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Off topic: Do your eyes burn?
Thread poster: Ziad Marzouka

Ziad Marzouka  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:44
English to Arabic
+ ...
Jun 23, 2005

I was just wondering since our job as translators requires many hours spent infront of the computer each day, do you guys get any kind of eye burn? or do they turn red sometimes? It happens to my quite everyday that I get to the point where I cant stand the burn and just have to close my eyes and get some rest away from the computer or the tv. Some people even recommended that I should go and see a doctor. Are there any means of protection? glasses? special type of screens or filters? Thanks

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justin C
United States
Local time: 19:44
Anti Glare Jun 23, 2005

Hi Ziad!

As a programmer I have also had similar problems. I used to own an anti glare screen similar to,%20Supplies%20&%20Data%20Storage&s=12&sn=Computer&ss=71&ssn=Monitor%20Filters&g=18584&gn=Contour%20Deluxe%20Anti-Glare%20Screen&referer=froogle_fd (you can find them cheaper with a bit of digging around). They overall reduce the stress on your eyes. Also flat screen monitors are much less harsh on the eyes (in my opinion, I dont have scientific evidence proving that). I would recommend maybe trying those, and maybe getting some Visine Tears (lubcricating eye drops).

Hope this helps!

Regards, Justin

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Bruce Popp  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:44
French to English
glasses Jun 23, 2005


You may need reading/computer glasses... getting your eyes examined by an opthamologiest would be a good step.

On my computer glasses I got UV and anti-glare coatings and I think these make a big difference; I recommend them.

Checking for glare from the monitor from windows and lights is important. Is the screen a good size and the image crisp?

Good luck,

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ntext  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:44
Partial member
German to English
+ ...
Eye strain Jun 23, 2005

You may want to try
- looking away from the screen more often to rest your eyes;
- using artificial tears (eye drops) to keep your eyes moist.

Also, make sure that the monitor is positioned at an appropriate distance from your eyes. I think they say it should be about an arm's length away.

If that doesn't help, you should definitely have your eyes examined. You may indeed need corrective lenses, or something else may be wrong.

However, what you experience is quite common for people who stare at the monitor all day long. It doesn't necessarily mean you have a medical problem.

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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:44
a more drastic measure. Jun 23, 2005

I used to be very short-sighted (and getting worse) and sitting in front of a PC was not helping.

But last year, I had corrective laser eye surgery and now I don't suffer from eye strain at all.
Sure, my eyes sometimes get tired and I may have to take drops occassionally for it, but its worth it. Laser surgery is not for everyone, but it is an option worth exploring.

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jmadsen  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:44
Flat screen monitor Jun 24, 2005

I would definitely go for a flat screen monitor.
They are generally more expensive, but as we spend many hours in front of the screen, my philosophy is that it is certainly a thing worth spending money on. I don't know anything about the long term effects, but I wouldn't risk damaging my eyes permanently.

As far as I understand, the difference between the two types of screens is that the old picture tube screens flicker (although you can't see it), which confuses and strains the eyes, especially with long term exposure. The flat LCD screens don't flicker and only exchange pixels when the colour of the pixel needs changing. Not a very scientific explanation, but there it is...

My advice: Protect your eyes, replace your screen with a flat LCD screen. You can can't replace your eyes.


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PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:44
English to Polish
+ ...
Invest in good hardware Jun 24, 2005

You don't mention what equipment you use (monitor + graphics adapter). My story is such:
I worked on a 15" monitor for a long time, with a graphics adapter which permitted no more than 72 Hz refresh rate at 800x600 resolution. After 8 hours of work (about half our regular working day, right? ) my eyes would start watering, I couldn't focus etc. etc.

Then (about 2 years ago now) I upgraded to a 19" CRT monitor and I bought a new graphics adapter which allowed me to jack the refresh rate to 85 Hz.
Since that time I forgot about my eyes. The problem virtually disappeared.
The refresh rate of the monitor is especially important - you don't appreciate the difference between a low and high refresh rate until you switch between them. A low refresh rate (anything below 75 Hz) is especially murderous to your eyes.
Another issue is contrast and brightness. For translation work I significantly reduce the brightness and contrast settings. I found it also makes a big difference. I have a different setting if I want to play around with picture editing.

I write all this because you don't mention it in your post. I find that many people use whatever default settings there are when they install their graphics adapter drivers, and these are not that good.

And a good quality monitor (LCD or CRT) is very, very important, IMHO.

Hope that helps

Pawel Skalinski

p.s. I believe that good quality monitors these days don't require glare screens. Technology has moved ahead and the radiation isn't as high as it used to be. Also, but this is my personal dislike, I never liked those pieces of glass hanging from the monitor. They distract me somehow.

[Edited at 2005-06-24 08:48]

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Hynek Palatin  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 01:44
Member (2003)
English to Czech
+ ...
Monitor Jun 24, 2005

PAS wrote:

And a good quality monitor (LCD or CRT) is very, very important, IMHO.

Absolutely. I used to have problems with my old 17" CRT, but they are gone after I bought an LCD.

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Ana Naglić  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:44
Member (2005)
English to Croatian
+ ...
Agree. See the doctor first. Jun 24, 2005

I am short-sighted, but my sight did not deteriorate in the last two years when I started using contact lenses. I also wear glasses with the UV coating.
I use the computer 10-15 hours a day, but I have a nice laptop with 15" screen, and having a good screen usually helps - take a good screen when you're buying a computer. It doesn't have to be the most expensive, but be careful of the refresh rate etc.
My doctor also advised me to rest my eyes approx. every hour by looking into something distant.

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Romuald Pawlikowski  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:44
Member (2004)
English to Polish
+ ...
LCD monitor Jun 24, 2005

Hynek Palatin wrote:
Absolutely. I used to have problems with my old 17" CRT, but they are gone after I bought an LCD.

Could not agree more. I use 19" LCD and I "see" the difference.

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Rebekka Groß  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:44
English to German
good hardware + eyetest Jun 24, 2005

I too am extremely short sighted (started wearing glasses at age 4!) but have not experienced this problem in my 15 years as a full-time translator.

I can only reiterate what has been said before, a good monitor is the best solution. When I became freelance 12 years ago, I used an anti-glare guard but for the past 7, 8 years, I've used a 21" CRT monitor and have never suffered from eye strain, no matter how many hours I spent in front of the computer.

I also agree with the others who suggested you get your eyes tested. If there is nothing wrong with them, other than them being overworked, at least you'll have peace of mind in that respect.

Good luck,


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Rebecca Hendry  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:44
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Contact lenses. Jun 24, 2005

I wear contact lenses, fortnightly disposable ones which are specially designed for your eyes NOT to dry out, even when spending hours and hours looking at a computer screen. I have to say I'm very happy with them, and generally my eyes only begin to hurt if I am very tired or I have hayfever of some sort.

I did have to try lots of different types of lenses to find ones that suited me though. I also use a special solution to clean them, and eye drops if I ever do experience discomfort.

If you are suffering a lot with your eyes, I suggest you go to your optician. You may need glasses.

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