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Author Topic: Help! My monitor gives me eyestrain and headaches!  (Read 1242 times)
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« on: September 19, 2005, 09:26:19 PM »

I've been spoiled by my LCD at home.  I can play games, type, surf for hours if I need to and I never have any problems with eyestrain.  I keep my home computer area pretty dark - usually just a lamp in the corner.

At work I get headaches all the time.  I think it must be eyestrain.  I have a 17" CRT and annoying flourescent lights overhead.  I mostly turn off the lights as I know they give me headaches.  I open the shades and usually get a pretty good amount of sunlight in.  But I still get headaches/eyestrain from my work computer.

Any suggestions?  Ways to tweak my monitor?  Should I complain to OSHA and maybe get an LCD out of this deal?
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« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2005, 09:50:29 PM »

I've gotten where my eyes give out on me at night long before I'm sleepy. The monitor doesn't matter.I asked my eye doctor about it and she said to give my eys a break every once in awhile. That's works to a limited degree but I need like hours away from the computer,not just look away for a few moments like she suggested.
The only thing I can think of for you is to get your eyes tested.Maybe you need glasses or a new prescription if you already wear them.


And eyedrops of some sort my help.
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« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2005, 10:11:15 PM »

Warning-
I get this sometimes too. Make sure you blink a lot. Close your eyes for a few minutes every hour. Make sure to stare at something in the distance for a few minutes every once in a while.

Also, the smaller the font/text, the harder to read, the more eyestrain obviously-try increasing the font size or desktop resolution. Another great thing that people forget about is the refresh rate. Set it as high as your monitor will support-it really helps the eyes.
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« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2005, 10:41:29 PM »

Quote
Another great thing that people forget about is the refresh rate. Set it as high as your monitor will support-it really helps the eyes.

Okay, I fianlly have to admit it - I've never really known what this means - or at least, it seems fairly obvious, but how would it affect your eyes to have a low refresh rate?   :?  I also don't really understand dark matter...
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« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2005, 12:00:23 AM »

I had this problem REALLY bad from my last steady computer job.  Since we were the tech guys, we were just content with using hand-me-down equipment.

1.  Make sure you have a current prescription for glasses (if you wear them).

2.  There is now a special thing they can do to the glasses for people who spend lots of time in front of a computer monitor.  Since the monitor is displaying an image -behind- a thin layer of glass, your eyes start learning to focus just slightly beyond what they are looking at; this causes strain, and makes your eyesight for looking at non-monitor things (like everything else!) worse.  Whatever they do to the glasses will adjust for that.

3.  Set the monitor's refresh rate as high as it will go.  Another thing you should do is look away from the monitor every so often, focusing on something else in the room to give your eyes a chance to adjust to 'normal' for a brief time.

4.  Best solution of all- get an LCD monitor.  It doesnt 'refresh', it's a static image with no depth change needed to view it.  This was what I eventaully needed to get at the job, since I was getting headaches after being at work for only two hours or so of looking at a monitor.
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« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2005, 12:20:57 AM »

Quote from: "mytocles"
Quote
Another great thing that people forget about is the refresh rate. Set it as high as your monitor will support-it really helps the eyes.

Okay, I fianlly have to admit it - I've never really known what this means - or at least, it seems fairly obvious, but how would it affect your eyes to have a low refresh rate?   :?  I also don't really understand dark matter...

Dark matter will require someone else to explain, but I can help with the refresh rate question.

The refresh rate of a monitor equals how many times the screen re-draws itself each second.  For some people, the default 60Hz works just fine.  I find that at 60Hz the screen appears to flicker, giving me headaches.  My home machine is set for 100Hz and I don't have a problem.
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« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2005, 12:31:00 AM »

Quote from: "mytocles"
Quote
Another great thing that people forget about is the refresh rate. Set it as high as your monitor will support-it really helps the eyes.

Okay, I fianlly have to admit it - I've never really known what this means - or at least, it seems fairly obvious, but how would it affect your eyes to have a low refresh rate?   :?  I also don't really understand dark matter...

I'll try and explain.

Refresh rate is measured in Hertz [Hz], or updates per second.  In the context of CRT monitors, a refresh rate of 60Hz would mean the cathode ray tube projects the visual data from the video card sixty times every second onto the viewing screen.

Most individuals' natural vision is "better" than 60Hz, however.  ie, their brain interprets the visual signals from the optical nerves faster than sixty times a second.  So what this means is, an image on a CRT monitor running at 60Hz will seem 'shaky' or 'wavy' or just 'blurry.'  And it'll easily lead to eye strain, as your eyes are forced into overdrive since you're actually noticing the ever-so-quick redrawing taking place on the image in front of you.

Higher refresh rates on CRTs mean the given image is updated more frequently over the course of a second.  Eventually the refresh rate overcomes the refresh rate of your brain, the result being the illusion of looking at one solid image, despite the fact it's actually just over 60 rapid-fire images per second.

An analogy is the difference between a flipbook and a movie theatre.  Both are the same core concept -- the rapid presentation of slightly changing images produces the illusion of one dynamic image.  However, the movie theatre is much better at producing this illusion because it uses many more images over a given timeframe than any flipbook could ever hope to use.

