5 Steps to Reducing Eye Strain while Working on a Monitor

Eye strain is a common complaint about the modern worker who spends hours every day staring at a monitor as part of their job function. Luckily, we’ve got the top recommendations for reducing eye strain when working on a computer monitor.


  1. Adjust position of the monitor

Tweaking your monitor setup can reduce your eyestrain considerably. For optimal comfort, the monitor should be 20-30 inches away from your eyes. The top of your monitor should be at eye level as well. You should be looking down at your work, not straining upwards to read the display. In order to accomplish this, if you need to raise your monitor, consider using risers, or even a stack of books or catalogs.


  1. Address eyesight and eyewear needs

Going to the eye doctor can be cumbersome to fit into a tight work schedule, but if you need glasses or an updated prescription, it’s well worth the time. Reading glasses may be needed or perhaps a change from contact lenses to glasses is warranted for accurate reading and therefore less eye strain. Artificial light combined with natural light and your monitor's backlight puts stress on the eyes. One solution might be Gunnar glasses, specialized glasses gamers use that are tinted yellow to offset the blue light of monitors. They also have a slight magnification in the lenses. They are designed for those who need corrective lenses as well as those who don’t.


  1. Adjust light and display Settings

An office with too much artificial or natural light can create monitor glare that adds to eye fatigue. Remove harsh fluorescent lights, if possible, and position your computer so that any natural light is not directly shining on your monitor. Floor or desk lamps can provide indirect lighting. Also, don’t forget to dust off the screen regularly!

Brightness: Adjust the brightness of the display, so it's approximately the same as the brightness of your surrounding workstation. Reference the white background of a Web page. It's too bright if you can see the light, and if its seems dull, it’s probably too dark.

Text size and contrast: Adjust the text size and contrast, particularly if reading or writing documents. Usually, black text on a white background is the best combination for avoiding eye strain.

Color temperature: This is the term used to describe the spectrum of visible light emitted by a display. Blue light is a short-wavelength visible light that is associated with more eye strain than colors like orange and red. Reducing the color temperature lowers the amount of blue light emission, increasing comfort while engaging with the monitor.


  1. Modify workstation

When work materials and tools are splayed out in different areas of your workstation, this forces your eyes to constantly readjust for different distances. Place your keyboard in front of your monitor, and reading materials alongside it using a copyholder.


  1. 20-20-20 Rule

Every 20 minutes, locate an object about 20 feet away and stare at it for 20 seconds. This tool from labnol.org is intended to exercise your eyes and give them a break from your monitor's bright backlight. Other things to do that are along this trajectory are blinking frequently and getting up from your desk every hour and walking for a couple of minutes in order to give your eyes, neck, shoulders and back all a break.

Rest assured; eye strain can be reduced with minor adjustments to your workday and workstation. Do you have any great tips for avoiding eyestrain while at work? Don’t be shy...share them with us!


One Love,

Dr. Travis Zigler

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