My job requires long periods of computer screen use. I have good eyesight (20/15) and don't wear glasses, but I definitely notice my eyes feeling fatigued at the end of the day. Sometimes when I'm short on sleep, I have trouble focusing or see slightly blurred vision.

I want to protect my eyesight as much as possible. What are the best practices for doing so if you spend a lot of time staring at screens?

  • 1
    After 6 years of chronic eye strain and doctors being unable to help, I realized that all the purported methods (special spectacles, eye drops etc.) do not work. What worked is: 1. Getting 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. 2. Closing my eyes after 20 minutes of computer use and waiting until the strain subsided. 3. Getting a well balanced diet of properly cooked food. Especially foods that contain protein (eye muscles need it) and natural foods that help with sleep. Now I'm recovering. By the way, tired eye muscles need rest. Not exercise. Just close your eyes to rest.
    – Nav
    Commented Apr 17, 2021 at 10:18

6 Answers 6


20-20-20 Rule

Every 20 minutes of looking at the screen, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Also, try to blink a lot.

Adjusting settings

Using a larger font to read helps to reduce eye strain. Adjusting your brightness helps, usually brighter screens are better in brighter rooms, dimmer screens are better in dark rooms.

Also, try to make your computer screen lower than your eyes; more of your eye is covered by your eyelid when you look down, so there will be more lubrication and you will subconsciously blink more.


Eat foods with vitamin A, which helps with the health of your eyes. See this question for more.

The 20-20-20 Rule: Preventing Digital Eye Strain
Computer vision syndrome: a review of ocular causes and potential treatments
Assessing Computer Vision Syndrome Risk for Pilots

  • 13
    You need vitamin A for good vision, but I don't think that eating more vitamin A will somehow increase your vision (let alone reduce eye strain from a computer screen). A normal diet should get you enough vitamin A. No need to sit behind the computer screen with a bag of carrots... I'm also not sure about the "brighter screen" remark ... my personal experience is that a lower brightness is better, not higher! This page, for example, also says that... Commented May 4, 2015 at 2:14
  • 6
    @Carpetsmoker Did a bit more research. Found that brighter screens should be used in brighter rooms, and dimmer screens are better in dark rooms. Thanks :)
    – michaelpri
    Commented May 4, 2015 at 2:44
  • 1
    The answer is correct, especially the first part: When your eyes and your brain concentrate on strenuous processes like reading, your blink frequency decreases, comparable to when reading from a book; and this is supposedly the main cause of eye dryness and thus eye fatigue (assuming that there is no problem with your glasses, i.e. uncorrected refraction errors)
    – cirko
    Commented May 18, 2015 at 15:08
  • To remember to use the 20-20-20 rule and get off the screen periodically I strongly suggest Workrave, a multiplatform open source app that assists in the recovery and prevention of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). Frequently alerts you to take micro-pauses, rest breaks.
    – Pablo A
    Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 4:31
  • 1
    Using workrave is a good suggestion. But Vitamin A for eye strain is nonsense. Tired eye muscles (intraocular and extraocular) need rest. Not exercise. Closing the eyes and relaxing the face muscles and neck muscles and getting 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep is what cured my chronic eye strain. Adjusting screen settings helps a little and blue light has been proven to be nothing but hype. Naps, sleep, rest and proper nutrition is what you need.
    – Nav
    Commented Apr 17, 2021 at 10:21

There are some options you have to reduce eye strain.

  • You can get an anti glare cover for your monitor

  • You can also adjust lighting of your work area (not always possible) by lowering internal lighting and blocking external lighting.

  • You can adjust the setting of your monitor to make the brightness
    similar to your surroundings which will help with strain

  • You can blink more often to keep your eyes from drying out You can take breaks both by leaving your computer or by moving your eyes
    around the room/desk and avoiding your computer every once in a

  • You can set up your desk to make sure printed material is in easy eye reach and lighted similarly

  • You can look into getting specialized gaming/computer glasses which
    are designed to reduce eye strain and fatigue


  • You can also adjust lighting of your work area (not always possible) by lowering internal lighting and blocking external lighting. Is this for the purpose of reducing glare? Assuming the ambient light isn't causing glare, what would the otherwise optimal light level be?
    – Alexander
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 21:02
  • @Alexander You would have to get more information from that website I am not sure of all the reasonings for the suggestions they gave
    – Joe W
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 21:03
  • Surprising that when the problem is fatigue, people don't recommend the one thing that cures fatigue: Rest and Sleep.
    – John David
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 7:58
  • @JohnDavid Well, eye fatigue can happen before sleepiness; like fatigue with other muscles when doing short term strenuous activity. Also in our world we don't always have the luxury of taking naps at arbitrary times (we should, but alas). But yeah "rest" is a good shotgun term, certainly cures a lot of ailments, heh.
    – Jason C
    Commented Jan 16, 2022 at 21:19

The primary risk is what is called Computer Vision Syndrome (ref, ref, ref).

The American Optometric Association (referenced above) recommends the following changes in viewing habits to alleviate symptoms:

Some important factors in preventing or reducing the symptoms of CVS have to do with the computer and how it is used. This includes lighting conditions, chair comfort, location of reference materials, position of the monitor, and the use of rest breaks.

