spython 4 days ago

I feel like one cause of eye strain might be psychological: I find my eyes mostly strained when I'm overly fixating on something, when the project 'must' be completed, when the bug 'must' be found. My eyes in those moments feel like the fingers of an overly anxious climber who uses way too much power in his grip, and as a consequence tires way too fast.

As the strain comes from tension, the way out of the strain is to let go of the tension, and try not to grip with the eyes but to observe calmly, just as you would calmly observe the water flowing in a river.

Observe how tense the muscles around your eyes, around your forehead are. Observe whether your jaw is tense. See if you can allow your facial muscles to relax while working, and if you can allow your gaze to remain soft. Make pauses to relax the grip (the metaphorical grip on the situation you are in, as well as the actual muscle tension) every time you catch yourself tensing up.

powersnail 4 days ago

My ophthalmologist recommends not using eye drops long term (except possibly artificial tears), unless you are treating something.

One of the most effective tactic is to not stare at your monitor all the time. Close your eyes or look outside a window between your pomodoros.

Get your eyes checked and make sure you have the right lenses if you need any.

Definitely sleep more.

Don’t work on a bright monitor (or playing with your phone) in darkness. Always work in a well-lit environment. A quick test is to place a piece of white paper beside your monitor, and your monitor should be as bright as the paper.

Keep your monitor at the right distance, roughly at arm’s length.

  • berelig 4 days ago

    Mine had a similar recommendation about eye drops and additionally strongly advised me to never use drops with vasoconstrictors like Visene.

    • youniverse 4 days ago

      A better solution for redness is asking them to prescribe you some NSAID like Ketorolac (generic) or Prolensa (brand). Tell them your eyes get red/inflamed sometimes and they should give it to you. Very safe drop to even use for a few weeks straight so it's a great to have around for say a party/date/event where your eyes are bloodshot for some reason.

      Of course if you have pain or feel something is wrong do not use this to mask it, go in for a check.

bell-cot 4 days ago

See a real optometrist and/or ophthalmologist.

Good monitors, at the right distance for your eyes (& glasses).

If you're expecting your eyes to perform like they did way back when, when you were ~20, develop realistic expectations.

  • PaulHoule 4 days ago

    For years my optometrist told me I would get presbyopia eventually, around 50 it really happened to me. Now I have a pair of distance glasses and a pair of reading glasses. It can be a hassle to pack an extra pair and change lenses but I have good vision for everything I do.

duffyjp 4 days ago

I had lasik and struggle with this daily. My home setup is very comfortable. I got a 43" 4K 144hz screen and my eyes are a good 4 feet from it. I use a fairly reclined chair and lapdesk.

By not focusing in all day and I can still see well after work. When staring at a laptop all day and my vision will be blurry the rest of the day.

I use Systane Ultra primarily, but Visine Multi-Action is what fixes the red. You don't want to over use Visine though, once a day if possible.

I also don't use dark-mode anything. Your pupils dilate more which makes your depth of focus much narrower so your eyes have to work harder to focus. I keep my monitor in Eco mode so it's not super bright which is also a source of strain.

My monitor also has a built in KVM which is super handy to switch between my work Macbook and personal desktop. I love it.


geenat 4 days ago


* Flicker free monitor (non-PWM backlight).

* Dark Reader browser plugin.

Nice to have:

* Ambient lighting.

* Curved monitors (reduces constant eye re-focusing on large monitors).

* Matte finish on monitors, avoid glass to avoid glare.

Flicker free is the major one. Many LCD that use a PWM backlight are pure torture at lower brightness levels. Ironically very old LCD with an actual lamp backlight are naturally flicker free. Ambient lighting can help mitigate the stress of flicker too.

Samsung didn't get flicker free offerings until 2021-ish. BenQ has had them since about 2014. Most OLED monitors are flicker free.

  • Rayhem 4 days ago

    > Curved monitors (reduces constant eye re-focusing on large monitors).

    Isn't this a bad thing? I've been lead to believe one of the most useful techniques to alleviate eye-strain is frequent re-focusing at a variety of distances.

    • walterbell 3 days ago

      Re-focusing works best with larger deltas in focusing distance, rather than a few millimeters of focus distance change due to monitor curvature.

      Compare flexing your arms to stretch, vs. moving your hand by exactly one inch. The former will contract and relax arm muscles from their stable position. The latter requires muscle tension to carry out a precision movement.

rg111 4 days ago

- monitor set to lowest possible brightness

- blue light filter always on, on all devices with screens

- ambient contrast lighting. either buy a $5 table lamp and direct it to the wall at the back of your screen, or go crazy with expensive RGB. both work

- k-n-m rule. People say 20-20-20. but any number works, really. regularly stare away from the screen at a distance at regular interval

- use glasses with blue light filtering using ARC

- good sleep also matters

I do all these myself, and never get eye-strain, not even after intense sessions of 14 hours.

