Author Topic: Eyestrain is killing me--need advice on monitors!  (Read 1290 times)

ObviouslyNotAGolfer

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Eyestrain is killing me--need advice on monitors!
« on: April 24, 2020, 11:11:24 PM »
I have two different forms of eystrastain: dryness on the surface that very expen$ive eyedrops only sporadically help. I also have strain on the muscles that focus the lens. I wake up late and go to bed late--have always done this, but more so now that I'm working from home. I have had these problems off and on for years, but they seem to be getting worse now--last night, after not all that much time on the computer, my eyes were fried by about 10 PM--and I like to stay up and work and read and relax until about 3AM! 

This is really eating into my productivity and enjoyment of life. I am a scientist and do a LOT of reading to stay current and write papers. I also like to read on a lot of other subjects as well. 

I went to the optometrist and got the usual advice about taking breaks. I got new glasses and she threw some drops at me. After buying them at the drugstore, I discovered they are about the same price per volume as inkjet printer ink (= RIPOFF)!

None of it is helping much, and I am ready to go to my PCP and ask to talk, and maybe get a referral to a specialist.

Today I took a break and went outside to the backyard to read a book with moderately-sized print, and had no problem at all. The problem seems to be mostly caused by staring into a monitor. 

But anyway, I ask you:

1.) I am looking at buying a new monitor. 27" 16x9 is the right size fore me (I find 30" too large). What should I look at getting? I do not want any blue filtering as I am a photographer and want the most accurate rendition possible of my images. I am not going to spend a ton of money and want to limit the purchase to about 500$ Any advice on what to buy???

2.) Do you have these problems? What is your solution? 










deborah

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Re: Eyestrain is killing me--need advice on monitors!
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2020, 11:56:25 PM »
This is the MMM forum where face punches are approved.

1. You can either have a cheap monitor or one with good colour rendition. The options are up to you. I suggest that you don't get a new monitor, as I think your problems are elsewhere.

2. I am not a medical person. However, I have had some of these problems, and I would have had more of them if I was an idiot. I also had many staff whose workplace setups were checked by occupational therapists...

You have gone to a specialist (your optometrist), and she has given you new glasses, and some eye drops. I suspect the eye drops were something like synthetic tears, which tend to be prescribed for dry eye. You now want to go to your general doctor so you can get a referral to a specialist. What do you think your optometrist is? Your optometrist could refer you to an ophthalmologist and they could work together to work out what's wrong. But first, you should follow all the advice your current specialist gave you. For instance...

Are you using the new glasses?
Have you taken breaks as prescribed?
Have you taken the eye drops as prescribed?
Have you done other things that the optometrist prescribed?

Furthermore, it's probable that you're reaching the age where we all start to lose our ability to focus everywhere, and are beginning to have a smaller depth of field in your vision (this happened when I turned 40, and seems to hit quite a number of people at that time) and worse night sight. It means that you need to adjust where your eyes are with respect to your monitor and make sure you have it right. You are now working from home, so you probably don't have the set up that you had at work, and you probably don't have an appropriate workplace setup. Along with this, you need good lighting, which is probably also lacking in your home set up - especially since you're insisting on using your eyes at night rather than during the day (when they were designed to work better).

I'd check out one of the ergonomic setup sites, and organise my home setup to match - check that your monitor is the right distance from your eyes, and is at the appropriate height (you can always put a stack of books under it to get it to the right height), and periodically, throughout the day, check that you are putting yourself in the correct position. I'd also check that your workstation lighting met the recommendations. There are also plenty of flat magnifiers that you can put over what you're reading to magnify it, but these shouldn't be necessary if your glasses are correct and you're positioning your reading material at the right distance from your eyes.

I'd also go back to the optometrist and get the glasses checked because headaches can be a result of an incorrect script.
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Retire-Canada

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Re: Eyestrain is killing me--need advice on monitors!
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2020, 07:43:22 AM »
2.) Do you have these problems? What is your solution?

I had similar issues. I got Rx glasses specifically for the computer and I wear them when working now. My problem has gone away entirely. I do use those expensive drops when my eyes are irritated [usually pollen and dust when bike riding too much] and they work well for that issue. Since I work on my computers a lot I buy large quality monitors. In the past that was nose bleed expensive. Last time around I was pleasantly surprised how reasonable they were.

