimal conditions is called Ergonomics. The different distances and angles are best determined by your body proportions. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Adjust what you can to accommodate yourself. Most of this stuff is pretty basic and intuitive. You've probably heard it all before.

Before you turn your monitor on, what do you see? On the dark screen do you see reflections of you and your surroundings? If you do, you'll have all these reflections interrupting your screen view. Minimize what is noise, in the visual sense. Move or remove the offending visual interference if you can. Many keep their background dark and wear dark or black to keep visual interference to a minimum.

Adjust the lighting conditions to optimal levels for what you're doing. An excellent tutorial on lighting conditions with detailed illustrations and actual research data is
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Survey — Solutions Fact Sheet

Finally, Adjust the screen brightness for optimal level. The white level (behind the words you're reading here, right now) should match a piece of white paper lying on the desk beside the monitor screen. More than that increases screen glare. Less than that decreases legibility—contrast.

Pick up a piece of paper and hold it beside the screen right now and try it. Make proper adjustment as necessary. Make changes as necessary if the room conditions change. See how much it helps after a few days trial.

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It's your diet that's the problem.

In almost every case of eye strain the problem is a lack of vitamin A (Retinol) and or "vitamin" D. (Vitamin D is a hormone and not a vitamin in the conventional sense although it is called "the sunshine vitamin." Vitamin D aids the absorption of vitamin A as well as other nutrition material.)

Your eyes "eat" vitamin A as they function. When your eyes feel dry, scratchy, and uncomfortable it is a signal that you are experiencing a kind of malnutrition. Your EYES need the nutrition. You need time to absorb it. You need to eat, and rest to allow your eyes to recover.

The visual system is the major benefactor of proper nutrition and enough rest. Improper lighting (fluorescent tubes or any discontinuous source of light) stresses the visual system as much as a long-distance marathon taxes the muscular system. Glare is another stress that consumes more vitamin A as the eye works to resolve the image you are trying to see clearly.

Enjoy more foods rich in vitamin A. Many sites such as QUA blog , Michel Pop, and Mercola have suggestions for different delicious foods for meeting your specific nutritional requirements. Search on-line for "foods that can improve vision."
—Use dietary supplements only as a last resort and with some guidance from a licensed nutritionist after a detailed consultation. The cost and prescriptions should be tax-deductable as a business expense.

After you give your eyes proper nutrition for the amount of work you give them to do, your eye problems will diminish. You will be able to see better in dim light. Loss of dim light vision is also a symptom of a vitamin A deficiency.

Fix your diet and YOU'LL SEE.

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    Thanks for your answer, Stan. Perhaps to improve it you could add some examples of vitamin A-rich foods? As someone who spends far too much time in front of a computer I have to agree with your answer. – perhapsmaybeharry Jul 23 '16 at 11:38
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Not much you need to do actually, you are just overloading your eyes because of much time focused in your mind, therefore starring for long times at your screen.

Remember to do some slow blinks (close eyes for 1 second) the most often you can, or close your eyes when things are processing/compiling/etc. Take breaks to look at stuff far from you (outside of the window or in a distant point in the room). Switching focus is kind of a workout for the eyes. And wash your eyes with cold water every hour if you can.

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I'm suffering from a similar problem and the answers here are pretty much everything you can find on the web.

  • f.lux (as recommended by @nmjcman101) is a tool worthy of use
  • Gunnar Glasses (To reduce glare)
  • Any other anti-glare glasses (not sure about how these will compare to gunnar, but certainly better than no-glasses)
  • Awareness http://iamfutureproof.com/tools/awareness/ (Rings a bell every n minutes, so you know that you need to take a break)

    • In this break, try to look at objects that are more than 20 ft away from you, this will work out the retina muscles.
  • Drop a few drops of eye drops, every 2 hours or so (I use i-tone in India)
  • Fill your mouth with water and then rinse your eyes before going to sleep and waking up.
  • [if possible] Try to fix your work. Off load tasks to paper. Our eyes are not meant to bear that level of strain.
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Make sure you monitor is at eye level. Every 15 minutes focus at least 4 things far away without moving your head. Tension headaches may be due to lack of magnesium 80% of people are deficient in magnesium. If you have painful eye strain rinsing your eye with cold water can do wonders.

  • Overall great answer; my only suggestion would be for you to add a reference as to where you found the information regarding magnesium deficiency. – L.B. Aug 11 '16 at 16:38
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Practice this simple but effective 20-20-20 exercise.
It's really EASY to do and a good habit to adopt.

Every TWENTY minutes,
look at something TWENTY feet away
for TWENTY seconds.

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I am using special glasses for computers. It is without dioptress. Helps for me

  • That's wonderful. Would you like to share anything more with us? What do you mean by special? Where did you get them? What are they called? How much did they cost? Why did you buy them originally? Are there any available for eyeglass wearers? Is there a treatment for glasses we already have? How long have you had them? Are they effective? Did you notice an immediate improvement or did it take a while before you noticed anything? Are the lenses a different colour that's noticeable if you work with colour displays? Do you have a brand name reference? Thank you. – Stan Jul 22 '16 at 19:12
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Lower screen brightness. Theres also this program that changes the color of your screen based on daytime and such.

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    Welcome to stackexchange. Please provide more significant detail in your answer. Try to help the person appealing for a workable solution (hack) to their question. Your answer is cryptic and vague as to the "program" you suggest. Edit your response to improve it. Thanx. – Stan Jul 27 '16 at 19:12
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If you have some money, you might consider buying a pair of Gunnar Glasses, which are:

specifically engineered to reduce digital eyestrain

  • Welcome to stackexchange. Please provide more significant detail in your answer than a link that does not work in all browsers. Try to help the person appealing for a workable solution (hack) to their question. Your answer is cryptic and suggests purchasing a product rather than an alternative way to solve the problem or diminishing the severity of it. You can edit your response to improve it. Thanx. – Stan Aug 3 '16 at 0:39
  • @Stan Not sure how my answer is "cryptic". Gunnar Glasses are a product that are specifically designed to solve OP's problem, and I can personally attest to their functionality. Also, I'm not sure what you would consider a "hack", and why my solution somehow falls outside of your definition? – David C Aug 4 '16 at 14:20
  • Your comment was longer than your answer. : ) Here are guidelines for reference: meta.lifehacks.stackexchange.com/questions/2641/… – Stan Aug 4 '16 at 14:55
  • Read through that forum, and still no justification for the how my answer is "cryptic", and why you wouldn't classify it as a "hack". Also, you are saying more words = better answer, which is wrong. I appreciate that you're trying to improve the quality of posts, but there's a fine line between being helpful and being a pretentious dick. – David C Aug 4 '16 at 15:37
  • A lifehack is a technique that can be implemented quickly and is used to make one's physical life more efficient when a more standard approach (as defined by that area's experts) or a product is either unavailable or undesirable. Lifehacks are creative, meaning they use materials that are on hand for uses besides their intended use. Also, kindly re-read my first comment. There's a fine line between an answer and a good answer. You're right. "Buy this. It's good." does not qualify as a high quality answer and we're striving to do better. Join us. – Stan Aug 5 '16 at 1:44
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Make sure the lighting is right. Turning the screen on, have a check if you can see your surrounding or not. If you can, it's too light in the room and this will cause quicker eye strain. But on the other hand, if the screen is brighter than your surrounding it will also cause quicker strain.

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