14 tips to make your monitor healthier for your eyes

You’re probably wondering β€œIs it possible to improve my eye health if I’m spending a lot of time in front of the PC?”.

Well yes, yes you can.

Let me tell you a story of an 18-year-old kid who had perfect eyesight and was an amazing athlete all his life.

One day he wanted to become the best programmer and started working more than 14 hours every day in front of two old monitors in bad lighting.

Just after six months, he started feeling dryness, light sensitivity, and eye pain. He tried medication which only made things worse and eventually had to get 1.5 diopter glasses.

After this, he started researching why PCs make our eyesight worse and how to deal with the issues. That kid later became the creator and CEO of Iris – software for eye health in front of the computer.

Today Iris, which began as the dream of a boy to improve his health, is used by more than 2 million people in more than 180 countries all over the world.

Some time ago Daniel, the creator of Iris, passed his medical exam and found out his diopter had gone down to 0.25.

That can happen to you too if you follow the following tips to health proof your monitor:

Monitor position

It’s really important to know how to position your monitor according to the light source in your room.

Most often that light source is sunlight coming through a window.

Remember that when using a computer the window should always be on your left or on your right – meaning on your side.

If it’s behind you, you will see reflection and the so called double image which is bad for your eyes because they can’t focus correctly.

If it’s in front of you will be staring directly in the light which can greatly damage your eyes.

Blue light

Blue light is a part of the light spectrum which has the shortest wavelength, but the highest amount of energy.

Because of that a lot of studies suggest that over time, prolonged exposure to blue light can cause long-term damage like cataract, astigmatism and blindness.

All digital devices today emit blue light and the more we stare at them the worse.

However, there are ways to block harmful blue light from your screen and one of those ways is Sleep type in Iris – it blocks all blue light emitted from your monitor and, as the name suggests, helps you sleep better.

PWM Flicker

Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) is a method to reduce the energy usage and brightness of your monitor by turning the screen ON and OFF at high frequency.

It’s the cheapest way to make brightness control for monitors and that’s why 99% of modern monitors use PWM.

The bad thing about this is that our iris’ open and close all the time and this is the main reason why we feel eye pain and headaches.

You can reduce PWM by putting your monitor’s built-in brightness on max setting and then adjusting the brightness from the Iris app.

Subpixel Flicker

LCD displays are made up of small elements called Liquid17 Crystals (LCD – Liquid crystal display).

When we use our monitors the picture emitted constantly changes and when the colors are different the liquid crystal rotates a lot.

This rotation causes the light to turn off and on again in a small fraction of the second when the colors change too much.

And this ON and OFF of the light when the liquid crystals rotate is what we call subpixel flicker.

How to test my LCD monitor for Subpixel Flicker?

The bad thing about subpixel flicker is that you start to feel eye pain and headaches from this constant change of the light emitted from the monitor pixels.

Use Iris Sleep or Biohacker type to reduce subpixel flickering.

Font smoothing

Modern operating systems use a technique called subpixel anti-aliasing to make the fonts on your screen a lot more beautiful and smoother.

Or eyes, however, need sharper edges to be able to focus better and when the fonts are smoother that causes eye strain and blurry vision and can be difficult to read a long text.

Disabling font smoothing and subpixel anti-aliasing will help reduce your eye strain in front of the PC.

You can do this from your operating system settings or by using the Iris Fonts Menu in Advanced view.

Matte monitor

If you have a choice get a matte screen over a glossy one.

You can also get a matte overlay for your screen.

Matte screens have anti-reflection coating and reduce the double image and reflections glossy screen cause.

Prescription glasses

If you’re feeling even the lightest eye pain and strain often don’t hesitate to visit a doctor even for a check-up.

Sometimes even a small diopter like 0.5 can reduce your pain by great lengths and improve your vision in front of the PC.

Anti-reflective coating

If you’re wearing glasses, even if they aren’t prescription, get anti-reflective coating for them or your monitor.

It helps reduce reflections that strain the eyes and makes the image more clear.

Brightness

You should always try to match the brightness of your screen to the light in your surroundings.

The basic rule is to look at your device from afar – if it looks like a light source in the room then it’s too bright.

Also, remember to never make it too dark as that puts a strain on the eyes.

Normal brightness is between 20 and 80% depending on how bright your environment is.

Dark themes

To lower your brightness further and avoid eye strain you should use dark themes in the websites and apps you visit often.

A lot of popular sites like Youtube, 9GAG and Reddit have a dark theme, there are also dark themes for apps like Messenger.

Dark themes, especially at night help match brightness.

Blinking

When staring at a screen for a long time it’s been proven we start blinking less often.

You should try to keep the blinking rate constant or take breaks in which to blink avidly.

Blinking helps keep your eyes moist and keeps dust and dirt away.

Yawning

Yawning just like blinking is a way to moisten your eyes and take a tiny break from fixating on the screen all day.

You should avoid using fake tears and other such substances for keeping eyes watery.

Breaks

It’s very important to take breaks.

Not only for your eyes but for your back, neck and also mental health.

We here at Iris follow the 20-20-20 rule – every 20 minutes for 20 seconds look at an object 20 feet away (approx. 7 meters).

Also try to stand up from your desk from time to time and stretch.

This will relax your eyes and make you feel way better.

Eye position

Apart from placing your desk and monitor in a certain way in your room you should make sure your monitor is positioned at the right place on your desk itself.

It should be lower than your eyes because your eyes are more relaxed when looking downwards.

Basically, the upper corner of your screen should be on the level of your eyes.

Your screen should also be an outstretched arm away from where you’re sitting.

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