Nothing wrong with getting a second opinion from someone qualified to assess your vision issues.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2020, 04:46:49 PM by Retire-Canada »

markbike528CBX

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Re: Eyestrain is killing me--need advice on monitors!
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2020, 01:30:32 PM »
Get a 40" 4K tv with HDMI input $250 and run it at 4K, zooming your browser to fit your needs or just run it at 1080p for a really big view.
Depending on your operating system, you could get some intermediate scaling.

Rosy

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Re: Eyestrain is killing me--need advice on monitors!
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2020, 02:12:08 PM »
I'm in the same boat. What helped me:

1. Computer glasses - just take them off when you work on your photography. I bought mine online for less than twenty bucks. They work!
Made a huge difference for me.
Of course, if I really push it by reading all day and late into the night several days in a row and don't give my eyes a break at all, they do hurt to the point where I also get headaches and they might still hurt the next morning a bit.

2. Helpful advice from my eye doctor that costs nothing and does help:
Use a wet washcloth to cover your eyes and rest them for about fifteen minutes. This is especially good for dry eyes.
It's a simple remedy and often works as well as using eye drops.

I prefer using a hot washcloth most of the time to help with the grittiness but sometimes cold feels better. YMMV
I started using filtered water for this which seems to give me slightly better results, but that's just my personal experience.

When I especially abused my poor eyes I use wet chamomile teabags covered with a moist, warm cloth.
Try it next time you were up until three a.m. and do it for ten minutes before you go to bed so the eye pain doesn't keep you awake.
Yeah, I tend to push things to the limit, but I try not to anymore.

3. "Daylight" lightbulbs anywhere you like to read - also made a big difference. Lowes carries them, they are not hard to find.
Keeps your eyes from getting too tired and less gritty, no burning pains:).
Before I used daylight bulbs my poor eyeballs started protesting around nine in the evening.

4. Another tip from my eye doctor at one of the best eye clinics in the country - choose the preservative-free eye drops they are better for your eyes.
I would think this is an item one could buy much cheaper from an online pharmacy in Canada - I stock up when I travel to Europe.

In general cheaping out on keeping your eyes healthy is not a good idea. So what if I have to spend an extra thirty bucks a month? If I'm that tight in my budget then maybe it is time to seriously revamp my budget or bring in more money.
You can cause damage to your eyes by ignoring severe dry eye issues.
Treat your eyes well, you only get one set, and once damaged you may find it is irreversible.

I get it, I love colors, am into photography like you are, regularly spend too much time online or reading and really hate suddenly facing limits and pain. But, the worst thing you could do is aggravate your condition.

My only action steps are to spend more time outdoors or in the garden, alternate a day of computer overindulgence with no more than one hour max computer time the next day to give my eyes a break.
I no longer read/use the computer all night but try my best to stop reading by one o'clock at night. Taking a break is done easily enough if you have a garden - a five minute round works wonders for me.
I do get immersed in a subject whenever I research or study or even just binge-watch or youtube excessively and hate to stop, but my health is more important - that information/data will still be there five minutes later or the next day.

The biggest mistake I made is not buying a monitor that is good for your eyes, the kind that has a rounded screen, and has the blue light or whatever built-in. Cost only 100 bucks more - very dumb of me, but the computer glasses did the trick - I was surprised at the difference, no more pain (most of the time).

As far as regular eyeglasses - think of them like hiking shoes or mechanic/construction tools or chef's knives, you want the best tool and equipment you can get, your body will thank you for it.

However, I would see an opthamologist for a second opinion about all of your concerns, just in case the optometrist missed something or didn't have the right equipment/knowledge to discover another underlying issue.
If you think there is something off with your glasses, don't just raise the question, but pursue the issue. Happened to me once, I insisted there was a problem and I was right - I've worn glasses most of my life, don't tell me I should get used to wearing something when I know there is a problem.

If your new normal to keep your eyes healthy means that you need to restrict or alter your activities a bit - then JDI.

Good luck:) and please do make an appointment with the best eye doctor you can find.


 

 

Abe

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Re: Eyestrain is killing me--need advice on monitors!
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2020, 07:31:39 PM »
Adjust your font size to at least 14. That has helped me a lot when reading or writing papers. I agree with all of the above recommendations.
You can download programs that adjust the monitor's color output at night to reduce fatigue. Often the computer monitor is too bright by default. This forces the iris to constrict to limit exposure, and will cause additional fatigue. An easy way to see if this is true for you is to adjust the brightness and you should get quick relief. Also, make sure you have enough indirect lighting. If you're reading in the near dark, your eyes will start hurting quickly.

