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Writing on a PC - Combating Eyestrain?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Rinzei, Jul 27, 2013.

  1. Rinzei

    Rinzei Troubadour

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    I wasn't sure if this qualified for the Writing Questions forums or not - so I figured Chit Chat was a safer option.

    I'm finding more recently that I'm suffering eye-strain when trying to type on my PC and it's connected to the font style I'm using and the colouring on the screen (white paper, black font, ah!). I was wondering if anyone who dealt with eye-strain had any tips on how to combat it, such as if there are any fonts that are a bit easier on the eyes or any colour combinations that aren't so abrasive?

    Does anyone else have experiences with eye strain for other reasons and have tips to share in those cases?
     
  2. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    I'm also writing on a computer and at the moment I don't have issues with eye strain. Thinking about it I'm pretty sure it's because of the visual setup though.
    I'm using a large sans-serif font and I've got my document zoom set so that a line on the page covers the entire length of the screen. The screen is a fairly small one (13" I believe) so if you have a bigger one that may not be needed. I believe the key point is to use a large font with no serifs. The serifs are the little feet on letters in for example Times New Roman. They're a great way to improve readability when reading on paper, but with the lower resolution of a monitor they can get blurry and annoying.

    The following article gives more detailed explanations and suggestions for choosing on-screen font: Typofile Magazine - The best faces for the Screen
    It's fairly detailed and can easily be summed up as "use a larger font with no serifs".
     
  3. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    I use a program called F.lux that varies the colour and brightness of my laptop screen in line with daylight. So in the evening and morning when it's dark the screen is yellow-er, warmer, and dimmer [3500k] and during the day it is bluer, cooler, and brighter [6500k]. You don't really notice the difference until you turn it off [don't try image editing at night with F.lux running!:D]
    If you use screens a lot you may want to get your eyes tested to see that all is okay there. Even a slight difference [between eyes] can be a strain after 1-2-3+ hours.
     
    Svrtnsse likes this.
  4. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    I'm trying this out now too. Let's see how it goes. I like having just candles lit at night so I'll try out the Candle option for that. :)
     
  5. Rinzei

    Rinzei Troubadour

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    f.lux looks interesting to me, but giving it a try, it doesn't work well for me. It might do well for eye-strain, but I do a lot of graphic stuff on my PC (games, artwork, etc.) so it throws me off.

    I do have strong prescription glasses at the moment. I've just tried upping my font size to 14, changing the paper background to a light brown (parchment, anyone?) and tried a few different fonts. I'm liking Quattrocento Sans at the minute, but I can see it might not work well for others as it's on the more condensed side.
     
  6. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    I always have my font set to at least 13pt, and sometimes I'll set the background to black with red lettering at night.
     
  7. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

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    Rinzei, you might also want to look at your desk lighting. I also have a very strong prescription, and I find that when I use direct lighting on my desk that my eyes strain very quickly. Several years ago I switched to indirect lighting, first by changing from a desk lamp to a swivel neck art land and facing it away from my desk, and then going all out and lighting my office area with a paper lantern directly behind me. I also have a 20' monitor with my word processing program set to full screen and my font never smaller than 12pt. No more eyestrain!
     
  8. Rinzei

    Rinzei Troubadour

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    I'll have to take a look at that, Lowan (AE? Which do you prefer?). During the original post, I was using natural lighting from the window next to the desk - however, we're moving in a month so the whole desk area is going to change and may require some new lighting put into play.
     
  9. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

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    You might want to go for an eye test. I started to get eye strain when wearing my old glasses, even when I increased the font size. Then I had a scheduled eye test and they gave me a new prescription. My new glasses made things a lot better. Don't skimp on lenses and get cheap ones though, because they won't be as accurate to your needs as expensive lenses.

    You might also want to look into what kind of monitor you use. I can't use my mum's computer because the old CRT monitor really does a number on my eyes, but my flatscreen is fine; at work, I use dual screen laptop and separate flatscreen monitor, and it's easier to look at the separate monitor than the laptop monitor.

    If you don't have the cash to spend on this stuff, all I can suggest is bigger font, try trading your monitor for a friend's, or type in 80% grey instead of black, which is softer on the eyes. Also remember to look away from your screen for at least 5 minutes ever hour. Get up and make a cup of tea, go to the toilet, stretch, do a small household chore like setting the laundry going etc. It gives your eyes a variety of distances to focus at and some exercise.
     
  10. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    You can get specially tinted glasses that help with eye strain. Also, take a look at the posture and ergonomics of your sitting position - if your monitor is the wrong height, or badly lit, those things can cause additional problems.

    The top of your monitor should be about level or just below your eyes.
     
  11. Jess A

    Jess A Archmage

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    I second Chilari. Take frequent breaks - not just your eyes, but your body as well.
     
  12. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

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    I only skimmed, but I didn't see anyone recommend dimming the brightness of your screen. This is what I do whenever the lighting around me isn't as bright as my screen is. Now that I'm getting older (-_-), I have to zoom and increase font sizes to read successfully without bothering my eyes. The bigger the better really, so long as there's enough on the screen to read at a time.
     
  13. Leuco

    Leuco Troubadour

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    I've been doing a lot of editing lately, so I'm doing A LOT of rereading. I've been using my laptop/tablet instead of my desktop, and I keep my work open in two documents: the .doc file and the PDF file. I prefer reading the PDF, then going back to fix the .doc as I'm reading. It may seem like more work, but I think it's very close to reading off the printed page. It's made me more productive.
     
  14. Rinzei

    Rinzei Troubadour

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    Now that you say that, I was finding typing on the laptop and tablets must easier on my eyes. I wonder if the screens are that different from monitors? I don't have a bad monitor on my PC by any means, but maybe it's just better at graphics than text.
     
  15. Aosto

    Aosto Sage

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    Typically when I'm typing away, I don't look at the screen. I go back and make corrections but while typing I close my eyes to imagine the scene.
    As for reading on the PC, I've been in IT for years, eye strain is the norm anymore. Take frequent breaks.
     
  16. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    There is a fairly good chance that the pixel/inch on a laptop and tablet are far higher than on a PC screen.
    I have a 21" pc screen and a 15" laptop screen that are the same resolution, so the pixel/inch is higher on the laptop. The laptop is far nicer to work on [once I've corrected the font sizes - I have to run a slightly large font on my PC].
    When I read of iPads and Nexuses [etc.] with 300+ pixel/inch I almost drool.
    [Best Monitor ever - A4 vertical grey-scale Mac CRT monitor for the late 80s - it was wonderful to write on]
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2013
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