How long can you look a computer screen?

  1. After about an hour, I get this weird pain sensation behind my eyes and I have to stop and walk around. I am not really sure why this happens. Of course I don't literally mean I look directly into the computer screen for one hour straight but just naturally work on a computer. I can read a book basically indefinitely, so I am not sure what is different about the computer screen. What about other people?
  2. jcsd
  3. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    You should probably get your eyes checked.

    I spend a good 12 -16 hours per day looking at a computer screen for work and fun. I've done this almost daily since the early 80's. The only thing that bothers me is if there is bright light in the room I am in.
  4. That's a little far-fetched. Do you sleep? Do you mean 12-16 continuously? My question was about continuous computer usage.
  5. I can use it as long as 8 hours a day.

    What kind of screen are you using? CRT or LCD?
  6. LCD, but I have had this problem with both types of screens
  7. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    Pretty much continuously when I was younger. 12-16 hours per work day was de rigueur, sometimes even longer and 8-10 hours on the weekends. I am serious, 102+ hour work weeks were common.
  8. 16 hours is hard to believe :surprised If thats true you are unlike anyone I have every met.
  9. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    Not uncommon for people I know. Our work is done on a computer.
  10. Same here. I know many who work for that many hours... mainly software engineers.
  11. I spend anywhere from 6 to 10 hours a day looking at a computer screen with no problems. Like Evo said, a really bright light in the room will mess with my eyes... or if the screen is the only thing that's lit in the room.

    Try adjusting your brightness and contrast settings. Sounds like eye drops might help too.
  12. I look at a computer screen all day, most days. Computers are what I like to do. :smile:
  13. It's never really made my eyes hurt. Some times my eyes will have to adjust to normal after looking at a monitor for an hour or so straight. The might sting a bit if I wasn't blinking much. And sometimes it'll make me sleepy but that's not so much because of the computer since other things like reading a book or some such will do the same on occasion.
  14. cristo

    cristo 8,386
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    I think it depends what you're doing on a computer as well.. if you're playing computer games then I guess this will be more intense, and so one will be less able to spend long hours doing it.

    But yes, I agree with Evo: if you're getting pain from looking at the screen, go and get your eyes checked. (In fact, a good general rule is that if you get unusual pain from anything, you should go to your GP and get it checked out!)
  15. Moonbear

    Moonbear 11,955
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    First, as others have said, if you're experiencing pain, get your eyes checked. More typical signs of fatigue or eye strain are more of a tired burning feeling from dry eyes (not blinking enough), or difficulty focusing, but shouldn't involve any pain. Pain should be checked out.

    Beyond that, a few other things to consider to make it easier to spend more time on the computer if you need to do so, again, room lighting and monitor brightness and contrast settings. Too much room lighting will put a glare on the screen, and too little will make the screen seem too bright. The location of room lighting can be an issue too. Sometimes the brightness level is fine, but the bulbs are too close to where your monitor is and reflect into it, while moving the same brightness bulbs to a lamp a little to the side or across the room would be perfectly comfortable. Also, the position of your monitor is important.
    Here's a site that gives tips on how to position your monitor to minimize eyestrain and neck strain. I like this one because it also gives useful exceptions.

    One of the things I see done wrong most often is putting the monitor too high as people try to raise them up on shelves on the desk to give them room to put other things under it on the desk, and then you're constantly straining your neck up to look at it (and often, you just don't have much of a choice with a lot of desks in terms of height, but if it's really a problem for someone, they make computer desks with a recessed area for the base of the monitor to sit a bit lower than the rest of the desk surface to help with this).
  16. I have some suggestions that might help--

    (a) increase font size
    (b) reduce contrast and brightness (staring at a monitor is like staring at a light bulb)
    (c) correct posture
    (d) put a light behind your computer, and don't work in the dark
    (e) if you use a laptop get a larger monitor to hook up to it
    (f) get your eyes examined in case that is the culprit
    Last edited: May 17, 2008
  17. I always thought that humans were just not evolutionarily equipped to focus there eyes in something as unnatural as a computer screen for so long but I guess that view was probably naive. I have basically perfect vision in my left eye but when I close my left eye and look out my right everything including the computer screen is fuzzy. That is probably the problem. Maybe I will see an eye doctor.
  18. I think the idea that focusing on objects close or far from you was the cause of near or farsightedness was abandoned long ago.

    "Don't sit too close to the TV kids!"
  19. tiny-tim

    tiny-tim 26,016
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Well, you certainly need glasses for your right eye, at least.

    The sooner, the better.

    In the meantime, I suggest you increase the font size, as DavidWhitbeck suggests, and sit about an arm's-length from the screen, so as to relax the focus of your eyes. :smile:
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thead via email, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?