June 29, 2020

A Better Screen Setup For Your Eyes

Tips to reduce eye strain and improve sleep


Like most of us, I spend a majority of my time in front of a screen. As everyone is aware, too much screen time is probably not good for you because:

  1. Improper set up and use of screens may cause eye strain
  2. Blue light from the screen disturbs your sleep patterns (according to Matthew Walker's amazing book "Why We Sleep")

Here are some tips to help you set your screen up better. This had helped me strain my eyes less and I think helped me sleep better.

Disclaimer - I am not an eye specialist. Just sharing some tips which might benefit you.

General advice

  • Set up your office environment with the least amount of glare and contrast.

At home my desk looks directly outside the window (this is not the best setup). On sunny Melbourne days, it gets too bright outside so I put the blinds down to reduce the contrast. Read What is glare?

  • Get a monitor with a matte finish, not a glossy one

When I moved to Melbourne, I made sure that the monitor I was going to buy has a matte finish. It prevents external sources of light (like the sun or ceiling light) reflecting back at your eye causing discomfort.

  • Lower the brightness of the screen to match your surroundings

I normally put the brightness at 20%

  • Play around with the other setting such as contrast and text size
  • Reduce your screen time at night
  • Get your eyes routinely checked by an optometrist

See other "screen" tips from theLook After Your Eyes website by UK The College of Optometrists

Tech Tips

Use "Night Shift" or "Blue Light Filter" on your phone

readingmode.jpg

Nowadays, your phone ships with settings to increase eye comfort. Night Shift or Blue Light Filter change the screen to a very warm colour so that less blue light is emitted.

On my phone (Xiaomi Android), there is a setting called "Reading Mode". I can tell the phone when to activate the blue light filter.

Using Blue Light Filter on Samsung Glaxy

Using Nightshift on iPhone

Blue light reducing software on your computer

redshift.jpg

You can also download software to reduce the blue light emitted from your computer. Flux is a popular option and it works on Windows, MacOS and Linux. I use Redshift for my Linux Ubuntu computer.

Use "Dark Mode" on your phone

darkmode.jpg

A lot of websites and apps have dark text on a white/light background. Dark Mode switches this so that the white text is on a dark background. It works for some apps, but not all.

Using Dark Mode on Samsung Galaxy

Using Dark Mode on iPhone

The most important tip - be mindful.

I think the most important tip I can give you is this: take the time to be mindful about how your eyes are feeling.

A lot of the time, we choose to ignore our discomfort, focusing on the task at hand. I know I do this often especially when I get obsessed with a particular topic and google it all night.

But take a moment to see how your eyes are feeling. Take a short break.

Also take a moment to really question whether you need to be in front of your computer that late at night. Be more disciplined about when to stop screen time and get some sleep.



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