My eyes are tired!
May 23, 2006 5:09 PM   Subscribe

I read a lot of text on screen (on a CRT) at work. Is there anything available to minimize eyestrain while doing it? (something like Tofu, but for Windows) Suggestions for settings are also welcome.
posted by northernsoul to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried ClearType?. Admittedly, I didn't like it at first and thought I would probably revert back. But I gave it a day or so and I wouldn't change it back ever. It's definitely minimized eyestrain for me and if you don't have it turned on I highly recommend it.
posted by freudianslipper at 5:55 PM on May 23, 2006

Make the font big. Also the luminance of the screen should match the luminance of the wall behind the screen. Also go through the following URL and adjust your monitor settings:

Last but not least: flat panels are easier on the eyes than cathode ray tubes.
posted by bukvich at 6:21 PM on May 23, 2006 [1 favorite]

Use a high-contrast desktop theme.
Set your monitor refresh rate as high as it'll go - preferrably 85 or 90 Hz.
Every 20 minutes or so, try to look at something in the room for 10-20 seconds. Ideally, this "something" would be at least 50 feet away.
posted by fvox13 at 6:23 PM on May 23, 2006

As long as you aren't a graphic designer and don't mind distored colors. Adjust the RBG values to something much cooler than the default, which I think is 9600 degrees This is your monitors black body radiation profile.

Go into your monitors custom settings and look for either RGB/Color or Temperature settings. Choose custom setting and drop the blue down to about 30%, Green to about 50% and Red to about 70%. You can play with these settings, but the important thing is to get rid of as much blue as you can, then green, then red. This will give your monitor an orange tint, but you stop noticing it pretty quickly. I also cut the brightness down and move the contrast up.

Before LCD's this was the first thing I would do at any new job. It helped me tremendously
posted by zgott300 at 6:32 PM on May 23, 2006

I know its mainly for LCD monitors, but I swear it help me at work on my 19" CRT. If you have windows XP turn on ClearType Tuner. Follow instuctions here.

ClearType Tuner Setup
posted by bleucube at 7:26 PM on May 23, 2006

Apart from setting the refresh rate to at least 75Hz (Display Properties->Settings->Advanced->Monitor), make sure the monitor is at the correct height. When you're sitting upright in your chair with your feet flat on the floor, the top of the screen should be at your eye level.

Make sure there are no plug packs (wall warts) near the back of your CRT, because they will make it wobble. So will other CRT's with their backs near the back of yours.

Crank the display resolution up as high as it will go while still giving you 75Hz or better refresh, then adjust the DPI setting (Display Properties->Settings->Advanced->General->DPI setting->Custom setting...) until the default Windows fonts go back to a comfortable size. On a 17" or bigger monitor, I like 1280x960 with DPI set to 150%.

Better still, ditch the CRT for a decent flat panel and turn on ClearType.

ClearType works by making use of the fact that there is exactly one R, G and B subpixel on the panel for each pixel displayed, and messing with the colors at the edges of text in such a way as to use the spatial positioning of those subpixels for better antialiasing. On a CRT, there is no exact relationship between display pixels and screen phosphor dots, so the fundamental assumption underlying ClearType is wrong; that said, ClearType's multicolored antialiasing still does look better than unsmoothed text on some CRT's.

You might also care to play with standard antialiasing: Display Properties->Appearance->Effects->Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts: Standard. This is a more conservative method that makes no assumptions about the absolute positioning of color dots, and works quite well on nice CRT's.

Antialiased text is only ever going to look nice at high display resolutions, though. ClearType will always look horrible at 800x600.
posted by flabdablet at 8:02 PM on May 23, 2006 [1 favorite]

I'm on a computer almost all day -- though I have a Powerbook. Perhaps you should invest in a decent LCD monitor?
posted by BioCSnerd at 8:14 PM on May 23, 2006

Can you hook up a second monitor? Not a replacement, but a extra monitor. I've noticed that eye strain is significantly reduced when you frequently move between any two monitors.
posted by krisjohn at 8:37 PM on May 23, 2006

What works for me :

Contrast at 25%
Brightness at 0%

At that setting, even Visual Studio's default white background is bearable.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:44 PM on May 23, 2006

Since I discovered that web text enlarges in Firefox, I've been very happy. But my strain issue is as much about my back and neck as about my eyes. I enlarge text so it is big and dark, then sit way back and enjoy reading. I also adjust window sizes so the width of the text is easier to follow. I sit at my computer at least 12 hours a day, sometimes over 18 hours.
posted by Goofyy at 9:32 PM on May 23, 2006

Back and neck strain from looking at a screen all day is a clear symptom of a screen that's not positioned properly. If you make it so the top of the screen is at your eye level (this requires jacking it up by four to six inches, for most desks) and make sure it's positioned right in front of you and not even slightly off to one side, your back and neck will stop hurting as if by magic.

I like doing this with a simple keyboard garage: get a sheet of five-ply that's about five inches wider than your keyboard and slightly deeper than the base of your monitor, and nail a block of wood under each end of it. Sit your monitor up on that. Now, not only does your neck not hurt any more, but you have a neat place to push your keyboard back into when you're not using it.
posted by flabdablet at 10:45 PM on May 23, 2006 [1 favorite]

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