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Best Monitors for People with Eye Problems

by joeypt / March 8, 2008 12:40 AM PST

Hey everyone! I want a piece of advice about something: What kind of monitor do you recommend for people who stay a lot of time in front of the computer? I feel I get my eyes tired very quickly. I've got a Samsung SyncMaster 940 MW, both LCD TV and Monitor. It is quite painfull being so many hours in front of it. Please give me your monitor suggestions...

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The Question has been asked before
by LionsMike / March 14, 2008 1:40 PM PDT

This topic has come up in Eye Research meetings but I don't believe that any good answers have ever been presented. I am replying so that I can mark this one for tracking. I imagine that having control over brightness, and contrast, will override the model number or manufacturer.

I will watch this topic closely in the hope that lots of people respond, but I just can't hold to much hope.

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Eye Strain
by mwooge / March 14, 2008 2:41 PM PDT

Only two things I can think of. First is that you need glasses appropriate for the distance to the monitor. I wear bifocals, for instance.

Second thing is to watch in a well-lighted room. It's hard on your eyes if the monitor screen is the only thing your eyes can focus on.

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Eye strain
by gabrolena / March 14, 2008 4:29 PM PDT
In reply to: Eye Strain

When you have to be on the computer for any lenght of time, you need to rest your eyes. You can do this by refocusing on something over 20 feet away for 30 to 60 seconds every 20 to 30 minutes. I know this sounds too simple but it really helps. I'm usually on the computer reading and typing 8 - 10 hours a day. I have my computer sitting next to a window so I can look out the window. This is a really good idea for gamers too. Hope it helps you.

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Best monitor for people with eye problems
by catsnharps / March 14, 2008 6:25 PM PDT


I can identify with you. I have low vision and spend hours in front of the computer. My monitor is a Dell 17" flatscreen, which works very well for me. Your other readers are right that there are things you can do to alleviate eyestrain. I wear bifocals, and years ago I had a lot of eyestrain and developed tendonitis in my shoulder from hunching to see the monitor. Special glasses with middle distance single lenses solved the problem beautifully. There is a tendency to stare when working for long periods at the computer. Get up periodically and do other things to rest your eyes. Also remember to blink. And clean your screen regularly.

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I Use A Freeware Solution To This.......
by charlie.007 / March 14, 2008 8:50 PM PDT

I tried out a freeware application from 'Iconico' called simply 'Magnifier'. I think it's fantastic. There are various things you can do with it like expand/shrink the window size to whatever dimensions you prefer, adjust the magnification factor, make it follow your mouse or not follow the mouse, add a grid if you want and it even has a screen capture facility. I find it's only weakness is that it won't reach the extreme edges of the desktop, but I don't find that to be a hindrance. I keep it minimized and expand it as and when I want to use it.
It's worth a try, it costs nothing and you can just uninstall it if you don't like it. There are other freeware products available as well as the 'Magnifier' from these people.

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Recent advice from my eye doc
by dknapp / March 14, 2008 9:56 PM PDT

I am 60, have had lasik twice for extreme nearsightedness and can see about 20-35 now. I am a full time IT guy with lots of daily monitor time. My doc just told me I am getting cataracts as well. I also am a private pilot, so am interested in the best vision possible. The eye doctor says to stay away from CRTs and go with LCD monitors, set to a fairly large resolution. He suggested 800 x 600, but I find that too large and it will not conform to the monitor native resolution. Be sure you understand what that is. Paying lots for a very high resolution monitor may not be worth it if you run it at fat resolutions.

If you google vision and computer monitors, most of the citations are really old, so not sure how much research has been done lately. The other suggestions submitted are good as well.

There are special lenses, one name is Sola Access, that are designed for a wider range of relatively near vision than typical reading glasses. They are also called computer readers and are made by various companies. I am going to check those out. Good luck.

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people with eye-problems
by jean harrington / March 15, 2008 7:33 AM PDT

I use a 20" monitor, flat-panel, with my browser set at 200%.I have reading vision in one eye, the other eye has Central Serous and does not read.It is set at 1600x1200.
I'm on the computer 12 hours a day.

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use 2 monitors??
by rixfix1 / March 15, 2008 12:01 AM PDT

here's what i do. i have bad eyes too, and if i wear glasses, i can't see anything else in the room, so i use two monitors. i've got a crt 20 inch set at 1600x1200, and an lcd set at 1280x1024, and i find when my eyes get tired, i just switch to the lcd for a while. it seems to really help having the different resolutions

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Best Monitors for People with Eye Problems
by royc / March 15, 2008 4:20 AM PDT

I have read the other responses to this, and I see someone said do not use a CRT and someone else said use 2 monitors set to different settings.

I use a CRT and when my eyes need a rest I switch settings using the Video card setup program. This is very easy to do and it doesn't create any trouble because the CRT can handle the settings while flat screens can't.

