It’s a sunny Sunday morning. You feel rested and you’d love to go on a daytrip. But you dread the drive! You know that in less than an hour you’ll feel exhausted, with a headache, and tension around the eyes. Like on many occasions in the past the fatigue will remain your companion all day! But what causes tiredness when driving (or just riding in a car)? Why driver fatigue and eye strain from driving? Think about it: unless traffic is nerve-wrecking you just sit and watch!? Curiously for some people driving is resting?!? This post draws from vision science to suggest that your driving fatigue (and glare sensitivity) may be associated with low macular pigment optical density. It then suggests solutions: blue light filtering (and polarized) tinted glasses, an antiglare dashmat, and macular pigment carotenoids rich food or dietary supplements to decrease your glare sensitivity.
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.
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.
What is photophobia is clear, but What can you do about photophobia?
What is photophobia is a relevant question until you are not sure you have it. Once you know you have photophobia, the really important question becomes What can I do to improve the quality of my life? This is because photophobia is likely to be affecting negatively your professional and personal life. I have been reflecting on this question as I was preparing a summary of the state of research on photophobia (see What is photophobia: definition, symptoms, causes, definition part 1 and part 2). Here are my afterthoughts.
What is photophobia
Exactly, what is photophobia? It turns out it is not so clear, even for the scientists. Photophobia symptoms are obvious and form part of the definition of the condition. However, when you need a photophobia treatment, it gets complex. In many cases it is very difficult, when not impossible, to determine what causes photophobia. Here is the abstract of a recent (2012) overview of the most relevant photophobia research titled Shedding Light on Photophobia:
Below I reproduce the table of Conditions associated with photophobia adopted from the article Shedding Light on Photophobia. It was published in the Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology in 2012 and is (to the best of my knowledge) the most recent review of the research related to photophobia. You may read a summary of the article in the post: What is photophobia: definition, symptoms, causes and treatment.
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.