Technology Explained

6 Reasons a New Monitor Will Reduce Your Eye Strain

Dann Albright 25-09-2017

If you spend most of your days — or even a few hours — looking at a screen, you could be seriously fatiguing your eyes 7 Ways to Reduce Eye Strain From Your iPhone If your eyes hurt often, digital eye strain caused by your iPhone might be the problem. Here's how to reduce your eye strain risk. Read More . And that fatigue causes strain, which eventually causes eye pain, blurred vision, and headaches.


If you’re experiencing eye strain, the best solution is to spend less time looking at screens 7 Ways to Reduce Screen Time and Rest Your Eyes Staying healthy includes caring for the eyes. Vision related health problems are a real lifestyle ailment and our digital habits are promoting. The cure lies in thoughtful use of the screen. Read More . But if that’s not an option, a new monitor can help. Here are a few of the ways that a new monitor will relieve your eye strain.

1. DC Dimming

There are two different ways that LEDs are dimmed: via pulse width modulation (PWM) or direct current (DC). In PWM, the LEDs are turned on and off very rapidly, and the more time they spend in the “off” mode, the dimmer they appear. (This principle is used in lots of Arduino projects, like this alarm system How To Make a Simple Arduino Alarm System Detect movement, then scare the heck out of an intruder with a high pitched alarm sounds and flashing lights. Does that sound fun? Of course it does. That's the goal of today's Arduino project, suitable... Read More .)

This has been used in LED monitors for a long time, and it works well. Unfortunately, it can also cause imperceptible (or nearly imperceptible) flickering. And that flickering can cause eye strain. It’s especially noticeable when your monitor is at very low levels of brightness.

DC dimming takes a different approach. Instead of turning the LEDs on and off at full power, it regulates the power going into the diodes. When there’s less power flowing through, the LEDs aren’t as bright. There’s no flickering.

Many modern monitors have DC dimming (you’ll sometimes see it labelled as “PWM-free”). Why haven’t we been using it all along? In short, because it’s expensive. And it also has the potential to burn out LEDs faster. But as technology has improved, it’s gotten easier to find monitors with DC dimming.


2. Automatic Brightness Adjustment

Monitors that are too bright can cause eye strain as well. And while it’s fairly easy to adjust the brightness yourself, lots of new monitors come with automatic brightness adjustment. If you’ve used one of the backlit Kindles Amazon Kindle Oasis Review Would you pay $290 for an eReader? Amazon bets that bookworms neck-deep in Amazon's eBook market will buy the Kindle Oasis. But you might come to find a bone-dry Oasis. Read More , you’ve used this sort of feature before.

These monitors include light sensors and always adjust the brightness to an optimum level. Some even let you customize how they work. It saves you a step and keeps your from forgetting to make the adjustment yourself!

3. Glare Reduction

If your monitor is glossy and tends to reflect a lot of light, your eyes are doing more work than they need to. Glare and reflections make it hard to focus and add to eye strain. Fortunately, it’s easy to find monitors with anti-glare coatings.

6 Reasons a New Monitor Will Reduce Your Eye Strain matte vs glossy
Image Credit: Lucas Mathis via Wikimedia Commons


There are full-matte monitors, but these tend to look a little washed out. Semi-glossy and coated screens reduce glare without making it difficult to see details. These are perfect for offices or desks that get some sunlight or tend to reflect overhead lights.

It’s getting more difficult to find a monitor without glare reduction or anti-reflective coating, but make sure to double-check when you’re shopping around.

4. Curved Screens

Curved screens are more common in modern TVs Is a Smart TV Worth It in 2017? 6 Things to Check Before You Buy These days, almost every TV is "smart" in some capacity, but there are several important features to look out for! Here's why 2017 is the best year yet for purchasing a smart TV. Read More than monitors, but they’re coming around. It can take a while to get used to a curved monitor. It feels really strange at first, and you might feel like it’s making your eyes do more work. But research shows that curved screens actually reduce eye strain.

Samsung LC27F398FWNXZA Samsung C27F398 27 Inch Curved LED Monitor Samsung LC27F398FWNXZA Samsung C27F398 27 Inch Curved LED Monitor Buy Now On Amazon $179.99


As your eyes shift from the center to the peripheries of a flat screen, the distance between your eyes and the screen changes, requiring you to quickly refocus. And if you’re reading or doing anything else that requires your eyes move back and forth between the center and the side of your screen, that can be a lot of refocusing.

A curved screen keeps the focal distance more uniform, obviating the need for countless quick refocuses.

5. Less Blue Light

Some monitor manufacturers are taking steps to reduce eye strain by limiting the amount of blue light emitted by their screens. BenQ, for example, has some cool blue-light filtering tech in their monitors:

ASUS also has a line of eye care monitors that emit less blue light. Of course, there are other good ways to limit blue light.


F.lux is one of our favorite apps Can F.lux and Night Shift Really Improve Your Sleep Habits? Excessive use of computers, tablets, and smartphones can lead to deteriorated sleep quality -- but do apps like F.lux and Night Shift really counteract those effects? The science is pretty clear on this. Read More , and many of our writers use it to keep blue light from disrupting our sleep patterns. Windows 10 also has a built-in feature to do the same thing Dark Mode vs. Night Light: Which Should You Use in Windows 10? Night Light, a new Windows 10 feature, lets you reduce the amount of blue light emitted by your screen. How is it different from Dark Mode and which one should you use? Read More . Mac users can take advantage of a similar feature with Night Shift, while MacOS Mojave offers a dark mode for your apps 15 Mac Apps That Enable Mojave's Dark Theme Everywhere macOS Mojave's new dark theme looks great and is easy on your eyes. Here's how to make every app and website on your Mac dark. Read More which also helps reduce eye-strain . It takes a bit to get used to the very red-looking screen, but it’s been shown to make a difference and we recommend it!

6. Increased Adjustability

Older monitors, especially the really old CRTs, had almost no adjustability. But you can easily adjust the height, viewing angle, and even orientation of modern monitors. Getting a monitor at the right angle is crucial for good ergonomics 3 Easy & Inexpensive Ergonomic Enhancements For Your Home Or Office Most geeks are addicted to their desk. It’s particularly bad for those of us who both work with a computer and play on a computer. Humans weren’t made to sit in chairs for hours at... Read More .

According to ErgoBuyer, the best viewing angle is between 20 and 50 degrees below horizontal. Interestingly, looking straight ahead at your monitor is good for your neck, but places additional strain on your eyes. They point out that this angle below horizontal is similar to the angle used when people read books — so think of it that way when you’re setting up your workstation.

Is It Time to Invest in a New Monitor?

If it’s been a long time since you last upgraded your monitor, it might be time. Especially if you spend hours looking at your screen every day. Many of the features listed above might seem pretty minor. But they make a difference, especially if your old monitor only had one or two of them.

You might not even realize that your eyes were strained until you try a new monitor!

Are you using a Mac? Try these class=”no-callout” :

Image Credit: ridofranz/Depositphotos

Related topics: Computer Monitor, Health, Sleep Health.

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