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ErV 12-14-2008 01:14 PM

Reducing eye-strain on LCD monitor.
 
Hello.

I'm looking for tips to reduce eye-strain on LCD monitor. I've just replaced (2 days ago) my long-broken CRT with LCD monitor (ASUS VB172TN. It is nearly impossible to buy new CRT, no one sells them), and it makes eyes tired very quickly. For comparison - I could work on old CRT monitor for 14 hours in the row, without getting tired at all, on new LCD sometimes I'm getting burning feeling in the eyes after 1.5 hours, followed by headache and even nausea. It looks like problems are caused by reading text or by bright scenes, because I could play few "dark" 3d-games ("Prey") on same monitor and didn't have this problem.
I've set brightness to 20 and contrast to 30, enabled "ClearType" in windows, and I'm still getting quickly tired. I've searched for tips, found this article, but most tips are related to CRT monitors and refresh rate. What else can be done to reduce eye-strain on LCD?

[rant]
P.S. Why are LCDs are so popular anyway? Sure, the require less power, take less space, weight less, but I've seen several articles mentioning 18-bit color trickery, "incorrect" refresh times (and other technical data) provided by manufacturer, problems with colors, and so on. And it looks like using LCD is a sure way to kill your eyes, LCDs cost more, and crisp LCD picture has disadvantages when compared to CRT (scaling artifacts, lack of "natural filter" privded by CRT, etc). So why are CRTs being pushed away?
[/rant]

ronlau9 12-14-2008 01:37 PM

Well first of all being a old man most of live I use CRT
Configure my LCD being a ACER 17 inch resolution 1280 X 1024 SXGA 24 bits
I do not wound the CRT back
So try to play with the configuration to get a good picture

jiml8 12-14-2008 01:51 PM

I have no answer for you, Erv. All I can say is that when I switched to an LCD I experienced a lot less eyestrain. I consider them to be much easier to look at over time than a CRT was.

Is you LCD the same basic size as your CRT was? Does the display look the same to you? What about your environment. What kind of lighting are you using in the room where you work? Any changes recently? I am wondering exactly why you are experiencing eyestrain, and I am wondering if perhaps your problem isn't the LCD, but perhaps some other thing in your environment that you changed at the same time.

When I ditched my last CRT I did it because it was failing. It was a 19" monitor and I replaced it with a 22" LCD at a higher display resolution (1280x1024 to 1680x1050). Now, often the fonts on webpages seem too small to me so I just hit ctrl + to enlarge them to where I can easily read.

edit: I see that you have problems with bright scenes and you are OK when you turn the brightness down enough. Does this mean you work in a dark room? If so you will probably find it a lot easier on the eyes if you have backlighting in the room.

jay73 12-14-2008 01:57 PM

You know, there is a lot of difference between distributions. The main reason I have adopted Ubuntu as my main system is that most other distributions have the same sort of effect on me as what you are describing. It is really the fonts that are the problem as most distributions (but also windows XP) render them so poorly that I cannot stand to look at them for more than a few minutes, regardless of the degree of anti-aliasing that I choose to apply.

By the way, I have always read that it is LCDs that are supposed to put less strain on the eyes, not CRTs.

ErV 12-14-2008 02:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jiml8 (Post 3375290)
Is you LCD the same basic size as your CRT was? Does the display look the same to you?

I had quite good (bright) 17inch monitor that broke down 1.5 months ago, and after that I had to use half-dead 15 inch monitor, which was a bit dim and required brightness/contrast correction in videocard settings to make darker colors fully visible - without correction lower 15% of grayscale were black even on maximum brightness.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jiml8 (Post 3375290)
What about your environment. What kind of lighting are you using in the room where you work?

Dark room. Lit by daylight or desktop lamp. Lighting wasn't causing problems with 17 inch CRT, I could work (reading/writing text, which causes problems right now) at night with all lighting turned off, and this didn't cause problems.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jiml8 (Post 3375290)
Any changes recently?

No.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jiml8 (Post 3375290)
I am wondering exactly why you are experiencing eyestrain, and I am wondering if perhaps your problem isn't the LCD, but perhaps some other thing in your environment that you changed at the same time.

The only change was replacing monitor. Maybe I'll adapt within day or two, though. Problem could be caused by old monitor, because it wasn't very bright. It also looks like LCD monitor has too much "white" - I'll configure gamma later.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jiml8 (Post 3375290)
edit: I see that you have problems with bright scenes and you are OK when you turn the brightness down enough. Does this mean you work in a dark room? If so you will probably find it a lot easier on the eyes if you have backlighting in the room.

