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Reducing Eye Strain While On The Computer

USA 18 February 2012. You know that you should take frequent breaks while on the computer. However, once you get started using the computer you become absorbed in what you are doing that you forget to do so. You are reminded however when you turn off the computer, usually after many hours, with a headache, or sore eyes.

What to do?

One thing that you can do is set your clock to sound off at a certain time. However, that can be annoying, or worse, it can break your train of thought if you are working on something. Another thing you can do is to have a pair of sunglasses near and put them on for a few minutes while you continue to work on computer.

Still better is to change the screen on your computer. The screen should be generally of one color. The reason for this is that color affects your eyes. Most computers have as the preset for your screen a screen with the color being mostly blue. Blue however is not the best color for your eyes:

“Blue (and violet) are the shortest wavelength/highest frequency colors of visible light, and, as such they scatter the most readily. This is why the sky is blue rather than any other color from the sun’s white out spectrum. Blue light doesn’t just scatter most readily in the sky, but also in the eye. To observe this effect, try this informal experiment: Next time you see a dark blue storefront sign or a row of blue airport runway landing lights after dark, notice how blurry the edges of the sign or landing light appears compared to adjacent lights or signs of different colors. . . . . [B]lue light does not trigger a strong pupil-closing response in human eyes. . . . Due to the comparatively weak pupil response to blue light, the human eye is very glare-sensitive to a blue signal image. [Footnote 1]

As you are probably aware of glare contributes to eye strain. [Footnote 2] So having a blue screen on all the time is going to cause you to eventually have eye strain. So what color should you have as your screen color?

One color is green. “It preserves and strengthens eyesight.” [Footnote 3] “Green, of course, is the least fatiguing to the eyes, because it is the true ‘complementary colour’ of the visual purple in the eyes so helps the eye to maintain the visual purple, instead of stripping it, which causes eye strain. . . . . The reason I suggest{ed} green [is] the fact the rods and cones of the eyes contain the substance ‘visual purple,’ which is the perceptual opposite (or complement) to green; therefore, green should cause the least amount of colour-related eyestrain. Visual purple is less like purple than a cool bluish red, so the perceptual complement is a more bluish green.” [Footnote 4], [Footnote 5]

There is also red. “If you need to see directly in front of you or see detail you need red. . . . Why red? The center 1.5% of your retina (the fovea) which provides you with most detailed vision is packed almost exclusively with red sensitive cones. . . . There are fewer total green sensitive cones than red. The number of blue sensitive cones is very small compared to green and red.” [Footnote 6], [Footnote 7]

“The eye’s sharpest and most brilliantly colored vision occurs when light is focused on the tiny dimple on the retina called the fovea centralis or macula.” [Footnote 8] Therefore, red should be used.



1. “Dangerous, illegal, blue headlight bulbs,” Daniel Stern Lighting Consultancy and Supply.


2. “What is glare and how do we block it?” Polaroid Polarized Sunglasses


3. “Chromotherapy (Colour Therapy): The Healing Power of Colours”


4. Carin Perron, Colour Theory & Practice, “Do You Really Want Your Web Pages to Look Like Police Tape?”


Also: “But using a soft, darkened, clear green, which the eye is well-adapted to, with a black background that makes no demand on the visual purple, being the absence of light, should be very restful to the eyes. This is traditionally why slides and movie credits are shown against black, instead of as black against white. . . . . Looking at people I have worked with over the years, I seem to be more sensitive to eyestrain on computers than most people: the old monitors were so bad that, without one of those ‘filter screens’, it would take only a few hours for me to have severe, blinding headaches from eyestrain (in the old days, I actually used to wear sunglasses when no monitor screens were available, and this made all the difference in the world: the glasses were, of course, dark green.”

5. “Color Harmonies: complementary, analogous, triadic color schemes”


6. “Night Vision – The Red Myth”


7. “The Rods and Cones of the Human Eye”


“Current understanding is that the 6 to 7 million cones can be divided into ‘red’ cones (64%), ‘green’ cones (32%), and ‘blue’ cones (2%). . . . They provide the eye’s color sensitivity. The green and red cones are concentrated in the fovea centralis. The ‘blue’ cones have the highest sensitivity and are mostly found outside the fovea, leading to some distinctions in the eye’s blue perception.”

8. The Fovea Centralis, “The Retina of the Human Eye”


“The Macula”