Saturday, March 18, 2023

How To Stop Headaches From Computer Screens

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Use The 20/20/20 Rule

Reduce computer screen brightness to STOP Eye strain or Headache

Your eyes arenât designed to stare all day at something directly in front of you. With the 20/20/20 rule, you give your eyes a much-needed break during long work days.

If you look at the screen for 20 minutes, you must look at something at least 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds. The longer you look away from your screen, though, the better!

Take Time Off If You Need To

Its important to take time off work if you need to. Many people feel they should try to push through a migraine when theyre working from home. However, its better to take the time off you need to feel better and then return to work. Otherwise you may find your migraines last longer or bounce back.

Properly Stage Your Workspace

Before you even sit down at your computer, notice how your desk is arranged. The right setup will encourage you to sit comfortably and be relaxed without straining your neck. It’s important to protect your neck, especially if you are dealing with cervicogenic headache.

First, make sure your computer monitor is directly in front of you so you don’t have to twist your spine to focus. Adjust your chair so that you are looking straight ahead at the screen.

Next, make sure the monitor is at eye level so you don’t have to slouch or strain. Set up your monitor 20 to 40 inches away from your face. A screen that is too close or too far can lead to eye strain. Finally, make sure there is no glare from another light source on your screen.

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Why Are Screens Bad For Concussions And Brain Injuries

There is far less clinical evidence available that notes the impact computer screens have on post-concussion syndrome and traumatic brain injury , but patients are vocal about the negative effects that too much screen exposure can have on their symptoms. For example, nearly all of the post-concussion and TBI respondents of our survey acknowledged that digital screens were particularly bothersome. And there are countless anecdotes online that further reinforce the health concern of computer usage after a concussion or brain injury:


In addition, LCD screens were shown to slow the recovery time for post-concussive individuals. Certain treatments that involve computer use may even be rendered less effective in halting headache symptoms due to the mandatory screen exposure.9 As a result, medical professionals often recommend a period of physical and cognitive rest immediately after a concussionthis often involves limiting screen time from electronic devices and computers. And if post-concussion headaches persist, then longer-term solutions must be identified in order to safely work on a computer.

Things That Might Help If Screen Time Triggers Your Migraines

How To Stop Headaches Computer Screen

Medically reviewed by Alina Masters-Israilov, MD

These days, most of us spend a ton of time staring at screens. Were working from our computers all day, streaming from our tablets and televisions in the evenings, and constantly glancing at our phones for anything and everything. Screens are so ubiquitous that theyre hard to avoid, which is pretty problematic if staring at a screen is a migraine trigger for you.

Migraine is a neurological disease that causes all sorts of symptoms, one of the most common being light sensitivity. This means you are extremely sensitive to things like bright light, natural light, and changes in light, as they all intensify migraine pain and discomfort.

As you might have guessed, screens can aggravate this light sensitivity, Dawn Buse, PhD, clinical professor of neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, tells SELF. Someone with migraine may have a hypersensitive nervous system that finds the light painful, she says, and that can extend beyond migraine attacks. You might be extremely sensitive to light all the time, which can make all this screen time a huge challenge.

In the hyper-digital world we live in, most people cant just ditch their electronic devices altogetherso we need to go for the next best option: finding ways to deal with it. Here, migraine experts share their tips for managing when staring at screens all day tends to trigger or exacerbate your symptoms.

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Is Dark Mode Better For Migraines

Under certain conditions, such as reduced ambient lighting and smaller text size, dark theme may be particularly uncomfortable. And researchers also found no difference in headaches or eye strain based on the display settingsat least indicating that physical symptoms may not improve with darkened displays.

Prolonged Use Of Digital Screens

Looking at a digital screen for a long time is the most common cause of eye strain. In this case, the condition is called digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome.

When you focus on a screen, you tend to blink less often. This can lead to dry eyes, which may cause irritation.

The following scenarios might also worsen digital eye strain:

  • excessive glare or reflection on your screen
  • low contrast between the screen text and background
  • digital screens placed at incorrect distances

Youre more likely to develop digital eye strain if you look at a screen for 2 or more hours without taking a break.

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Be Open With Your Manager Or Hr Team About Your Needs

Some of the tips weve mentioned are really simpletaking breaks here and there, swapping out harsh lightingbut they might require getting your superiors on board. Many employers are eager for their employees to succeed and will be happy to help. But unfortunately, that isnt always the case. If an employer says, No, we cant do this, the next step is talking to your doctor and getting a medical note, Dr. Buse says. According to the 1972 Americans with Disabilities Act, people have a right to reasonable accommodations at work and at school to succeed.

