Reducing Computer Fatigue

Many people experience eye strain when using computers. I encountered this problem in the mid 1980s with my first home computer.

Human eyes do not cope well with computer screens (or televisions either). Human eyes respond best to reflected light rather than emitted light.

Using computers tends to cause related muscle strain. Repetitive stress injury and sore necks are common among computer users.

After several decades of using computers I have found the following ergonomic strategies work for me.

  • Place the computer desktop monitor at least two to three feet away. Larger monitors require more distance.
  • Position the monitor so the eyes are looking slightly downward.
  • Install Redshift to help with so-called blue light during night hours.
  • Don’t use bright white or pitch black for backgrounds.
  • Use large fonts as much as possible.
  • Take eye breaks. This seems insanely simple but actually works.
  • Reduce or minimize overall computer time. This too seems insanely simple but actually works. Really, at the end of the day just say, “Enough is enough."
  • Accept aging. Wear eye glasses when needed or at least use reading glasses. Don’t fight aging.

I have a Lenovo T400 laptop with a 14 inch screen. When I use the device and small screen my eyes grow tired much faster than when using the office desktop. My eyes are grateful when I don’t use the laptop and use my desktop.

My eyes do not well tolerate dark themes. Dark themes agitate my eyes and as a result irritate me. Other people respond oppositely. When I am web browsing and I encounter such web sites I immediately toggle off the site CSS or use Reader mode.

I use a zoom add-on with the web browser and set the minimum font size to 125%. I have no idea why, but too many web developers seem to design web pages with the presumption that everybody has a 60 inch computer monitor.

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: General

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