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Eye health continuted
by dknapp / March 15, 2008 6:01 AM PDT
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I use my feet
by victor_thai / April 12, 2008 3:45 AM PDT
In reply to: Eye health continuted

Unless one is duct taped and forced to stare at the computer with a gun. On can use their feet and eyelids for a five minute break in between sessions of torture from working on a computer.

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How much does a black background matter?
by MikeSimpson1962 / July 30, 2008 3:55 AM PDT

Hi everybody,

is it better for your eyes if you regularily use sites with a black background like Speedchart and Bloomberg instead of sites with glaring white backgrounds?

At least to me it feels better. Any input is appreciated.


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just wanna share this...
by gabrieljosh / August 18, 2009 6:10 AM PDT

The ever widening use of computers led to a marked increase in the reported cases of eyestrain. Still, too few computer users can identify the early symptoms of eyestrain. They stare daily at a lighted monitor, never noticing that their eyes have come under strain.

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If you are still here ... Your question is the answer!
by LexisaLotmore / May 16, 2010 6:23 AM PDT

Indeed, more than all else, it's the amount and intensity of light - white being most; black being least - which leads or does not lead, respectively, to eye strain. Likewise, you are correct that what pleases the eye, eye-feeling-wise, will not strain; what does not will.

The reason so much eyestrain is that people (and employers) fail to look at the enviromnent (the true culprit in the majority of eyestrain cases) and look to the all-knowing computer ...a case of not seeing the forest for the trees ... or not seeing the light for the monitor display Wink

I have written in detail about this, and offered for the first time the ideal solution on the next page...and have also included ... how to turn your monitor from lighted to dark bottom layer (backgound)...whenever the eyes are displeased.


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by Anna_21 / May 26, 2010 12:32 AM PDT

Thanks for sharing!

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LED vs. LCD monitors? MAC vs. PC?
by Barbarita23 / March 30, 2010 10:57 AM PDT

I've got some low vision issues & typically use a 19" LCD screen and put the display resolution on 800x600 for best reading results. I've been seriously considering getting a new iMac 27", because of the size of the screen and ability to have documents side-by-side. But I've noticed that when I look at the monitors at the Apple store I seem to have more trouble reading, and am wondering if the high resolution coupled with the glass screen are actually worse for me. I've tried switching the setting to lower the resolution, changing the font size, etc., but it seems to either make the print illegible or just seems to strain my eyes more than my old 19" LCD screen. Would really like to go to a Mac, because of better reliability & less crashing, but not sure what to do now. Any thoughts?

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Wrong question ... but help's still on the way.
by LexisaLotmore / May 15, 2010 8:31 AM PDT

Obviously, the few mfr's of computer monitors (screens) all produce pretty much the same thing, so recommending any monitor (which would, in effect, be no different than recommending a brand name/model) can?t really be expected make a difference.

Now there is lots of advise (usually unnecessarily techno-speak oriented) dealing with this subject, little or none of which is ultimately very effective. That is because it tries to address individual problems not clearly described. Or because the advise fails to address the cause of the problem...and that last part is what is generally misunderstood, both among average users...and especially, sad to say, among ?experts.?

However - and this is the first time this has been published! - the basic cause of eyestrain, since forgotten, was found long, long ago (I mean, years in the hundreds ago), and with it, the solution which I recommend should always be tried first...and is guaranteed to work barring some significant eye malady or health issue.

Long ago it was discovered -- I discovered it as well when computers went from white-on-green to amber-on-black [still the most eye comforting display color combination]; then from monochrome (best on eyes) to color (which, surprisingly for me, proved to be more likely to cause eye strain); then from CRT to LCD which proved no less likely to cause eye strain -- that eyes strain has virtually nothing to do with the display media (be it monitor screen or hard copy you see where this is going) or with the aided or unaided vision of the user/reader.

No! What it was, is where the light is coming from; yes, that is right, and if you think of how (of the normal environment in which) eyes are naturally used, this become intuitively clear. Normally, the light (natural sunlight, but also artificial light, and in both cases more-or-less dispersed light), coming from a single direction illuminates what we are looking at. (We do not typically look for long periods at a light source...and if we did - without squinting - eyestrain would eventually ensue consistent with light intensity; but I digress.) However, in computer settings, not only is the monitor a light source as opposed to being illuminated, our eyes are also detecting light (are trying to cope with) light from different source(s) (the same which are illuminating the keyboard). So now we begin to see the true cause of strain in terms of the unnatural demands which the computing environment (just like the reading we shall soon see) places on the eyes. The typical computer monitor is situated such that the user's eyes attempt to focus while adjusting to fluorescent light emanating through the screen (in varying degrees of intensity and coloration and contrast), but must do this while also adjusting to a light source coming from a different direction in the environment...typically overhead. &or elevated above the eyes. We are aware of the monitor?s light (so we blame the monitor), but largely inattentive of the surrounding light (so fail to recognize that as the primary culprit) which is actually causing the problem; causing the problem by presenting the eyes with adjustment/compensatory tasks for which the are not ?designed? and with which they cannot hope to cope without fatigue and strain. And, because we don't recognize the problem as the external light, we also fail to recognize the solutions -- in this case, the solution to eyestrain caused by reading; a solution that was first come upon in the pre-computer age (going back to the days of gas lights!) ; a solution that will also work when reading computer monitor screens.