  • Location of computer screen - Most people find it more comfortable to view a computer when the eyes are looking downward. Optimally, the computer screen should be 15 to 20 degrees below eye level (about 4 or 5 inches) as measured from the center of the screen and 20 to 28 inches from the eyes.
  • Reference materials - These materials should be located above the keyboard and below the monitor. If this is not possible, a document holder can be used beside the monitor. The goal is to position the documents so you do not need to move your head to look from the document to the screen.
  • Lighting - Position the computer screen to avoid glare, particularly from overhead lighting or windows. Use blinds or drapes on windows and replace the light bulbs in desk lamps with bulbs of lower wattage.
  • Anti-glare screens - If there is no way to minimize glare from light sources, consider using a screen glare filter. These filters decrease the amount of light reflected from the screen.
  • Seating position - Chairs should be comfortably padded and conform to the body. Chair height should be adjusted so your feet rest flat on the floor. If your chair has arms, they should be adjusted to provide arm support while you are typing. Your wrists shouldn't rest on the keyboard when typing.
  • Rest breaks - To prevent eyestrain, try to rest your eyes when using the computer for long periods. Rest your eyes for 15 minutes after two hours of continuous computer use. Also, for every 20 minutes of computer viewing, look into the distance for 20 seconds to allow your eyes a chance to refocus.
  • Blinking - To minimize your chances of developing dry eye when using a computer, make an effort to blink frequently. Blinking keeps the front surface of your eye moist.

Regular eye examinations and proper viewing habits can help to prevent or reduce the development of the symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome.

Also, from WebMD:

  • Tweak your computer settings. You don't have to live with the factory-installed settings on your computer if you're uncomfortable. Adjust the brightness, contrast, and font size until you find the best settings for your vision.

Gunnar glasses: Studies have shown some short term relief but generally no evidence has yet surfaced to support benefits of these glasses for long term health.


You can also use f.lux, it is a software that adjusts automatically and according to your location the brightness and contrast of your monitor. It lowers UV light during day, and lowers IR light during night.


The health of your eyesight when using computer it really depends what kind of screen you're using and many other factors (DNA, diet, etc.), but in general, modern monitors (such as LCD, LED-backlit, white-LED, OLED) does nothing to the health of your eyes, unless you're still using CRT monitor. The bigger issue is rather neck and back if you don't site properly.

Remember, if you feel your eyes are not comfortable, you may adjust the brightness and contrast of your screen.

If you're using computer for too long, it's completely normal that your eyes would be tired and it really depends on the person (professionals can spent 8-12 everyday for years and their eyesight is perfect, for other 1h is enough).

In this case, you simply need a rest. It's usually advice to do short breaks and take a fresh air. You may also consider to train your eye muscles as a number of ophthalmologists believe that an exercise programme based on something called the Bates Method may keep eyes in better shape.

See: Can you really train your eyes to see better? where we can read:

Some of the principles of the Bates Method are already accepted by mainstream eye care.

More information about older monitors:


If you're using CRT most people experience mild discomfort unless the refresh rate is set to 72 Hz or higher. A rate of 100 Hz is comfortable at almost any size. It's usually advice to have a screen protector. However CRT are long lost technologies and this doesn't apply anymore to LCD monitors.

  • 1
    Do Bates Method really work? From reading from wikipedia it seems like an alternative medicine
    – Freedo
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 5:13
  • 1
    For this reason I've linked to Independent article, which explains the Bates Method in hope it's more reliable source which says: Some of the principles of the Bates Method are already accepted by mainstream eye care..
    – kenorb
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 10:05
  • 1
    Hi again Kenorb. First of all, I apologize if it seems unfair that I'm pointing out problems with your answers, but reputation implies privilege, and with it comes responsibility for following site policy. This question only has wikipedia sources. [is wikipedia a reliable source?] (meta.health.stackexchange.com/questions/184/…)
    – Dave Liu
    Commented Feb 12, 2016 at 21:31

The Vision Council, which represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry, suggests the following tips to prevent and lessen digital eye strain:

  • Adjust the brightness of your device. Consider changing your background color from bright white to cool gray. Attach a glare reduction filter to your computer screen.
  • Frequently dust and wipe digital screens to help reduce glare.
  • Adjust your screen so that it is directly in front of your face and slightly below eye level. Do not tilt a computer monitor.
  • Position yourself or your device so there is sufficient distance between your eyes and the screen.
  • Lessen the amount of overhead and surrounding light that is competing with your device’s screen.
  • When using a computer, first sit in your chair and extend your arm. Your palm should rest comfortably on the monitor (as if you’re high-fiving the screen).
  • Keep handheld devices a safe distance from your eyes and just below eye level.
  • Increase text size to better define the content on your screen. Use the settings control to make adjustments that feel comfortable to your eyes.
  • Remind yourself to blink more often. Staring at a digital screen can affect the number of times you blink, causing eyes to dry.
  • Take a 20-20-20 break: Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away.
  • Parents should limit the amount of screen time for children, and reduce their screen time in front of children so as to set healthy standards in the home.
  • Blink. Breathe. Break.

Also check the following image as a guidance:

Computer Eye-gonomics - tips to prevent and lessen digital eye strain

Source: Digiteyezed - The daily impack of digital screens on the eye health of Americans

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