  • jcul 4 days ago

    Is there a brand / type of glasses you would recommend? Any generic / cheap blue light filtering would do the trick?

    • sredevops 4 days ago

      I got the Gunnars and a Blue Light Screen protector. I figured the most expensive is the best.

walterbell 4 days ago

Eye health for closeup (e.g. computer) work:

  Ambient lighting matched to screen brightness, whether light or dark
  Dark ambience = dilated pupil = 0.5 diopter decrease in lens focus
  Reduce monitor blue light with F.lux, Apple Night Shift, etc
  Best light: unfiltered daylight, e.g. window behind computer screen
  Artificial: high CRI LED, low flicker, low blue (e.g. 2700K Sylvane Truwave) 

  20-20-20: look out window, or 20+ foot distant object for 20s every 20m
  Tear film over eyes helps focus: blink, yawn, hydrate & track humidity
  Increase eye-monitor distance: reduce eye convergence stress
  Closeup/computer glasses: PD & CR-39 focal length for lens-monitor distance

  Daily exposure to natural light, with distance focusing for eye muscles
  20mg lutein daily from food sources or supplement
  For presbyopia, daily convergence exercises
  • delitechlive 3 days ago

    Wow this is very good advice thanks!

contingencies 4 days ago

(0) Drink more water, religiously. (1) Ensure you do not have proxy lights (eg. direct and strong sun ingress, LEDs) in your peripheral vision when working on the computer, reading or watching TV. (2) Try to work from a location where there is a distant view, and regularly look away from the computer for a non-trivial amount of time (like 30-60 seconds), focusing at a distance. (3) Close your eyes and relax occasionally, eg. when thinking or brainstorming. (4) Avoid strong, direct, artificial light. (5) Eat your veg!

NB. 25 years+ heavy screen use, no specific monitor setup, no specific desk setup, still no significant eye strain or vision degradation.

entropicgravity 4 days ago

Get a 70 inch TV and mount it on the wall several feet from your desk. Now you're focusing at close to infinity. Put the computer nearby the TV and use a wireless keyboard and mouse at your desk.

  • bzmrgonz 3 days ago

    does the type of tv matter? resolution/technology?? Or is the benefit more from the size and distance?? Can a smaller oen work? like a 50inch?

    • walterbell 3 days ago

      Benefit is distance focus, avoiding eye strain from convergence (think "cross-eyed") when focusing on closeup objects.

        Distant object
            | |
            | |            Close object
            | |                 /\
      Minimum eye-monitor distance for retina-equivalence based on monitor size & resolution: http://www.tools.rodrigopolo.com/display_calc/
    • entropicgravity 3 days ago

      For this use I think almost any modern screen will do. Color accuracy typically doesn't matter for developing. And anything over 55" these days will have 4k resolution as a minimum.

basetensucks 4 days ago

I use a Mac app called Lunar (https://lunar.fyi) to control the brightness/contrast of my external monitor. The app uses your location to automatically brighten or dim your monitor depending on the time of day. For me, it’s well worth the money. The developer also promptly replied to a question sent via email and solved my problem.

delitechlive 3 days ago

1 - Turn on night lights for screens (redshift on Linux). If possible, turn it on permanently.

2 - Buy glasses with blue light blocking filters.

3 - No screens at least 30 minutes before bed. Longer if possible.

4 - Avoid reading font that are too small. Zoom webpages on computers and boost font size on cellphone/tablets.

5 - Avoid reading in low light conditions. Low light makes the eyes force.

6 - No staring in direct light. Avoid having a direct light source in your eyes. I turn my lamps upwards so they lit up the ceiling and i do not see the light bulb directly.

7 - When my eyes are strained i find ways to make myself cry a little. When i feel a nice tear in both eyes i tilt my head back and close them for a minute. Tears heal eyes naturally. Afterwards my eyes are super red (like someone who cried) but at least they don't hurt anymore. I usually take a nap after that so the red disappears.

I hope this helps and you find ways to feel better.

onemoresoop 4 days ago

What helped me may help you as well (but it also may not if your strain is from different causes):

"Decrease blue light form monitor using tools like f-lux"

"I have had lots of success with starring at magic eye stereograms for a minute or two once in a while. Initially I had to learn how to do it but it did pay off. As soon as the 3d image pops out move the eyes around the image including corners as well (also move eyes in circles or similarly to the infinity symbol across the image) while holding the 3d image in view. It's a bit difficult at first but once you learn it becomes easy. And as the more you do it at the beginning and as you get better at it the less you have to do it later on to de-strain your eyes. There's a version of tetris in magic eye 3d. It's challenging and fun. "

"Get further from the monitor, get a larger monitor and increase font size to make it comfortable to your eyes."

