Trouble-Shooting Guide for Sources of Headaches / Eyestrain

The following lists some possible causes of headache and eyestrain discomfort amongst computer users.  Potential corrective action to consider are also listed.

  • Inappropriate distance from monitor — too close or too far
    • Most people prefer distance for monitor to be about arm’s length from sitting position
  • Light sources can be seen by the operator or reflected on the screen
    • Try to tilt monitor forward slightly to prevent reflections from overhead lights; orient monitor at right angle to windows; use window blinds/curtains; reduce amount of light from fixtures; use an anti-glare screen
  • Overall illumination in area is inadequate – too much or too little
    • Too much light is often a problem — see if some bulbs can be removed but avoid removing so many that excessive shadows and contrast becomes a problem; too little light — try task lighting
  • Inadequate prescription glasses or a need for glasses
    • Check with a vision specialist to determine if prescription is appropriate for computer work or if computer glasses are indicated
  • Font size too small or screen colours do not provide sufficient contrast
    • Increase font size to comfortable size for viewing while sitting properly in chair (avoid leaning forward); also try different screen colours and contrast/brightness adjustment
  • Lack of visual breaks
    • Take frequent vision breaks — for every 30 minutes working on a computer, glance away from screen and focus on a distant object for 15 seconds; change postures, stretch to relieve tension, etc.