Eye strain
Thread poster: walkabout

walkabout  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:35
English to Spanish
+ ...
Mar 16, 2014

Hello,

Being almost a full-time translator I've begun to notice a bit of eye strain and I suspect it is due to my 18 inch monitor. I'd like to know if anyone has any suggestions or techniques to improve this situation. For example, a larger/smaller monitor, its ideal size, lower or higher contrast/brightness, resolutions, ambient lighting, TRADOS colour combinations (I've chosen darker colours), or any other factors I may have left out.

By the way, does anyone know if there are monitors that are like the e-reader screens, that is, not backlit? I don't mind if they have no colour in fact I would prefer it given these e-readers are so easy on the eyes. Thanks!

[Edited at 2014-03-16 14:51 GMT]


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:35
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Suggestions Mar 17, 2014

1. Don't use a reflective backlit shiny screen. Get a matte one. You shouldn't be able to see the reflection of anything in your screen (and especially not of a natural or artificial light source).
2. Make sure your eyes are at the same level as the top edge of your screen so that you're always looking down, not up/down/up/down etc.
3. Position your workstation so that in addition to focussing on your computer screen, you also occasionally shift your focus to something far away, e.g. the view through a window. This will rest your eyes.
4. Set the background colour of your screen to a fairly dark bluish green ("Teal" - see here http://katesrandomstuffs.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/on-colour-teal.html at the right-hand side of the page)- never white !
5. Spend a lot on buying the best quality screen you can afford. I bought this 20" Apple Cinema Display in 2005 and it's still going strong. It was very expensive at the time but is now nearly 10 years old, so it was a good investment - and I never get sore eyes.

I hope this helps.

[Edited at 2014-03-17 18:05 GMT]


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 14:35
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Note: Your title should summarize your main point. Mar 17, 2014

Tom in London wrote:
3. Position your workstation so that in addition to focussing on your computer screen, you also occasionally shift your focus to something far away, e.g. the view through a window. This will rest your eyes.


I suppose that if you can't do that, having a mirror behind the monitor should also help.

And: make sure your workstation has enough light on it.


 

Denise Phelps  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:35
Spanish to English
+ ...
Screen brightness Mar 17, 2014

Besides Tom's good advice, I recommend installing http://justgetflux.com/ which adjusts screen brightness and warmth depending on the time of day, type of lighting you use, etc.

 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:35
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Thanks Denise Mar 17, 2014

Denise Phelps wrote:

Besides Tom's good advice, I recommend installing http://justgetflux.com/ which adjusts screen brightness and warmth depending on the time of day, type of lighting you use, etc.


Interesting little application - I'll try it out.


 

walkabout  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:35
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Great advice! Mar 18, 2014

Thank you all for your contributions, some excellent advice here, for me and for others. Apart from Tom, no one commented on an ideal monitor size. Any tips ?

 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 14:35
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I think the resolution is more important than the monitor size Mar 18, 2014

For a while I stood my screen up on end to suit the Trados Workbench layout, with Trados at the top of the screen and my document lower down. Experts frowned, but it suited me!

Now with the new layout I have turned the screen back to the standard 'wide' arrangement.

I recommend light from the side, and roughly even light all round, so that your eyes are not constantly adjusting to different brightness. I have two economy bulbs in a small room, one more or less overhead and one in a highly mobile lamp. Daylight, when there is any, comes in from the side, and I turn both electric lights off.

I am just playing about with a new computer setup, and very conscious that the highest resolution of the screen means very small print under icons and suchlike places, and I am learning to adjust the settings. Others - like this site icon_biggrin.gif are more comfortable than on my old setup. Click around the menus and settings and see what you can find.

Check your spectacles, or whether you need them. Your ordinary reading glasses may not be so good for the screen, as you are further away from the text than a book or newspaper.

If you use bifocals, they need to be checked. My husband has screen glasses that are not bifocal, because neither field was right for screen work, and with multifocals the area that was correct for screen work was not big enough.

Proofreading on paper, at a different table, is another good idea for many reasons. I use recycled paper from managed forests and recycle it again, with a good conscience. You can't save the planet by ruining your eyes anyway.

Hope it helps, because it makes an enormous difference!


 

walkabout  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:35
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Monitor brand Mar 22, 2014

Thank you Christine. I've been looking at a few forums and a few people recommend a good quality Dell monitor 24 inch. Any other opinions on brand?

 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:35
Member (2008)
Italian to English
A good monitor Mar 22, 2014

walkabout wrote:

Thank you Christine. I've been looking at a few forums and a few people recommend a good quality Dell monitor 24 inch. Any other opinions on brand?