"Take eye breaks, stare in the distance through a window if not possible outdoors."

I'm in my 40s and started to have eye strain in my 20s. These helped methods me not reduce eye problems while working in front of a screen. I still have very sensitive eyes so I wear sunglasses even when it's cloudy but I do not yet wear optical glasses yet and eye strain at work is minimal, I don't even need night mode in my apps. At some point the strain was so strong that I was tempted to get glasses but the optician advised me to wait, I remember her saying that once you go that route there's no going back and am glad I didn't pursue glasses. My prescription was a bit like .5 for one eye and .75 for the other one back in my 20s and last time I checked. I assume it worsened a bit but I'm still getting by without glasses without too many issues. I'm expecting my vision to deteriorate a bit more as I get into my mid 40s early 50s.

CatWChainsaw 4 days ago

I recently had a scare regarding glaucoma, which caused anxiety, which caused me to do web searches on similar lines.

Anxiety over eye strain can cause a positive feedback loop, because anxiety can make you more aware of your eye strain, which can make you more anxious.

To add on to other comments without repeating them, I have a small humidifier now (prevent dry eyes). Some nutrients that are supposed to improve eye health are lutein and zeaxanthin (kale, broccoli, grapes, etc), resveratol (grapes, blueberries, peanuts), and omega-3s (walnuts, flaxseed, fish especially salmon).

I also started eating fresh pineapple because there's some anecdotes that it might help prevent floaters, and I already have a couple at age 30 (probably because of my extreme myopia); I've also heard that fresh pineapple can help with arthritis.

freshairr 4 days ago

I use preservative-free (aka "artificial tears") eyedrops every few hours. They're generally used for lubrication/dry eyes and recommended if you're applying more than 4 times a day. Though not directly related to eye strain, dry eyes can contribute to it.

Additionally, I use a Chrome extension that notifies me every 20min that it's time to take a break. I like that it has minimal features (time adjustment, enable/disable) and is only active when it detects you're actively using the computer. https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/eye-blinker/fbgche...

chewz 4 days ago

I have learned that certain resolutions put too much strain on my eyes. Larger screen estaten with larger resolution isn't worth it in the long run.

It also depends on time of the year - seasonal allergy, dust, ambient light can add additional strain for my eyes.

gravitronic 4 days ago

Have you seen an optometrist?

I delayed getting glasses for a very long time, and the change was shocking from the moment the optometrist dialed in my prescription. Suddenly I knew what it was to see clearly again.

10/10 would recommend

wobbly_bush 4 days ago

Others have covered what you can do with work. On top of that - do take note of amount of screen time you have outside of work. Like scrolling on the phone, TV for entertainment, etc. While this is not for everyone, reducing my non-work screen time has helped me a lot with eye strain (I can't comment about the red eyes part though). Audiobooks let me physically relax after work, along with removing/restricting any scrolling-based apps on the phone.

lcordier 3 days ago

Here are some good info: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCiJrFaF_aA


"the bates method for better eyesight without glasses"

"relearning to see. improve your eyesight naturally!"

"habits for better vision - 20 scientifically proven ways to improve your eyesight naturally"

psychphysic 4 days ago

Need to know what you've tried.

The very basics are to sit as far as you can from the monitor and take eye breaks (periods looking off a decent distance away with soft focus like 20m+ or so).

If the distance you can sit from the screen is limited by visual acuity etc then get glasses and consider blue filter lenses (not so important truth be told as you can always warm the colour of your screen).

Make your eyes life easier use large scale text on the screen.

jjtheblunt 4 days ago

I've always found using varying fonts and font sizes very useful (for 30+ years, starting with X11 on Suns).

i also loathe (or rather my eyesight does) the Apple font rendering with antialiasing, and forced zoom on laptop displays so native resolution isn't offered, but Windows 11 (probably earlier versions too) and Linux (fedora and arch at least, daily driver on Apple hardware) font rendering feels great.

bjourne 4 days ago

LARGE font sizes, high contrast, terminal glasses, and high dpi monitors. High dpi means crisper letter shapes which are way more pleasing to look at.

johnea 4 days ago

After 40 years at the machine, I feel your pain.

Best cure: Go outside!

Seriously, the distant focus and organic visual stimulus is like a screen scrubber for your retina...

deterministic 4 days ago

I use a stop watch and take a break every hour. I do some light exercises, drink water, go for a short walk etc.

