The human eye is an amazing machine. Through tiny cells called cones, our eyes are able to see about 10 million different colors. But not all colors are created equal, and some are just too difficult to look at as they can cause headaches, high blood pressure, and eye strain. With the increase in time spent in front of our digital devices – six to nine hours per day on average – the colors and even the fonts we stare at on our digital screens can become sights for sore eyes.
Bright colors in particular can be harsh on our eyes – but they also draw our attention. Think about the color yellow. In lighter shades, yellow is comforting and cheerful. But when the brightness is cranked up, yellow can be a stimulant on the eyes. Studies show that babies cry more often in yellow rooms and couples tend to fight more in rooms with yellow paint. However, given its ranking as the most visible of all the colors, yellow is a great color to use when you need to grab attention. This explains the use of bright yellow on warning signs.
Different fonts can play tricks on our eyes too. Even though Times New Roman is a common default font in many computer programs, this font can actually hurt your eyes. The tiny tails on the end of each letter, called serifs, will force you to stare longer in order to recognize a word. This can lead to eye fatigue. Luckily there are fonts, such as Arial and Verdana, without serifs (sans-serifs), that have more space between each letter and are easier to read from farther away.
It’s recommended that we stretch before a work-out to ensure we don’t strain our muscles, but have you stopped to think about the strain you put on your eye muscles everyday as you stare at your computer, television, phone, and other devices? You’ve most likely felt the effects of digital eye strain and computer vision syndrome – headaches, dryeyes, blurred vision, or even a sore neck – but what can you do to stop this pain? An easy way to combat eye strain is to simply adjust a few settings on your computer: