Can a monitor really cause eyestrain?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by akm3, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. akm3 macrumors 68020

    Nov 15, 2007
    I just bought a Samsung SyncMaster 2443bwx (24" 1920x1200) monitor. It is cheap and probably uses the worst panels.

    Anyway, I am getting TERRIBLE eyestrain and headache looking at this thing. It is being run over DVI, and my eyes just can't focus on it, it looks a little blurry, etc. I've tried all the settings.

    It's giving me bad headaches.

    Can cheaper monitor types just be 'bad'? I've always had pretty high quality monitors in the past and this is the first time I've had to live with a lower quality monitor...but I didn't expect it to be intolerable.

    Any advice? Am I dreaming it? Am I just sitting too close? (Causing eye strain from having to 'look around' over a much larger area than the 1440x900 15.4" display I'm used to)
  2. CubeHacker macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2003
    I've found that a lot of LCD users have the brightness set to max, which IMO is too bright and causes a lot of eye strain because its like looking into a light bulb. Try turning that down to see if it helps.
  3. akm3 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Nov 15, 2007
    Thanks for that suggestion, I did implement that and have lowered all my monitors brightness (there are two in my setup, with a laptop off to the right). Yes, they were all way too bright by default and I've lowered them both a lot.

    I also moved it back another 10" or so, which seems to be helping, and shut off the flourescent light above my head darkening my cube (and then darkening the monitor even more). My eye strain is reduced, but that is after a ~30 minute break so I haven't had long enough to rack up more eyestrain
  4. barkmonster macrumors 68020


    Dec 3, 2001
    I have a Samsung 913N and found the display to be far too bright at first.

    I don't know if these settings will help because it's a VGA, not DVI connection but once the signal has got to the screen, I don't suppose things will be much different.

    Sharpness 56
    Brightness 55
    Contrast 70

    The "Coarse" and "Fine" settings are key to getting it perfectly sharp but that's definitely going to be panel specific and personal preference

    I also sit about 70cm away from the screen at the nearest. It is only 86 DPI compared with 92 DPI on your display so it should probably be just as comfortable once you've lowered the brightness.

    It might help.

    I find the way of seeing if your monitor is too bright is if the gradients in iTunes are washed out and you can't make out the alternate faint blue lines when viewing play lists
  5. milk242 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 28, 2007
    I think it just takes some time to get adjusted to the new monitor.

    I don't know about you, but I moved up to a 24" dell 2408wfp from a dell 19" and it caused a lot of eye strain and headaches. I turned down the brightness and calibrated the monitor but still had some headaches. After about a week of use headaches are gone and eye strain is no problem. I also sit further back from my desk now compared to when I had the 19"
  6. trip1ex macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2008
    Yeah staring at a back-lit display causes eye strain and fatigue.

    Everyone is different though. But I know I get quite tired of reading on monitors for long periods of time especially the older I get. I'd rather read text on a newspaper or on those E-Ink screens.
  7. michael.lauden macrumors 68020


    Dec 25, 2008
    it really depends on how strong your eyes are. if you have been on computers all the time your eyes usually gain strength.

    but when i worked a deskjob filling in as a male secretary to help out a friend - my eyes were KILLING ME. plus it was so boring to sit around all day.

    monitors can DEFINITELY cause eyestrain
  8. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    CRTs are fine for me, and apparently the new LED backlit LCDs are fine for me. Normal CCFL LCDs cause me intense eyestrain to the point where I cannot use them. I have no idea why but I tried it twice, and both times I was careful to adjust the backlight levels and control my ambient lighting properly.
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    As mentioned, back lighting, and even the ambient lighting can have a negative effect.

    But distance, can as well. Try sitting further back. I had the same problem when moving from a 19" to a 24".

    One item that might be a good thing to have around, would be a colorimeter to calibrate the monitor. Whether a cheap model, to the most expensive, they can really help. :)

    As we only have one pair of eyes, and they have to last a lifetime, well worth the $200USD or so. ;)
  10. akm3 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Nov 15, 2007
    I don't think it's the monitor anymore - I think I am having migraines.


    Looking at the monitor certainly makes it worse!!!
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    You may only need to get your eyes checked, as they can cause quite a headache. A simple set of prescription glasses may be all you need. :eek: :p

    I had similar problems before, and had to go this route. It helped immensely. ;) Not until I got a 24" did I have problems again, and that was because I was too close. (Used a smaller monitor previously, and didn't make any distance adjustments. Rather foolish on my part).

    It's an idea anyway. ;)
  12. illegalprelude macrumors 68000


    Mar 10, 2005
    Los Angeles, California
    Yea, Sawyer first though he had crabs till Jack Told him it was just his eyes getting worse :D
  13. rjude02 macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2009
    The mind receives messages from sensory cells. The mind can focus on sensory signals from the eye. Eyes that have become strained do not always deliver a clear signal. Inattention to eyestrain symptoms deprives the brain of meaningful signals.
  14. koruki macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2009
    New Zealand
    I got the most eyestrain from my Samsung 24", I sold it for a Dell two weeks later (not cause of eyestrain reason). The Dell had better contrast so I didnt have to pump the brightness up as much to get good whites. The most comfortable screen I work with is still my Macbook Pro 15" Santa Rosa
  15. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    From experience, looking at the screen from the wrong angle will cause some strains ... causing neck and head pains that can be taken for severe eye strain.


    If your prescription doesn't have a sweet spot for focus at the distance you are looking this will indeed cause eyestrain ... this is due to you eyes trying to focus at the wrong distance for your prescription, mostly a problem for people when they have distance focus problems and need bi-/tri- focals.

    If you are sensitive to prescription issues, something slightly off in the wrong eye will cause eye strain.

    If you you are prone to the above problems a cheaper monitor will bring the problems out much quicker.
  16. PrincessPeach macrumors regular

    Mar 9, 2009
    I use a Samsung Syncmaster T220 at work and it's horrible for this. I have the brightness settings at the absolute minimum 0 (sounds crazy!) and it mitigates the problem a lot. If I have the brightness any higher I end up getting chronic headaches. If someone else uses my desk and changes it I often don't notice for a while and then wonder why I'm in pain. Photosensitivity has always been a minor nuisance for me but I was still amazed a monitor could be such a powerful trigger.

    At home I use Apple and Dell monitors (both actually made by LG I think in my cases). I also turn the brightness down on these but the Samsung was by far the worst. I never get eye troubles at home, thankfully.

Share This Page