I ended up being more productive doing this. Because it gives me time to take a step back and think about what I are working on. I often find solutions to problems while taking a break.

moomoo11 4 days ago

I switched to Solarized Light theme on my machine with night light always on.

When I was using dark mode I felt hella fatigued.

itake 4 days ago

1/ Go on walks for as many meetings as you can. Take notes from your phone. Any meeting I am not leading (1:1s, all hands, staff meetings, etc.), I am walking.

2/ Adjust the light bulbs and their temperature (think warm). Fluorescent lights cause problems for my co-worker.

pcdoodle 4 days ago

Have a window nearby and look at something far away every 5 minutes or so.

petr25102018 4 days ago

Larger font + sleep + sauna

All of them make a huge difference for me. Sauna is not something that prevents it, but cures it. I can go to sauna after a tiring day and return ready to get going again (regarding eyes).

  • euroderf 4 days ago

    So not just large muscles relaxing, also little ones ?

AnimalMuppet 4 days ago

20 seconds of looking at something at least 20 feet away every 20 minutes. (The rule might be every 2 hours - I forget. Doing it every 20 minutes won't hurt, though.)

sambapa 4 days ago

Go for a walk in the forest and just look at trees.

Seriously almost all our modern ills could be solved by this advice: "return to monke"

AmorMuto 4 days ago

have you tried polyvagal release techniques? Basically you use your eye movement to stretch your vagus nerve and reset your nervous system. (look left / right as far as you can without rotating your head - keep looking to one side until you yawn/swallow/sigh, then switch - can take up to two min's per side)

zikduruqe 4 days ago

20/20/20 rule.

Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away, for 20 seconds.

There are many apps out there that can remind you. I use one on MacOS called Pause.

roschdal 4 days ago

To reduce eye strain, simply use computers less.

srcreigh 4 days ago

For me the contrast setting on a monitor is key. Low brightness does almost nothing but lowering contrast helps immediately.

PhiLambda 4 days ago

I find blue blockers helpful. When I wear mine my eyes don’t get strained at all.

quickthrower2 4 days ago

Get you eyes examined, you may need glasses / new prescription

theGnuMe 4 days ago

Take a break every 30mins. Stare out a window. Be sure to blink.

bpanon 4 days ago

More sun in the eyes helps

jasfi 4 days ago

20mg Lutein per day. It's a supplement you can buy at many online stores.

youniverse 4 days ago

I used to work in the ophthalmology field, here are your best and easy solutions:

1. Artificial Tear Eyedrops (look for preservative free). Brands like Systane and Refresh are available at every pharmacy and will do the job. My recommendation for drops would be Optase. They recently released a new drop with ingredients that support restoring the quality and layers of your tears. They are thick and last the longest out of all the brands I've tried. They also come in a bottle while most preservative free drops come in daily use vials.

2. Punctal Plugs. These are absorbable little plugs that are inserted by an Opthalmologist into your lower eyelid where your tears drain out. They will slow down the drainage of your natural tears for 2-3 months until they dissolve and you will need it done again. Just make sure that the Dr is putting in dissolvable ones and also key here is to ask what duration plugs he has available, let him give you options usually it will be either 3 month or 6 month, you want the 6 month just so they last you longer, if you don't specify this they might put in 3 month to get you to come in sooner, usually will happen with private practice.

Optional while at Opthalmologist: Tell them about the red eyes, here in the US they will prescribe you some NSAID, basically an aspirin for the eyes to get rid of redness. It's a very cheap and safe drop to use now and then and great to just have at your house if your eyes flare up before you go to a party or some event. Prolensa is a brand name and Ketorolac is a generic (usually cheaper).

These are your easiest medical solutions. Other people in the thread have given good things to try as well so see what works for you. Take breaks as often as you can get yourself to, and maybe set your fonts a bit larger. Remember to blink! Put in drops every hour or two during a computer session.

If nothing advanced treatments like a drop called Restasis that increases your own tear production after 4-6 months of daily use is available. There's a lot of gimmicky procedures out there to heat up your eyelids and stuff, they are mostly nonsense and have ridiculous cost do not try them. You can buy a heat pad and put it over your eyes if you want to try something like that, Optase also sells one I'll link it all below. Not affiliated just a happy customer.

Regular Optase Drops: https://www.amazon.com/Optase-Dry-Eye-Intense-Drops/dp/B088P...

New drop that has ingredients that support restoring the layers of your tears:




Also if anyone wakes up with red or dry eyes maybe a night ointment will help you (you will be blurry for a bit after putting it in):