LCD monitors do not have the refresh issue because, as stated above, they actually are solid images.  There's no projection taking place -- the liquid crystal pixel cells are induced to take on certain colors, which produces the image on your screen.  It's like a rapidly-changing mosaic as opposed to a flipbook.  You can prove this to yourself by pressing (gently) on the LCD screen -- the image under your pressure point will become slighly distorted.  This can't happen on a CRT, because the image is virtual, as opposed to real.

Oh, and you wanted to know about dark matter.

To understand dark matter, you first have to understand why it has to exist, based on our current understanding of the universe.  Massive bodies in our universe -- like, say, a cluster of galaxies -- obviously exert massive amounts of gravitational force.  Astrophysicists long ago discovered ways of measuring this force, based on the luminosity (brightness) of the given object and spectrum analysis that determine how far away the object is from us here on earth, etc.

However, there's a massively horrific problem.  Say an astrophysicist uses the formulas and data to measure the gravitational pull of, say, one galaxy.  He gets his value -- let's be easy and say this value is 4.

Then, to check his work, the astrophysicist compares his finding of 4 to the actual amount of gravitational pull the galaxy is emitting, based on how other objects react to the galaxy itself.  The result?  100.

This is such a catastrophic error that only one of three things is possible:

1.)  The formulas and or data were wrong.  Extensive testing evetually ruled this option out.
2.)  There is a fundamental aspect or form to the universe which we don't yet understand.  Entirely possible but incredibly unpopular, since a paradigm shift of this level is either so massive that it's ages away or so critical that it renders hundreds of years of research invalid.
3.)  There's something else out there.  Something that's making gravitational force ludicrously more powerful than it 'should' be.  That is 'dark matter.'

Why 'dark' matter?  Because, quite simply put, it's not 'bright.'  It's not luminous.  We can't percieve it with our current instrumentation.  All our calculations have only involved luminous matter, stuff that can emit or reflect photons.

In short, if you took all the gravitational force in the universe, and set it at 100%, for the time being, we can only see the matter responsible for 4% of it.  The other whopping 96% is being caused by something we can't yet detect.
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« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2005, 12:48:30 AM »

[geek]
To be more technically specific, your screen (be it TV or a monitor) is getting redrawn one pixel at a time.  It starts in one corner (I believe at the top left), and runs left to right, then row by row toward the opposite corner.

The faster it can do this, the better, and the speed is measured in Hertz.  TVs tend to be faster because the resolution is much lower than a monitor (it has larger 'pixels', they are rectangles instead of sqares, and there is a color blur effect going on with the surrounding pixels which softens the image).  HDTV functions more like a monitor, but is still lower resolution than a good monitor.
[/geek]
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« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2005, 12:55:20 AM »

Quote from: "unbreakable"
[geek]
To be more technically specific, your screen (be it TV or a monitor) is getting redrawn one pixel at a time.  It starts in one corner (I believe at the top left), and runs left to right, then row by row toward the opposite corner.

The faster it can do this, the better, and the speed is measured in Hertz.  TVs tend to be faster because the resolution is much lower than a monitor (it has larger 'pixels', they are rectangles instead of sqares, and there is a color blur effect going on with the surrounding pixels which softens the image).  HDTV functions more like a monitor, but is still lower resolution than a good monitor.
[/geek]
Right... but x[Hz] is still x total, full-image redraws a second, right?
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« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2005, 02:48:52 AM »

Wow thanks for all the replies.

LCD at work would solve the problem for me but sadly is not an option.

I have my desktop set at 1024x768 and the refresh is 85hz.  That's all the monitor supports.  When I got the computer it was set by default at 60hz and that made my eyes melt inside my head.  85hz is usually ok.

I do wear glasses/contacts.  I probably need to get my prescription checked and I will let the eye doc know about the eyestrain problem.  Maybe I need the new thing they can do.  I''m not sure why it's a problem more now than it was several months ago.  Unless it's just me getting old.

I should probably look away and blink occasionally.  I'll work on doing that more.

Dark matter rules.  I love unsolved mysteries.  Not the show.  I used to like that but I grew weary of Robert Stack.  He was pretty good on that old show he used to be on.  Wasn't it The Untouchables or something?  Not the one directed by Brian DePalma but the old TV show.  Speaking of Brian DePalma I really Liked Dressed to Kill but not that one with John Lithgow in it.  I never liked him and could not understand why they gave him his own sitcom.

There!  Dark matter to John Lithgow in under 2 minutes.  Welcome to my brain!
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« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2005, 03:02:06 AM »

Quote from: "warning"
Wow thanks for all the replies.

LCD at work would solve the problem for me but sadly is not an option.

I have my desktop set at 1024x768 and the refresh is 85hz.  That's all the monitor supports.  When I got the computer it was set by default at 60hz and that made my eyes melt inside my head.  85hz is usually ok.

I do wear glasses/contacts.  I probably need to get my prescription checked and I will let the eye doc know about the eyestrain problem.  Maybe I need the new thing they can do.  I''m not sure why it's a problem more now than it was several months ago.  Unless it's just me getting old.