A prozian colleague recommended this one a while ago but I don't know if it's still available:

http://www.macworld.com/article/2011460/review-dell-ultrasharp-u2713hm-a-nonglossy-alternative-to-apples-displays.html


 

Doreen Stacey
United States
Schedule a check-up Apr 28, 2014

Have yourself check first by an optometrist so that you will be given proper treatment.

 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 09:35
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Dell monitors? Apr 28, 2014

walkabout wrote:

I've been looking at a few forums and a few people recommend a good quality Dell monitor 24 inch. Any other opinions on brand?


I recall having had three "Dell" monitors, as labeled on the front. According to the nameplate on the rear, two of them had been manufactured by Samsung, and one by Philips.

Maybe these Dell-branded third-party monitors have higher quality standards.

For instance, I buy "disposable" keyboards; when they fail, I trash and replace them without a wince. My present one is supposedly disposable, since I paid about USD 25 for it. However for the first time it has the Dell brand on the front and back, though it was manufactured by NMB or Shunding (I can't read Chinese to figure out who did what) Technologies in China, according to the sticker. So far it has outlasted almost a dozen of the other disposable keyboards I've had, and is still going strong.

Worth checking...

[Edited at 2014-04-28 22:27 GMT]


 

Paul Harrison MITI
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:35
French to English
Good info on monitors and PC hardwear Apr 28, 2014

walkabout wrote:

Thank you Christine. I've been looking at a few forums and a few people recommend a good quality Dell monitor 24 inch. Any other opinions on brand?


Sorted by priceicon_smile.gifhttp://www.logicalincrements.com/peripherals/index.html#standardscreen


 

Frankie JB
France
English to French
+ ...
eye strain lotion May 30, 2014

I don't know how strained are your eyes and what you are looking for exactly but I, too, often feel eyestrain due to all those hours "doing screen" (and my fragile blue eyes), so much that applying all the good practices mentioned by Tom above is not enough and my eyes remain lastingly redish/tired/hottish day in day out... Some months ago I have found an efficient way to alleviate the discomfort though: I apply a lotion called "cornflower water" and palm my eyes every night when bedding down, for about 5 to 10 mins, and the result is that my eyes look noticeably less tired/red and feel a bit less hot, and that overall I feel more energized (somehow!).

 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:35
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Lotion May 31, 2014

Frankie JB wrote:

I don't know how strained are your eyes and what you are looking for exactly but I, too, often feel eyestrain due to all those hours "doing screen" (and my fragile blue eyes), so much that applying all the good practices mentioned by Tom above is not enough and my eyes remain lastingly redish/tired/hottish day in day out... Some months ago I have found an efficient way to alleviate the discomfort though: I apply a lotion called "cornflower water" and palm my eyes every night when bedding down, for about 5 to 10 mins, and the result is that my eyes look noticeably less tired/red and feel a bit less hot, and that overall I feel more energized (somehow!).


It goes without saying that healthy eyes are very important and you must look after them. If they become so sore and irritated that you need medication, then I'd say something must be seriously wrong with your working conditions. In the long run, unless you improve those conditions you risk exacerbating the situation rather than ameliorating it.

Here are a few tips on eye health, from the UK National Health Service:

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Eyehealth/Pages/Eyehealthhome.aspx

[Edited at 2014-05-31 10:52 GMT]


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 09:35
English to Portuguese
+ ...
One important point May 31, 2014

One ophtalmologist I know had her office near the headquarters of a large bank. She had herds of that bank's employees, specifically of the kind that spends their working hours with their nose pointing to a computer screen, coming in for consultations because of their sore eyes.

She explained to me, a mechanical engineer, that eyeballs move all the time within their sockets, so obviously some lubrication is needed. That specific natural lubricant is called "tears". Since part of the eyeball is exposed to the air, eyelids are used to spread the lubricant over that exposed area. Our brain is programed to make us involuntarily wink every now and then to perform this operation.

However... we weren't all built for using modern computers. I mean modern, because back in the mid 1980s, my Apple II didn't have a mouse. It came up later.

It was discovered that the act of clicking a mouse button sends a fake "winked already" message to the brain, so it skips the next "wink" command. When a computer user clicks a mouse too often, they'll override this automatic feature of the brain. Bottom line is that the person will spend a longer time without blinking, their eyes will dry up, and get sore from the friction with their sockets.

Solutions for mouse users are either blinking deliberately now and then and/or using lubricating eye drops. As simple as that.

Of course, this doesn't cover issues like eye strain from using inadequate glasses, poor lighting, glare, etc. which have to be addressed separately.


 


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