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Biotech Displays

Protecting and Preserving Your Vision? 123

Posted by Cliff
from the saving-your-eyes dept.
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?\"
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Protecting and Preserving Your Vision?

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  • by DeadSea (69598) * on Thursday March 11, 2004 @10:37PM (#8539050) Homepage Journal

    I read Slashdot on a line printer, you insensitive clod!
  • Sorry, (Score:2, Funny)

    by satanami69 (209636)
    But it looks like everyone is taking their 5-10 minute break.
    • Re:Sorry, (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      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
  • See a doctor (Score:5, Informative)

    by El (94934) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @10:41PM (#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?
    • by trentfoley (226635) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @11:33PM (#8539421) Homepage Journal
      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.

    • Chromium is key to the body's ability to regulate blood sugar, and is disappearing from the normal diet due to modern intensive farming techniques. A supplement of chromium will tend to stabilise your blood sugar variations, and over time tends to reduce the symptoms of diabetes. Try 200mg/day of chromium picolinate to start, vary the dose up or down depending on how well you respond to it. It IS a metal though, not a water-soluble vitamin, so don't take silly doses -- you don't need that much.

      Inciden
  • from experience (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ratso Baggins (516757) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @10:43PM (#8539087) Homepage
    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 (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      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

    • I think he means 'astigmatism', from dictionary.com:

      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.

    • > So do yourself a favor and have your eyes tested.

      UK slashdoters may not know that by law they are entiteld to free eye tests (paid for by there employer) if they use a VDU regularly as part of there job. ( First google hit [davidclulow.com])

      Employers wont go out of there way to give them for you, so you will need to ask. I work in a laser lab and get free eye tests for obvious reasons.

  • Some suggestions. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Alereon (660683) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @10:46PM (#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.
    • by bromba (538300) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @10:54PM (#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.
      • by ChopsMIDI (613634)
        close your eyes for a while

        Better yet, just go to sleep.
        • 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.
      • 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 a
        • 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
    • On glasses. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      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 happen
    • 6. green on black (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jtheory (626492)
      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
      • warning (Score:2, Interesting)

        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. [uml.edu]

      • 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!
      • 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

        • 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 [eclipse.org], 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 contr
      • 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 Gn
    • "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,
      li
    • 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 scre
      • To change colors in safari, just make a custom stylesheet and select it as the default stylesheet. Allows changing much more atuff than just default backgrounds.
    • > 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.
    • At home, I have a high end 19" flat CRT that provides a crisp clear picture that I can stare at for hours and hours. At work, due to the way computer hardware is given out, I have a low end, super-curved monitor that just wears out the eyes. Therefore I'd have to add to your suggestions by advocating a higher end monitor, because they really pay off.
  • Bad? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 11, 2004 @10:49PM (#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? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by xanderwilson (662093) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @10:58PM (#8539187) Homepage
      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.

      Alex.
  • At Ac Lens [aclens.com]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 [futureshop.ca].
    Quote Again: "VisionGuard XL, Glare Filter with Radiation Barrier. Relieves eye stra
  • Cant read print for very long with muchless without my glasses but I can stare into the green glow for days.
    CONFIG_FONT_6x11=y

  • easy but not cheap (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 11, 2004 @10:58PM (#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.
    • by Cthefuture (665326)
      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 wi
      • by Cthefuture (665326)
        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.
        • 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

          • 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.
      • 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, ge
        • 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.

          I have two Dell 2000FPs, one at work, one at home. Both are perfect, with no dead or stuck pixels.

          I also have a 20" Apple Cinema Display at home. It's the second one, because the first one (shipped to us from Apple) had a bright green stuck pixel in the middle of the lower-left quadrant.

    • by Grab (126025)
      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
      • 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 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sandman1971 (516283) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @11:02PM (#8539206) Homepage Journal
    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).
  • by Ruis (21357) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @11:03PM (#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%
    • 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 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Inexile2002 (540368) * on Thursday March 11, 2004 @11:06PM (#8539234) Homepage Journal
    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.
    • ...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 t
    • 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 s
  • by Momomoto (118483) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @11:16PM (#8539305) Homepage
    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!

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

  • by gklinger (571901) on Thursday March 11, 2004 @11:29PM (#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.
  • 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
  • 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

    • 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

    • 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.

    • I have been hooked for about five years on GE Grow-n-Show bulbs. They're available as a standard light bulb form factor and as a flood-light. They're very purple when not lit, but the light they put out is a beautifully pure white approximating sunlight. Everything viewed under them just looks unnaturally crisp, and of course the plants love 'em. Also, you can stare right into the bulb and read the wattage rating printed on it without feeling like you're staring at the sun.

      I think they may have dropped the
  • 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. :)

  • by Calaf (78730) on Friday March 12, 2004 @12:02AM (#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 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by macemoneta (154740) on Friday March 12, 2004 @12:24AM (#8539754) Homepage
    Periodically looking at 3D stereograms [amazon.com] has helped me relax my eyes quite a bit. The regular exercise has even corrected an astigmatism, according to my eye doctor.
  • 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
  • Make sure you don't have a pretty rare condition that is called a convergence insufficiency [google.com] (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
  • by DynaSoar (714234) * on Friday March 12, 2004 @01:05AM (#8540081) Journal
    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 (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Myself (57572)
      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 (
      • "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
  • 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 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
  • by utahjazz (177190) on Friday March 12, 2004 @01:20AM (#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.

  • 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 :)
  • by SteveOU (541402)

    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) [freevisiontest.com] 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 comf
  • desk vs office (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cookiepus (154655) on Friday March 12, 2004 @01:42AM (#8540333) Homepage
    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 (Score:2, Informative)

    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
  • What other methods can you come up with?\
    Where did you learn to type?\
  • by henrik (98) on Friday March 12, 2004 @06:33AM (#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.

    • 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.
  • 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 [thinkgeek.com]? Or maybe some Penguin mints? [thinkgeek.com]
  • by bjb (3050) * on Friday March 12, 2004 @09:23AM (#8542348) Homepage Journal
    I have had this node on Everything [everything2.com] 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.

  • by Tom7 (102298)
    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.
  • 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 ;-))
  • ... 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
  • Some more food for thought, from my own quest for an eye-friendly work space:
    • Position your desk and monitor so windows are outside your field of view. If you can't do that, shade the windows to drop full daylight down to a little less than your monitor's brightness (see below).
    • Room lighting should be halogen or the newer residential-use fluorescent lamps, which with warm color and electronic ballasts are no less eye-friendly than incandescents. Install about twice the lighting typical for the room's si
  • You complain about fatigue from coding(?) for lengthy periods. There are 2 things that jump out at me from this:
    1. Eye fatigue
    2. Brain fatigue

    1. Eye Fatigue: assuming you've done sensible things like vary the screen contrast and whitepoint to match your surroundings, the most common problem is slow screen refresh. And different people eyes "refresh" at different rates. A good quick test: when you're at the movies and watching a panning shot move across scenery, do your eyes swim in almost-pain from the ina

  • Two recommendations:

    1.)Turn your font size up really high so that you don't have to have your face a couple of inches from the screen.

    2.) make sure your screen (or screens) are each directly facing your eyes.

    At my job I'm blessed with a double monitor setup, but at first I found that I was getting major eye strain after a day of work, even though at home or school I would often spend a whole day in front of my (single) screen. After about a month I realized the problem: the two monitors had their sc

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