I should probably look away and blink occasionally.  I'll work on doing that more.

Dark matter rules.  I love unsolved mysteries.  Not the show.  I used to like that but I grew weary of Robert Stack.  He was pretty good on that old show he used to be on.  Wasn't it The Untouchables or something?  Not the one directed by Brian DePalma but the old TV show.  Speaking of Brian DePalma I really Liked Dressed to Kill but not that one with John Lithgow in it.  I never liked him and could not understand why they gave him his own sitcom.

There!  Dark matter to John Lithgow in under 2 minutes.  Welcome to my brain!


Jon Lithgow freaking rocks man. You are absolutely bonkers. Third Rock From The Sun was hilarious. Seriously, he really is cool, and is a tremendous stage actor to boot.
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« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2005, 03:06:31 AM »

Quote from: "-Lord Ebonstone-"
Right... but x[Hz] is still x total, full-image redraws a second, right?


In a manner of speaking.  I dont know how many redraws equate to how many hertz; hertz is (I believe but could be wrong) a way of measuring any sort of 'wave' effect; the 'tighter' the wave, the higher the hertz.  That's why you raise the hertz on something like a microprocessor or fsb or whatever- you don't want to make the wire bigger, but if you tighten the 'wave', you fit more signal in the same amount of area.

It's been a long time (over ten years) since I went over the math for all this stuff, so I'm mainly speaking from hazy memory.
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« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2005, 03:21:49 AM »

Um... wow?  :shock:

Those are the best explanations of both refresh rate and dark matter I've ever heard - in my significantly long life!

What a great place!  You folks are all so very, very   Cool Cool  Cool  !
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« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2005, 03:45:58 AM »

Quote from: "unbreakable"
Quote from: "-Lord Ebonstone-"
Right... but x[Hz] is still x total, full-image redraws a second, right?


In a manner of speaking.  I dont know how many redraws equate to how many hertz; hertz is (I believe but could be wrong) a way of measuring any sort of 'wave' effect; the 'tighter' the wave, the higher the hertz.  That's why you raise the hertz on something like a microprocessor or fsb or whatever- you don't want to make the wire bigger, but if you tighten the 'wave', you fit more signal in the same amount of area.

It's been a long time (over ten years) since I went over the math for all this stuff, so I'm mainly speaking from hazy memory.

'hertz' is a generic unit of frequency equal to one cycle per second and is not specific to the description of waves.  it's simply a term used to the describe the number of times anything occurs in one second.  when talking about waves (light, sound, etc), it describes the number of wave oscillations in one second of time.  in the case of your CRT monitor, it refers to the drawing of images on your screen...60hz means the image is undergoing sixty complete drawing cycles every second.  in the case of microprocessor function, it refers to the number of clock cycles your CPU performs every second (which is related to the number of operations/instructions it can do in the same amount of time).  the fact that something is described in hertz does not in any way imply that it is related to a wave, only that some action is occuring a given number of times per second.
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« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2005, 03:53:24 AM »

Ah ok, thanks for the clarification.  I always got caught up on it being a wave because of how the cycles were presented on a graph.  I sucked at math once things stopped being linear, mainly just because I never took the time to sit down and figure it out.  Lazy student habits: that's what sucked about being a smart kid going to bad schools.  College sure took that problem away REAL quick- it's hard to 'coast' in college if you actually want to challenge yourself.

BTW, anyone know a good website where you can refresh old math skills, or get help if you are taking math classes?
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« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2005, 06:13:58 AM »

uhm, yeah.

Robert Stack is the voice of Ultra Magnus, and died in 2003.

Hetz is getting a free Xbox360; not to be confused with hertz, which doesn't feel too good (being Thor hertz, and may be the cause of the pane).

LCDs use electrical charges to alter the opacity of the liquid, allowing color spectrums to pass through and thus coloring the light. There is no flicker to it. CRTs bounce electrons inside the tube onto the surface of your screen. I dunno about you, but that hertz my eyes.
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« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2005, 07:01:25 AM »

Quote from: "Purge"
uhm, yeah.

Robert Stack is the voice of Ultra Magnus, and died in 2003.

Hetz is getting a free Xbox360; not to be confused with hertz, which doesn't feel too good (being Thor hertz, and may be the cause of the pane).

LCDs use electrical charges to alter the opacity of the liquid, allowing color spectrums to pass through and thus coloring the light. There is no flicker to it. CRTs bounce electrons inside the tube onto the surface of your screen. I dunno about you, but that hertz my eyes.


So many bad puns....  :wink:
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« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2005, 12:39:11 PM »

I was tired. So you've given up the Rage eh? I guess the Machine won, then.
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« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2005, 06:04:59 PM »

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Dark matter rules.  I love unsolved mysteries.  Not the show.  I used to like that but I grew weary of Robert Stack.
My grandma went to school and was friends with Robert Stack.
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« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2005, 09:27:42 PM »

I have a user who uses blue tinted glasses to ease the headaches and eyestrain.
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