In this regard, two "applications" come to mind, only one of which, however, provides a workable (also the best .. and least inexpensive) solution to eye pain in the GUI environment; those are: libraries and bookkeepers/clerks bills ... That is, visor bills ? as in cap visors.

To those fortunate enough to visit great/ancient libraries such as library of Congress, with huge spaces and 50 foot, sky lighted ceilings with massive, yet still distant, overhead lighting, one will observe on the reading tables those appealing table lamps (variously called clerk lamps, bookkeeper lamps, lawyer lamps, library/reading lamps ..., all having in common the half-tubular, green, translucent glass (nowadays sometimes plastic) shade. In such situations where close-up lighting is needed because general lighting is too distant or too weak, the table lamp with green shade serves the purpose of illuminating the page for the eyes (which does not cause strain), but also of not allowing light from the lamp itself to emanate up into the reader's/writer's/tabulator's eyes (which, in conjunction with reflected page light, would cause strain). It would appear, however, that solution has no practical application in the computing scenario.

Happily, an even simpler (and cheaper) solution, the bill (aka visor), is an eyestrain preventative which translates readily into the computing environment. Even in the gas-light (and candle) days it was found that wearing a bill will relieve the eyes of coping with incident light (light [invariably overhead light]) other than reflected light from the page) thus imposing on the eyes the exclusive, and easier, task of solely focusing on the printed/written type/script. (Even with candlesticks and sconces, such limiting of visual field [and perception) to the reflecting page served to reduce the strain otherwise induced by flame flicker.)

Concluding, and assuming your environment is typical, I would recommend you do as they did in days of yore: and keep your bill/visor/cap with visor always in reach at your work area, and never interact with your monitor screen without it on your head.

This is a policy long since adopted in our family...with no problem of spontaneous eyestrain and greatly reduced problem with fatigue since. Until the bill/visor over your eyes becomes second nature, not only will you be surprised how much more eye pleasing, you might also be surprised at how great a factor eyestrain is (had been) in overall monitor induced fatigue.

It is recommended strongly for use without exception in schools...but you cannot assume sending your child with cap and instructions to wear before computer in class will not meet with resistance; some educating of the educators might be required.

Once schools and others catch on .(perhaps establish requirements as well)? maybe a boom in computing visors -- sport-/action-figure computer caps for boys, fashion computer, ?do-visors for the girls. And with lots of existing suppliers and stores, no ridiculous computer gear prices?.

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This partial solution is right at your finger tips.
by LexisaLotmore / May 15, 2010 9:28 AM PDT

As I stated above, the present flat screen displays are not improvements in terms of eye strain. But what if your monitor could display something more akin to formats found in early studies to be more pleasing/comforting to the eyes...such as the high-contrast, amber-on-black that monochrome monitors once displayed?

Until fairly recently this could be done relatively easily by adjusting default display color settings (using templates as I recall) in some MS applications such as Word word processor; but that was of no help outside the application or for displaying a web page.

What was needed, but was not user-achievable, was the ready capability of resetting color display defaults which would apply to any open window including online pages. (I was probably one among few who suggested and pressed for such capability, and decried its absence, to the big operating system producer in Redmond, so was happy to see such capability in recent OS versions. I would suppose that MS made the change more in deference to company users where, essentially speaking, most work is done in two-color display only, where inverting colors is less likely to obscure anything needed, where lotsa repetitive tasking, so I can hardly take much credit ....)

Now, with Microsoft OS, getting a high contrast, easy-on-the eyes, white-on-black display is as easy as three keys and one tap on the keyboard: left-side-Alt + left-side-Shft + (tap)PrntScreen will bring up a dialog box. Tap Yes and there it is. Repeat to change back to standard display.

Interestingly, you are using fairly much the same principle to reduce eye strain as described previously, except respecting direct as opposed to incident light. Since displaying white represents the maximum amount of light allowed to transmit from monitor back light tubes through your monitor screen to your eyes, and because maximum light imposing on the eyes creates greatest demand for muscular eye reaction to regulate incoming light...then reversing white in favor of black on the screen causes less light (this time direct light) for the eyes to have to cope with. ...less effort by the iris muscles, less srain and fatigue in the eyes ....

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