I agree with getting prescription glasses for looking at near objects. When you cover one eye vs. the other do you see a difference?

Ultimately there's only so much focusing that your eyes can tolerate and you need to rest them frequently.

Referral to an ophthalmologist is warranted if these and the other recommendations don't help, but what you describe is routine eyestrain and isn't treated with medications.

GuitarStv

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Re: Eyestrain is killing me--need advice on monitors!
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2020, 08:55:55 PM »
I was getting really bad eyestrain for the first couple weeks working from home.  Fixed the problem by forcing myself to take breaks away from my monitor at least every hour or so, and increasing font sizes.  YMMV.

Vilx-

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Re: Eyestrain is killing me--need advice on monitors!
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2020, 11:52:27 AM »
One thing not mentioned here which is very easy to try - perhaps your monitor is too bright or too dark? A general rule of thumb is that your monitor should be about as bright as a well lit piece of paper standing next to it. So it depends on the surrounding light level. Maybe try playing with your monitor brightness and see if that helps?

Samuel

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Re: Eyestrain is killing me--need advice on monitors!
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2020, 04:42:35 PM »
2. Helpful advice from my eye doctor that costs nothing and does help:
Use a wet washcloth to cover your eyes and rest them for about fifteen minutes. This is especially good for dry eyes.
It's a simple remedy and often works as well as using eye drops.

I prefer using a hot washcloth most of the time to help with the grittiness but sometimes cold feels better. YMMV
I started using filtered water for this which seems to give me slightly better results, but that's just my personal experience.

On the advice of my eye doctor I use this instead of a damp washcloth for hot compresses: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N303YPU/. It holds heat much better and is more convenient. Washcloths cool off too fast to really get the oil glands loosened up. Helps a ton with dry eye, I hardly ever use drops now and I used to have dry eye so bad I had to stop wearing contacts completely.

Lucky Penny Acres

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Re: Eyestrain is killing me--need advice on monitors!
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2020, 08:04:39 PM »
Anecdotally, I had eyestrain that I believe was caused or exacerbated by using standard corporate-issue monitors with poor refresh rates (~60Hz) and slow response times (>10 milliseconds).

I have found it helpful to reduce my eyestrain by using monitors with a high refresh rate (120Hz or even 240Hz is available these days) and a low response time (4 milliseconds or less is the criteria I use).  I don't really use my computer for gaming but these criteria are usually both available at once if you search for "gaming monitors." Many "gaming monitors" are a few hundred dollars. You would have to check reviews from which has the best color.

JLee

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Re: Eyestrain is killing me--need advice on monitors!
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2020, 04:27:11 PM »
Is 30" too large because stuff is too big, or because the physical monitor size is too much?  I have a curved 32" 4k (Samsung UR59C) and it's spectacular.

GuitarStv

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Re: Eyestrain is killing me--need advice on monitors!
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2020, 05:09:37 PM »
Using multiple monitors may also help.  It forces you to move and refocus your eyes regularly.  It also gives you more real estate so you can afford to have things bigger which will be easier to see.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Eyestrain is killing me--need advice on monitors!
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2020, 06:00:25 PM »
Turn down the brightness as much as practicable.

Make sure it's at the right distance from you.

Check where your aircon is coming from in relation to the screen - you may literally be getting your eyes dried out.

Check for screen glare from windows etc. If you can't move the screen, get a glare shield.

When you take breaks, make sure you spend time looking at things in the distance. Go look out the window. This will relax your tiny little focal muscles.

You can get near-point lenses, which adjust your focus so those tiny muscles are not working as hard when you're staring at something close for a long time. You can wear them as glasses over your daily contacts.

Rosy

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Re: Eyestrain is killing me--need advice on monitors!
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2020, 08:37:18 AM »
2. Helpful advice from my eye doctor that costs nothing and does help:
Use a wet washcloth to cover your eyes and rest them for about fifteen minutes. This is especially good for dry eyes.
It's a simple remedy and often works as well as using eye drops.

I prefer using a hot washcloth most of the time to help with the grittiness but sometimes cold feels better. YMMV
I started using filtered water for this which seems to give me slightly better results, but that's just my personal experience.

On the advice of my eye doctor I use this instead of a damp washcloth for hot compresses: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N303YPU/. It holds heat much better and is more convenient. Washcloths cool off too fast to really get the oil glands loosened up. Helps a ton with dry eye, I hardly ever use drops now and I used to have dry eye so bad I had to stop wearing contacts completely.