Reasonable accommodations are modifications or adjustments to a job, work environment, or hiring process. They can include all sorts of things like modified work schedules, flexible breaks, lighting adjustments, and other changes to the physical work environment, per the US Department of Labor.

Usually, all youll need is a simple note from your doctor explaining that you have migraine and experience light sensitivity and are requesting some accommodations that help you thrive in the workplace. That can actually go a long way, Dr. Buse says.

Increase Your Font Size

CNET How to: Reduce computer-related eyestrain

Squint much? It’s not necessary since most computers allow you to change the default font size you see, just as phones now do. If you catch yourself squinting to make out text or notice that, by the end of the day, your face feels tired or strained, you may need to adjust your font size. Your eyes won’t need to work so hard to read, reducing the risk of computer headaches.

How: Go to System Preferences > Display Properties > Scaled and adjust to your personal preference.

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Question: How To Prevent Headaches From Looking At A Computer Screen

Preventing Headaches Caused by Digital Eye Strain Make sure your computer monitor is at least 20 to 25 inches away from your eyes. Consider purchasing a blue light filter for your glasses or computer monitor. Keep the lighting in the room as bright as your monitor. Avoid overly dark rooms.

Additional Health Tips For Working From Home

  • Ensure you stick to a schedule. Get dressed and freshen up even if no one is going to see you
  • Eat a proper lunch and take a proper lunch break away from your computer and phone
  • Turn off your laptop at the end of the working day and step away from it. Separate work from home where possible by shutting the door or laptop screen
  • Stay connected with your colleagues. Try phone or video calls to stay in touch and keep connected rather than email.

For further resources supporting employee wellbeing visit

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How Do You Get Rid Of A Computer Screen Headache

Now that you know why excess screen time may be the cause of those pesky headaches, follow these tips to ensure your eyes are getting enough rest: Follow the 20-20-20 rule. Take a break from your devices. Adjust the lighting. Keep your ergonomics in check. Fight dry eye with drops. Consider new eyewear.

Filter Out Blue Light

How To Stop Headaches Computer Screen

Research shows that blue light can intensify migraine pain compared to green or white light. This means that if youre already experiencing migraine symptoms, staring at a computer, phone, or any other device that emits blue light might leave you feeling even worse.1 Dr. Buse recommends trying blue light glasses, which filter out some wavelengths of light that contribute to eye strain. She suggests one brand called TheraSpecs that makes blue light glasses specifically for people with migraine.

If blue light glasses arent your thing, you still have another option. Dr. Buse suggests swapping your phone over to Night Shift mode, which alters its display to use warmer tones and emit less blue light. You may also be able to do the same thing on your computer, depending on the type you have.

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Whats So Bad About Blue Light

Practically all visible light contains some amount of blue light, or light with a wavelength around 480 nanometers. Throughout the day, blue light from sunlight, overhead lights, and screens can quickly add up to unhealthy levels.

Especially in excess, blue light can impair everything from sleep to hormone cycles. The reason is that blue light suppresses the release of melatonin, which naturally increases at night. Melatonin promotes sleep, but thats not the end of the story.

Melatonin is converted by the body into serotonin. Irregular serotonin levels the result of too much blue light from screens, as well as other sources result in more migraines.

How Pc Users Can Prevent Eye Strain And Headaches

If you spend any significant amount of time in front of a computer, you probably are at risk of eye strain, along with a host of physical problems that result from this condition. Unfortunately, this isn’t a problem that’s easy to avoid overall, our time in front of computer screens is going up, not down.

The Vision Council, an organization representing the optical industry, recently released a 16-page online document that explains the problems associated with eye strain and makes recommendations for how to combat it. Rather than serving as an advertisement for your local optometrist, this report is chock full of information you should read and apply to your own office environment.

How do you know if you’re a victim of eye strain and similar issues related to staring at a computer screen all day? The Vision Council lists some key things to look for, including recurring headaches, neck pain from poor monitor positioning, back pain from poor posture, blurred vision, dry eyes and redness. The council makes some recommendations for combating these effects:

  • Reduce glare by adjusting screen brightness and changing the background color of your display
  • Keep the screen clean
  • Dim the lighting around your PC
  • Don’t sit too close
  • Position the screen slightly below eye level, and don’t tilt it
  • Increase the text size

There are other recommendations, including a diagram of how you should sit in front of your PC for optimal physical comfort.

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Could The Cause Of Your Headaches Be Digital Eye Strain

Its 3 p.m., and you start to feel a dull ache behind your eyes. Youve noticed this happens most weekdays when youre at work. Once you get home and rest on the couch, the headache vanishes.

