Q&A: How can I prevent eye strain and headaches from computer use?

by David Jenyns

Question by Tommy: How can I prevent eye strain and headaches from computer use?
I have to take a test that is entirely on the computer (GMAT) that involves having to stare at the screen in order to solve math problems and verbal questions. The nature of the questions is that you have to be aware of little tricks and pay very close attention to every detail presented.

When I do paper tests I do very well, but struggle with the actual computer tests because I suffer from eye strain and headaches from staring at the screen.

Are there any glasses or anything I could put over the monitor to reduce this problem?
I can’t just turn off the monitor and walk away for 5 minutes. It is a timed test that is extremely time sensitive.

Best answer:

Answer by TruthIsRelative
Take a moment every once in a while to focus for a moment on something farther away than your monitor. This is what I do at work to help with the eyestrain and associated head ache that can happen.

Some people I work with swear by the anti-glare CRT monitor overlays, but I have never used one. Anyhow, I get no glare off of this LCD.

Also, move your neck, shoulders, and back around, or change your posture in your chair so you don’t get stiff. Walk a few steps if you can (not a 5-minute stroll, just a couple steps to get blood moving).

Add your own answer in the comments!

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

bentworth78 July 20, 2011 at 4:38 pm

News Flash::::: Turn off your Monitor


jfloresbcs July 20, 2011 at 5:18 pm

lower the brightness


Beast from the East July 20, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Ask the people administering the test if you can have a paper version. if not, take a quick break every half hour by closing your eyes for a few secs.


jasonh320 July 20, 2011 at 6:15 pm

The glare from the computer might be causing this eye problem and headache. Get a screen filter. It will limit the glare and turn down the brightness of your monitor. Also, take 10 – 15 minute nap to rest your eyes.


msannab6759 July 20, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Try an anti-glare screen for your monitor.


Shayna July 20, 2011 at 7:20 pm

They do make anti glare for the screens. There are also special anti glare screens. If you wear eye glasses they can put anti glare on the lenses too.


RO July 20, 2011 at 8:07 pm

I’m not aware of any physical product that will help you here. The best advice is to take periodic breaks where you look away from the screen, shut your eyes for 15 or so seconds, and the biggest piece of advice may be to take some aleve or asparin before your test to so the pain won’t be so overbearing.


superboredom July 20, 2011 at 8:13 pm

print off the tests and write them on paper, then post the answers back on the computer.


mitt w July 20, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Up the size of your lettering – Shift+center mouse roller.


nas8caror300 July 20, 2011 at 9:02 pm

take a 20 min break at least every 2 hours like i do


mojomuppet July 20, 2011 at 9:45 pm

they make anti glare glasses yes they do. good for you hey?


Jay Jay July 20, 2011 at 10:36 pm

wear sunglasses. that arent very dark.. thay do make screens that u can put in front of the monitor but u need to find them at a computer store is the best place


kreditme July 20, 2011 at 11:31 pm

Wear a semi-dark spectacle.

Use a glass-screen for the monitor.


Lycia July 20, 2011 at 11:53 pm

there are glasses you can get to prevent the headaches… and there are things to cover the screen… but the best bet is to take breaks… saves you money that way


browneyedcupcake2008 July 21, 2011 at 12:52 am

Dont spend so much time online. Take breaks and focus on other things not the computer. Take your time online and take more breaks.


Sharp Marble July 21, 2011 at 12:59 am

you have to see an eye dr. who can give you a perscription for glasses to wear just for computers if there is osmething wrong with your eyes. If you know you’re going to be in front of one for a long time, you can take aspirin just before (the trick with aspirin is to take it at the onset of a headache.) The only other thing is to make sure you are well rested and that you don’t sit so close to the screen. I think there are also filters you can put in front of the screen to reduce glare. However, they will not let you bring in anything extra for the Gmat. The gmat is on a black screen, so you might be OK.


Stakiefett July 21, 2011 at 1:22 am

Have you tried practicing? Start to train your eyes by completing computer based activities that will build up your eye strength.

Good Luck on the GMAT it’s a tough one!!


z!p July 21, 2011 at 1:53 am

tools -> options -> content -> defualt font -> change to very high so you can read text


drunkinpoet July 21, 2011 at 2:01 am

make sure to look away from your monitor at things far away every 10-15 minutes. it will exercise your eye muscles. and walk away from the screen from time to time. your eyes need to rest as well as your mind. i’m a graphic designer, so i know all too well about eye strain.


Anne M July 21, 2011 at 2:32 am

Try taking breaks and not looking at the screen for a few minutes at a time. Someone said to turn the brightness down you can do that too. If you can not take breaks close your eyes before going on to the next question. Also, if you get breaks use them wisely. Close your eyes turn off the thinking for a few and really relax. You got this far so you can get the rest done too.

Good luck to you. I am positive that you can and will do this. Oh and you also sound a little nervous. Tell yourself I can and will pass this test and do it on the computer. I am going to guess that you will.


Big Finger July 21, 2011 at 2:41 am

You can attach anti-glare screens to most monitors.
Available from most computer shops (including OfficeWorks, HarveyNormans etc).

You could also raise the issue that if you are more disadvantaged than others while staring at a screen, as you may be more vunerable to eye strain than someone else (due to no fault of yourself), this could constitute discrimination. Therefore you should either have the option to sit test without screen or they should provide the anti-glare screen for you. If not they may be liable for damages if you wanted to sue should you acquire any injuries or get disadvantaged results in the test???
Ok this may be taking it to the extreme…


Automation Wizard July 21, 2011 at 2:43 am

Adjust your monitor to the best resolution, refresh rate, brightness, contrast, etc….

Get an eye exam.

Focus your eyes for 30 seconds at a distance past your monitor every 30 minutes. Make sure you are seated where you aren’t going to get accused of cheating.

Use Excedrin during the test. Take it before you start having a problem.

Try magnifying glasses from the local drug store. Some people love them for computer work.


sulaiman s July 21, 2011 at 2:45 am

Use the eye protector screeen.Those dark screen which comes…


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