Thanks @Samuel - you are right about the washcloth cooling off rather fast. Although I'm using a European version which is double thick and smaller.
A better fit over the eyes, they are made with one opening so you can stick your hand in as you wash up.
I'll give this a try, maybe this one too:
Dry Eye Mask Moist Heat Eye Compress(2 Packs), TOPOINT Microwave Heated Eye Mask for Dry Eyes, Flaxseed Cassia Seed Sleeping Mask

Boll weevil

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Re: Eyestrain is killing me--need advice on monitors!
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2020, 09:16:46 AM »
Adjust your font size to at least 14. That has helped me a lot when reading or writing papers.


14 is huge. Why not just zoom in? If you are on windows and have a wheel mouse, you can zoom in and out by pressing Ctrl and turning the wheel. Works in MS Office, Firefox, and Adobe Acrobat Reader and I would guess it works in most other internet browsers and pdf readers too.

Id also recommend looking for a monitor that has a swivel on the back so you can rotate into the portrait orientation. That way you can view the entire page without having big blank areas on the sides.

Ecky

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Re: Eyestrain is killing me--need advice on monitors!
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2020, 02:12:43 PM »
My opinion:

1) Pick a large screen and move it farther away. Either use a lower resolution or increase the scaling of things.

2) It won't be cheap, but you could give an OLED screen a try. They exist as TVs. I'm unaware of any computer monitors that use the technology yet. One of these might help eyestrain. Last I checked, OLED's biggest weakness was the lifespan of the pixels - I believe the blue ones had more limited lifespans than other colors, so over time as the blue pixels dim, it will tend to drift out of color calibration and go reddish. Depending on how many hours per day you use it, this could be significant in just a few years.

3) There exist "e-ink" monitors, much like a Kindle or Nook. For example: https://www.amazon.com/Dasung-Paperlike-13-3-E-Ink-Monitor/dp/B00MWEPM3C

My last experience with these was that they had very slow refresh rates. Don't expect to view anything with any kind of motion on them. However, they're far easier to look at when reading static text.

Goldielocks

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Re: Eyestrain is killing me--need advice on monitors!
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2020, 04:46:45 PM »
In the past, I have had eye strain at two different times that significantly affected work.  Both times I was under 32, so not age related.

Both times it was not related to the monitor, but..

1)  The glasses I had did not have the focal point centered on my eyes -- one side was up, so my eyes were tired very quickly with reading or studying.  (I had accidentally twisted the frames mis-aligning the lenses).

2)  The overhead lights in the room where I was working on intense visual work caused problems-- they were at the edge of my field of view as I stared at the monitor for hours.  This secondary light glare / spots started to cause problems after a couple of weeks.

jonsuse3129

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Re: Eyestrain is killing me--need advice on monitors!
« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2020, 11:15:40 PM »
Get a 40" 4K tv with HDMI input $250 and run it at 4K, zooming your browser to fit your needs or just run it at 1080p for a really big view.
Depending on your operating system, you could get some intermediate scaling.

This is what I have done for my COVID home office set up. It's fantastic. I don't think I can ever go back. And in terms of screen area per dollar, you can't beat it.

JLee

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Re: Eyestrain is killing me--need advice on monitors!
« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2020, 11:22:30 PM »
If you do a TV, make sure it supports 4:4:4 chroma at 4k 60hz - if you end up at 30hz it will feel super laggy and if you're not running 4:4:4 text will look pretty bad.

https://www.rtings.com/tv/reviews/best/by-usage/pc-monitor

MoolahLula

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Re: Eyestrain is killing me--need advice on monitors!
« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2020, 08:45:26 PM »
Ive had autoimmune eye issues on and off since 2015.  I was given a zillion different things to try.  The prescription drop Xiidra is supposed to change the tcell to make eyes more moist over time, I use these twice per day.  They are pricey but with the manufacturer coupon my pharmacist  gets them for me for $10 for 90 days.  I also use Pazeo as an antihistamine drop every 24 hours in allergy season, like now.  I also use an eye wash daily I get from. Amazon as my eyes are very dry and kind of crusted shut in the AM and it definitely reduces inflammation.  Heat and cold as mentioned below are also beneficial at times.  Tea bags are more helpful to me than otc eyedrops.  Ive been told that Rx eye drops are so expensive because there are no generics made.