I'll try this, but I just don't understand why this wasn't causing problems with 17inch CRT monitor I had before.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jay73 (Post 3375292)
You know, there is a lot of difference between distributions. The main reason I have adopted Ubuntu as my main system is that most other distributions have the same sort of effect on me as what you are describing. It is really the fonts that are the problem as most distributions (but also windows XP) render them so poorly that I cannot stand to look at them for more than a few minutes, regardless of the degree of anti-aliasing that I choose to apply.

The funny thing is that I started experiening all this when I booted into windows with "ClearType" turned off and started reading text - until that moment I was mostly playing :), and haven't read much stuff. Turning on "cleartype" helped, but didn't cure problem. Right now I'm waiting for headache and burning effect to wear off then I'll attempt to reconfigure the thing.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jay73 (Post 3375292)
By the way, I have always read that it is LCDs that are supposed to put less strain on the eyes, not CRTs.

I can't say that I have been using many LCD monitors, but those I've encountered put much more strain on eyes CRT. CRT can put strain when it is misconfigured. Typical example for CRT misconfiguration - contrast 100, brightness 30. You won't be able to use this for longer than 5 minutes (if you are looking at black text on white background). But if you put settings to brightness 50, contrast 50, or even below that (30/30), you'll be able to work with that monitor for many hours.

Thanks for replies, I'll attempt to configure monitor tomorrow, fix backlighting problems, and I'll write when something changes.

SlowCoder 12-15-2008 08:55 AM

Brightness has been recommended already, but what about the backlight? Or contrast? I had problems when my lamp (you mentioned a lamp) was in my peripheral vision. I moved the lamp behind me and found it much more comfortable.

H_TeXMeX_H 12-15-2008 01:58 PM

What kind of video card do you have and what drivers and what refresh rate and resolution ?

My opinion is exactly opposite of yours. I hate CRTs, I have never been able to work on them for more than 3-4 hours at a time without getting very nauseous. With LCDs, I can work for a virtually unlimited time. When working with CRTs what helped was higher refresh rates, this helps for LCDs as well. It's also best if you can run the LCD at its native resolution.

ErV 12-15-2008 02:30 PM

update.
It looks like strain was caused by two things:
1) lamp in the monitor. (looks like the main problem)
2) non-antialiased fonts in windows.
Problem with fonts was fixed by antialising. Haven't noticed similar problem in linux, by the way.
Current settings are brightness: 30, contrast: 30. I've also calibrated gamma to 2.2, that reduced amount of white on the screen, but didn't give huge improvement.
The problem with lamp is a bit more difficult - it looks like to work comfortably with monitor, I'll need good amount of lighting. Haven't fully fixed that yet, so far pointing desktop lamp at monitor gives fairly good results (more comfortable), but that's still not perfect. it looks like I'll have to forget about working in the dark (sigh).
It also looks like eyes are attempting to adapt to new monitor, but this isn't finished yet.

if anything else will change, I'll post it.

Quote:

Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H (Post 3376406)
What kind of video card do you have and what drivers and what refresh rate and resolution ?

Sorry, with all due respect, I do not see how videocard and especially video card drivers could be possibly connected to eye strain. To my experience eye strain (or lack of it on CRT) never changed after replacing video card with new one (and this includes even old cards like Riva TNT 2 Pro). Resolution is native to the monitor - 1280x1024.

Quote:

Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H (Post 3376406)
My opinion is exactly opposite of yours. I hate CRTs, I have never been able to work on them for more than 3-4 hours at a time without getting very nauseous. With LCDs, I can work for a virtually unlimited time. When working with CRTs what helped was higher refresh rates, this helps for LCDs as well. It's also best if you can run the LCD at its native resolution.

LCDs don't flicker at the rate of CRT. Take a camera, film CRT and LCD, see the difference. Changing refresh rate produces zero difference on LCD (it might limit fps in some fullscreen 3d applications with v-sync enabled, but that is all). So how is refresh rate supposed to help on LCD?

H_TeXMeX_H 12-15-2008 03:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ErV (Post 3376440)
Sorry, with all due respect, I do not see how videocard and especially video card drivers could be possibly connected to eye strain. To my experience eye strain (or lack of it on CRT) never changed after replacing video card with new one (and this includes even old cards like Riva TNT 2 Pro). Resolution is native to the monitor - 1280x1024.


LCDs don't flicker at the rate of CRT. Take a camera, film CRT and LCD, see the difference. Changing refresh rate produces zero difference on LCD (it might limit fps in some fullscreen 3d applications with v-sync enabled, but that is all). So how is refresh rate supposed to help on LCD?

