The best anti-glare screen protector or anti-reflective filter could only be anti-reflective & glare-free computer lighting. In spite of the proliferation of anti-reflective and antiglare products computer glare and reflections continue being a major cause of Computer Vision Syndrome, i.e. eye-strain, tired eyes, irritation, red eyes, burning sensations, dry eyes, blurred and double vision (Computer vision syndrome: A review; Jour. of Clinical Ophthalmology and Research; Bali, J. et al. 2014). Anti-reflective & glare-free computer lighting is tricky, goes beyond buying and installing a computer light, and requires some fine tuning to your eyes. But antiglare computer lighting is possible and it is neither difficult nor expensive once you figure it out. Below the principles of anti-reflective & glare-free computer lighting are explained; some specific solutions and products are suggested.
How to reduce screen brightness is important if you have light sensitive eyes (some level of photophobia), or if you use your computer in dimmer environment. Either way extended computer screen viewing will likely cause eye strain (eye fatigue or computer vision syndrome). This post should help you solve your screen brightness and text-to-background eye strain problem principally by showing you how to change background color and text color in Windows 7 (affects Word, Excel, and other MS Office programs), Adobe Reader, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, … Windows 10 users see this post.
When you have light sensitive eyes glare and brightness are the most important issue to tackle when figuring out how to prevent eye strain from computer work. But you also have to make sure to prevent against other sources of eye strain. Otherwise you run the risk of the negative effects of computer work summing up. To that end, there are several computer programs that can help you prevent eye strain and other computer related Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI). In this post I first answer the questions what is repetitive strain injury and what is computer eye strain. Then I suggest 10 anti repetitive strain injury apps.
Digital eye strain and nearsightedness have long been known as side effects of increasing digital device use. However, recently computer blue light has been investigated. Since blue light can reach deeper into the eye than ultraviolet light, it might damage the retina. But, what will computer blue light do to your retina if you have light sensitive eyes?
How to reduce screen brightness: 3 free filter apps
How to reduce screen brightness below the device’s settings has always been a problem for me, and, I suspect, for anyone who is glare/light sensitive. In this post I propose 3 free filter apps with different characteristics and provide a link to some more screen filter apps, for those who love more options.
How to sleep better at night: Bluelight filter apps
There are good reasons for insisting (here is the first post) on bluelight filter apps (in addition to being one important factor to figuring out How to sleep better at night):
- photophobia researchers have found that blue light induces pain in light-sensitive people (on a personal note: we had red and blue lights on our Christmas tree – the blue ones caused pain in my eyes immediately, I could not stand looking at them, vs. no problem at all with the red ones!)
- the question how to sleep at night in relation to blue light exposure may be even more relevant for people with photophobia – some years ago (before coming across bluelight filter apps) I had serious problems with night sleep – a terrible vicious cycle
- bluelight filter apps may be used to decrease brightness and reduce glare of your computer screen (or other electronic display devices)
- I just run across a new bluelight filter app: PC SunScreen – free only until March 5! So I had to hurry.
Free f.lux software helps reduce glare on computer screen
f.lux software is another, excellent way to reduce glare on computer screen. There are excellent reviews (for example here, here, and here) along with simple instructions of how to use and personalize this user friendly software. If you do computer work at night, or under artificial lights only, f.lux software may help you sleep better and reduce computer eye strain. I have been using f.lux software for about half a year now and I’ve been thrilled to discover that people with light sensitivity (photophobia) can benefit from f.lux software in some unexpected ways.
How to reduce glare on computer screen: Natural light but no direct sun glare
Having reduced direct sun glare from your computer screen (and workstation) you now discover new glare you hadn’t noticed before. Being subtler this glare is more difficult to detect. You might not even notice the glare itself (depending on the level of your light sensitivity) but you do feel its effects after prolonged viewing of your computer screen: eye strain, general fatigue, tension around the eyes, headaches, etc.
Computer eye strain is an increasingly frequent problem because we spend more and more time staring at digital screens. If you feel completely exhausted (computer eye strain) due to an intense workday on a computer, try physical exercise.
There is an updated version of this article here.