Do PC monitors cause visual health problems?

There is a popular belief, correct in some cases, that PC monitors (as well as televisions and “screens” in general) cause eye fatigue and other types of problems that affect visual health . In this article we are going to tell you what problems can occur, why they occur and what you can do to avoid them or, at least, mitigate them.

Those of us who for leisure or obligation spend many hours in front of a screen are more likely to suffer visual health problems if we do not take certain precautions. This is not said by us, it is a fact and then we are going to tell you the reasons why it happens.

What eye health problems can monitors cause?

Most ophthalmologists agree that using display screens for a long period of time causes vision problems. In general, they are not irreversible or serious problems, but it can generate eye fatigue, fatigue, headache and stress, mainly.

The symptoms are varied: from dry eye syndrome, itchy and red eyes, headaches, eyestrain and a long etcetera. In general, this is due to several factors added together, and you can rest assured that by spending a couple of hours in front of the screen, none of this will happen to you.

Why are monitors causing these problems?

As a general rule, a certain combination of factors is necessary to have visual health problems due to monitors, and the older the monitor, the more the problems will become, or rather they will appear earlier.

Your monitor likely has LED technology, made up of lots of tiny light-emitting diodes. To preserve your visual health, these LEDs can be dimmed to reduce the light they emit, and there are two ways to do this: by pulse width modulation (PWM) or direct current (DC). In PWM, the LEDs turn on and off very quickly, and the more time spent in “off” mode the dimmer they appear. PWM has been used in LED monitors for a long time, but unfortunately, it can cause flickering effects, leading to eye fatigue. This is especially noticeable when your monitor’s brightness is too low.

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Most modern monitors use direct current dimming, known as DC Dimming. Instead of turning the LEDs on and off at full power, what it does is regulate the power going into the diodes so when less power is flowing they are just dimmer instead of flickering. Many monitors “sell” this technology as Flicker-Free , and we can guarantee that it is worth it if you spend many hours in front of the screen.

Another problem that causes visual health problems is the blue light that all screens emit. Blue light is a part of the spectrum that has a very short wavelength, almost as long as ultraviolet light. It is much more energetic than the rest of the colors, and therefore affects visual health more than the others since it has the peculiarity that it directly affects the cells of the macula of the eyes, which is a tissue found in the fundus of the eyeball and which is sensitive to light.

Exposing your eyes to blue light for too long without any protection can damage your eyesight, but fortunately many modern monitors also have a technology to alleviate this, called  Low Blue Light. , which consists of a series of filters that largely prevent the radiation emitted by this spectrum of light.

But as we have mentioned before, there are many factors that, together, cause us to have visual health problems, and many of them depend on the user himself and his environment and that we will explain in the next section.

What can you do so that your sight is not damaged?

As we said a moment ago, much of the blame for a monitor damages your eyesight rests with the user, so what can you do about it? Many things, and we are going to see them all:

  • Adjust the brightness appropriately: Ideally, the screen brightness should be set to the same level as the ambient lighting so that it is neither too bright nor too dull. So you don’t have to strain your eyes to see the screen. You should also know that there are monitors with an ambient light sensor that do it automatically.
  • Adjust the contrast and size of the text: the size of the text should be adjusted so that you can read it without having to strain your eyes. The contrast should also be adjusted so that it is not annoying to look at a completely white image.
  • Color temperature : it is a term that you will hear a lot about when talking about monitors, and it is the way to define the spectrum of visible light that the monitor emits. Lowering the monitor’s color temperature reduces the amount of light emitted and can help reduce eye fatigue.
  • Place the screen at the right height : having the screen at the right height and position will help you avoid straining your posture when working in front of the monitor, so that you will suffer less fatigue and headaches and back pain.
  • The ambient lighting is important: sometimes we all like to watch a movie or play a game with the light off, but the contrast between the light emitted by the monitor and dark background ends up causing eyestrain. Always try that the lighting is adequate.
  • Avoid reflections : your PC monitor should always be perpendicular to the main sources of light, be they artificial (lamps) or natural (the light that enters through the window). Otherwise, reflections occur even on matte screens causing eye strain.
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Finally and as a separate point, we can always recommend changing your monitor to a more modern one. The most modern monitors – and not for that reason more expensive – incorporate numerous technologies that help preserve visual health, such as the aforementioned Flicker-Free and Low Blue Light.