Adjust Your Monitor to Prevent Eye Strain

If you spend more than two hours a day in front of a computer, your chance of developing Computer Vision Syndrome is upwards of 90%.

With effects ranging from itchy, irritated eyes, to general fatigue, loss of productivity and myopia, it's important to limit your risk.

But what if your job requires that you constantly stare into a monitor? How do you cope?

Thankfully, there are a number of adjustments you can make to reduce your exposure.

Check the Position

Set your monitor's position so it's 20 to 24 inches away and slightly below eye level. Some recommend adjusting the height so the top of the screen is level with your eyes.

In general, you want to be at a comfortable distance and looking slightly down. Your eyelids will cover more of your eyes, helping keep them moist, and your neck will be in a more natural posture.

Reset Your Resolution

LCD monitors work best at their native resolution since their pixel positions are fixed. If your screen resolution has been changed to make the display appear larger, the computer has to compensate, resulting in a display that's just a little off.

Make sure your computer's resolution setting is the same as your monitor's physical size. And if you need to change its apparent size, adjust the DPI (dots per inch) setting instead.

Some monitors have an On Screen Manager where you can find its dimensions. For others, you'll have to find a specification sheet on the manufacturer's website. And there are also a few online tools that can scan your computer, giving immediate result.

By comparison, CRTs aren't prone to this type of misalignment.

Adjust the Temperature

Monitor temperature refers to the color of light it produces. Higher temperatures make the screen appear bluish, while cooler gives it a more reddish tint.

For best results, temperature should be set somewhere around 6500K. Some monitors don't list their setting numerically though. For those, stay around the middle of the range.

One way of blindly setting temperature is to pull up an all white screen. Compare the white of the screen to a nearby white wall under the same light. Adjust temperature until the screen's color is pretty close to the same as the wall.

Set Your Refresh Rate

The majority of monitors today are LCDs, which aren't affected by the refresh rate like the older CRTs.

If you use a CRT, select the highest available vertical refresh rate. Usually that's 75Hz to 120Hz. Below 60Hz, most people report being able to see screen flicker, and even at 75Hz a few still perceive it.

Even if you can't see the flicker, too low a rate can still lead to eye strain, so set it as high as you can.

Check the Brightness

A monitor that's too bright can be as bad as one that's too dark, but always adjust brightness for comfort. Try to keep the screen about as bright as the surrounding area. Your eyes won't have to readjust as much every time you look away.

Some settings, like position, resolution, and refresh rate, are one-time adjustments. The brightness and temperature settings, however, will require more effort. You'll find that as you adjust one, each of the others will need to be reset.

Keep adjusting though. Once you get them all just right, your eyes will thank you.