If you feel a dull headache behind your eyes after staring at your computer screen for several hours, chances are you could be experiencing something called digital eye strain.

Digital eye strain occurs when you spend too much time staring at a screen, and it can result in everything from headaches and neck tension to dry eyes and blurry vision. Plus, its fairly common: According to the Vision Council, over 27 percent of people have experienced headaches as a result of digital eye strain.

With the rise of technology, were seeing more patients come in who experience headaches following long periods of screen use. Patients who suffer from migraines are also identifying screen use as a trigger for their migraine attacks, says Regina Krel, M.D., director of the Headache Center at Hackensack University Medical Center.

How To Prevent Screen

Eye Saver prevents screen flickering

Lets be frank: For most people it is virtually impossible to eliminate or significantly reduce screen exposure. Here are some tips to reduce your risk of screen time-induced headaches:

  • If you wear corrective glasses or contacts, make sure your prescription is up-to-date, or get a prescription if you need one and dont have one yet. This will avoid eyestrain and the headaches it can trigger.
  • Keep your glasses and your screen clean, and position the screen to avoid glare this makes it easier to see, reducing eye strain.
  • Use blue light-blocking glasses, apply a blue light- blocking screen protector, or install a blue light-blocking software program on your device. You can get blue light-blocking glasses that do not contain any magnification or correction or have a blue light filter added to corrective glasses.
  • Adjust the brightness of your screen to match the ambient lighting in the room. The less your eye has to adjust between the two different levels of light, the less the eye strain. There are some computer programs that will automatically do that for you.
  • Increase the font size of print so you dont need to squint as you read.
  • Place the monitor straight ahead of you at eye level rather than off to the side, to reduce neck strain and slouching, and approximately two feet away from your face to minimize eye strain.
  • Adjust the View mode on your computer to what you use most photo or text.
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    Filter Your Screen’s Blue Light

    Have you ever noticed that a screen in a dark room emits an eerie blue glow? That blue light can interfere with your natural circadian rhythm and can aggravate sensitivity to light. Rami Burstein, PhD, vice chair of research in the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine and academic director of the Comprehensive Headache Center at BIDMC, discovered that blue light hurts migraine patients even those who are blind. This finding prompted the thinking that some of the light sensitivity during a migraine attack can be alleviated by blocking blue light.

    You can minimize the risk of getting a headache from the computer by using a screen filter that blocks the blue wavelengths. Software called f.lux is available as a free download for Windows. According to its website, “f.lux makes your computer screen look like the room you’re in, all the time.” You can also buy a physical filter and have your very own migraine computer screen.

    How: visit and click the button

    How To Protect Eyes From Mobile And Computer Screens

    Computer eye strain perhaps isnât something you think about a lot, but once it affects you, itâs hard not to notice.

    Protecting eyes from computer screens and smartphones is more important than ever, but effectively tackling the problem is more about prevention than treatment.

    Simple preventative measures help protect eyes from computer screens and smartphones, and weâre going to take a look at a few of those measures in this article.

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    Is Too Much Screen Time The Cause Of Your Headache

    Spending a large amount of time in front of a screen has become a societal norm, but all that screen time can take a toll on your health. Long days looking at a computer screen followed by even longer nights binge watching television can worsen any underlying headache problems you may have.

    When you have a headache, the pain and pressure it causes in the head can make it difficult to function. Headaches may come on suddenly or develop gradually overtime resulting in sharp pain, a dull ache or a throbbing feeling. They may last a few hours to a few days.

    Types of headaches

    If you suffer from migraines a type of headache that causes severe throbbing or pulsing pain on one or both sides of the head screen time can aggravate any associated light sensitivity. Eye strain, brightness, blue light and screen flickering can be migraine triggers.

    Another type of headache cervicogenic headache is when a problem in the neck causes pain in the head. Cervicogenic headaches often start at the base of the skull and radiate up one side of the head. Poor posture at your workstation can worsen cervical muscle inflammation and tightness, which can in turn exacerbate cervicogenic headaches.

    Ways to prevent headaches

    There are ways to prevent these types of headaches. They include:

    When to see a doctor

    Kevin Weber is a neurologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and an assistant professor of neurology at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

    How Do You Protect Your Eyes From Computer Screens

    What is 20/20/20 rule? Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away ...

    How to Protect Eyes from Computer Screen Use the 20/20/20 Rule. Your eyes arent designed to stare all day at something directly in front of you. Ensure Your Room is Well Lit. Have Regular Eye Exams. Reduce Glare. Use High-Resolution screens. Reduce Blue Light. Adjust Screen Settings. Keep a Sensible Distance.

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