Well, I was just wondering if the OP might be running an nvidia card with the nv drivers, for a while I did that, and the quality was somewhat bad ... it lead to screen flickering in some cases, that's sure to tire your eyes.

I know LCDs flicker a LOT less than CRTs, but with a low enough refresh rate you will notice it. Remember that the lamp behind the screen is usually a fluorescent lamp.

Mega Man X 12-15-2008 03:47 PM

Hi ErV,

Not sure if somebody already suggested this, but there is a tool Microsoft released for XP to help you tune the fonts on your environment:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/D...powertoys.mspx

It's called ClearType Tuner and it worked great for me. You will most likely need something like that since the default render in XP is old and won't play nicely with newer monitors. Windows Vista (if you are considering an upgrade someday) looks great out of the box.

Regards!

ErV 12-15-2008 04:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H (Post 3376541)
Well, I was just wondering if the OP might be running an nvidia card with the nv drivers,

It is nvidia 8400GS card with proprietary 173.14.xx drivers.

Quote:

Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H (Post 3376541)
for a while I did that, and the quality was somewhat bad ... it lead to screen flickering in some cases, that's sure to tire your eyes.

Can't imagine how it might create flickering, but I wasn't using using nv drivers for a very long time, so you may be right about it.

Quote:

Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H (Post 3376541)
I know LCDs flicker a LOT less than CRTs, but with a low enough refresh rate you will notice it. Remember that the lamp behind the screen is usually a fluorescent lamp.

Yeah, I noticed that. Take a look at the link I provided in the first post. And I already mentioned that the lamp might be the main source of trouble.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mega Man X (Post 3376542)
Hi ErV,

Not sure if somebody already suggested this, but there is a tool Microsoft released for XP to help you tune the fonts on your environment:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/D...powertoys.mspx

Thanks, but fonts are not a problem anymore. Default cleartype smoothing works good enough for me.

jiml8 12-15-2008 10:36 PM

Erv, what is the frequency of your power system? 50 Hz? The fluorescent lamp should be flickering on/off at twice the frequency of your power, and you shouldn't be able to see that. Is there something in the room that might be beating with that lamp, so that you COULD be detecting the flicker? I am not sure what that would be, but I also don't see how the lamp in the LCD could be causing you trouble - unless, of course, it is defective.

ErV 12-16-2008 11:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jiml8 (Post 3376858)
Erv, what is the frequency of your power system? 50 Hz?

Yes, 50hz.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jiml8 (Post 3376858)
The fluorescent lamp should be flickering on/off at twice the frequency of your power, and you shouldn't be able to see that.

Well, that explains why white color looks very different from what I've been used to. All old monitors had maximum possible refresh rate of 85hz, and I've been using that for years.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jiml8 (Post 3376858)
Is there something in the room that might be beating with that lamp, so that you COULD be detecting the flicker? I am not sure what that would be, but I also don't see how the lamp in the LCD could be causing you trouble - unless, of course, it is defective.

I wasn't assuming that problem is with the flickering (there is no light source with another frequency, by the way). I only thought that lamp somehow makes eyes tired. The link I've provided before gives some explanations about how this could happen.
After all it looks like I simply needed some time to adapt to new monitor. Right now situation is much better than two days ago - I'm not getting headaches, and I don't get tired as quickly as before (still 2x..3x time faster than with CRT). The main things that improved experience were:
1) antialiasing for fonts.
2) backlighting. (didn't need that with CRT, but it looks like LCD is simply too bright to work without additional light source, even on low brightness/contrast settings)
3) Reducing brightness/contrast, calibrating gamma.
4) Moving display further away from me.

So I guess that discussion is over. But if I'll find something interesting about this problem, I'll post it.

pixellany 12-16-2008 12:44 PM

I just skimmed and did not see these points:

1. Always use an LCD at it highest (native) resolution.

2. View the monitor with the room lights on.

3. use large fonts with minimum "fluff"

4. Get the right glasses prescription---Until I had cataract surgery, I carried around 2 pairs of glasses--Normal bifocals, and "Computer". With the surgery, I was able to pick a "set point" which seems to be good for both computer and light reading with no glasses. (I still have bifocals)

SlowCoder 12-16-2008 03:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pixellany (Post 3377550)
I just skimmed and did not see these points:

1. Always use an LCD at it highest (native) resolution.

2. View the monitor with the room lights on.

3. use large fonts with minimum "fluff"

4. Get the right glasses prescription---Until I had cataract surgery, I carried around 2 pairs of glasses--Normal bifocals, and "Computer". With the surgery, I was able to pick a "set point" which seems to be good for both computer and light reading with no glasses. (I still have bifocals)

... Old man. :)


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