Electronic resources have many advantages over print, but long periods of screen use without rest can cause the muscles in and around our eyes to get tired. This is referred to as screen fatigue.
To reduce screen fatigue, please consider the following when using electronic resources:
There should be enough light in your workspace to match the light from your screen, so that your eyes are not constantly adjusting when you look away from your device. Consider using a desk lamp, instead of relying on overhead lighting.
Adjust the brightness setting on your screen to a suitable level, so that it is a close to the level of lighting in your workspace.
The text that you are reading on screen should stand out from the background, if not you will need to increase the contrast so that your eyes are not working too hard. You may also want to enlarge the text. Please see the setting accessibility options webpage for more information.
Position your screen to avoid glare and reflection, which make it difficult to see text on the screen. Consider the use of an anti-glare filter that covers your screen.
Every 20 minutes, take a break of at least 20 seconds, and look at least 20 feet away (around 6 metres).
Keep your monitor or screen a suitable distance from your eyes (about an arm’s length). Position the screen so that your gaze is slightly downward.
Applications and browser extensions
There are a range of applications and browser extensions that may help you to reduce screen time, or to reduce the effects that are causing fatigue:
- Immersive Reader
Immersive Reader is part of Microsoft applications such as Teams, Edge, and Word. Includes a Read Aloud feature and adjustable reading and text features.
- Beeline Reader
Beeline Reader uses an eye-guiding colour gradient that helps your eyes to follow long blocks of text. It is available as an alternative format within Moodle, via Blackboard Ally. A browser extension is also available, but please note that there may be a charge for this.
f.lux displays a coloured overlay to adapt your display to the time of day. You can also customise the colour and light levels to match your environment. f.lux helps to reduce eye fatigue when using a computer, and is particularly useful if you are working late at night or in poorly lit environments.
- Google High Contrast
Google High Contrast is a free extension for the Google Chrome browser. It allows you to change or invert the colour scheme to make webpages easier to read.
- Dark Background and Light Text
Dark Background and Light Text is a free extension for the Mozilla Firefox browser, that converts all, or selected, webpages to a light text on dark background display.
- Night Shift on iOS
Night Shift automatically adjusts the colours of your display to the warmer end of the spectrum - making the display easier on your eyes.
- Android Dark Theme
Android Dark Theme improves visibility for readers with low vision and those who are sensitive to bright light. Makes it easier for anyone to use a device in a low-light environment.
- MyComputerMyWay (eye strain)
MyComputerMyWay offers step by step instructions on how to adapt your phone, computer, or tablet to meet your needs.