Jun 23, 2018

Eyestrain notes

With as much time as I spend in front of the computer, I've made a study of preventing monitors from burning out my eyes. Here are some of the things I've learned.

Adjustments in Windows 10
The contrast bar has vanished in Windows 10, leaving a brightness bar that only goes so low. Fortunately, there are other ways to adjust the brightness/contrast.

If your machine uses Intel, right-clicking on the desktop brings up a menu that includes the Intel Graphics Settings. Click on Display, then Color Settings, to find Intel's brightness and contrast adjustment bars.

Windows 10 also includes a Night Light function that shows up when you do a search for it. Adjusting the 'Color Temperature at Night' bar lowers the blue light spectrum.

Scientists have found that the blue light spectrum is what's making it hard for users to sleep at night, so Night Light comes with a timer function that turns it on and off in the evening hours.

The IT guy where I work recommended this. F.lux is the same as Windows Night Light, but with more settings. It adjusts the blue light spectrum based on where you live, what time it is, and when you get up in the morning. It's available for free download here.

Bias lighting
The contrast between the monitor and the darker area around it can also cause eyestrain. Bias lighting is a track of LED lights that stick to the back of the monitor. It's powered via a USB port.

It's great for people who like to use the computer in the dark and it also aids your brain's interpretation of the monitor colors (as when matting art with white matboard). I've got them stuck to the back of my desktop monitor and living room TV. More info here.

Anti-glare filter screens
This is helpful for preventing glare on laptops in public places. It's a transparent sheet that clings to the monitor. Air bubbles can accumulate between the sheet and the monitor, so applying them takes some patience.

There are a multitude of brands available. I've tried a couple of them and haven't had any problems. Both were thin enough to work with my touchscreen monitor. Although for desktops, the big plastic blue light blocking screens that hook over the top of the monitor are better.

Monitor placement
The monitor should always be at arm’s length, no closer or farther, with the top of the monitor at eye level so you're always looking down. Also, training yourself to blink while using the computer can prevent long staring sessions.