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My eyes are hurting from computer use.

I use dark colors when possible, but some applications only use bright white backgrounds. They are resulting in physical pain in my eyes.

I have turned my monitor's brightness down to zero, but pure white (#FFF) is still too bright.

I would like to reduce the maximum brightness without lowering the overall brightness any further.

In other words, I would like to display the area "X'd" out in the image below as a light gray without affecting everything else too much:

grayscale with x's over the whitest area

What I've tried:

  1. Reducing overall brightness. This makes all the less-bright colors too dim and only reduces the brightest white a little bit.
  2. Adjusting contrast. This doesn't reduce the brightest whites.
  3. Adjusting gamma. This doesn't make the brightest whites less bright.

The monitor is currently connected to a Windows laptop via HDMI.

I'm interested in all solutions.

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  • Not a computer related answer, but pain is definitely a situation when you need to visit a doctor. Maybe he can suggest glasses /eyedrops... May 21, 2020 at 19:22
  • @MátéJuhász Thanks Máté. I've been trying to figure out how to get seen by an ophthalmologist virutally, given that I can't safely visit one in person due to COVID-19. If you have any amateur recommendations (or you happen to be a professional), I'm all ears. Thanks again. May 21, 2020 at 19:29

7 Answers 7

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I know this question is from a year ago but what helped me was the NVIDIA control panel, just play around with the brightness and contrast settings, I keep the brightness low (15-30max and then just make the contrast brighter. I would recommend testing this on a good template or something.

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  • 1
    New answers are always welcome to older questions. Thank you for your suggestion. Nov 4, 2021 at 2:58
  • For some reason this works better in OSD, grey is supposed to be always consisting of equal RGB values like (37,37,37). For some reasons using NVCP this makes screen too greenish. I also had to reduce little bit green in OSD and now it is more nice grey, it is not ideal... but I have no longer feeling like someone is burning my eyes with torch... It is crazy how modern monitors shine! I have brightness just 10% and 40% contrast, black levels 50% otherwise video is too dark! Not sure what gamma I use, but it is not brighest!
    – empleat
    Apr 21, 2022 at 0:42
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AFAIK Windows itself does not provide any (sane) possibilty to change colors for default elements' colors or color curve correction (only global gamma ramps).

Global color correction with custom gamma curves can be applied by using 3d party software with LUT curve editing capabilities. But obviously reduction of white will result in image quality loss. E.g. you will not be able to see UI elements border highlights etc. so they will appear 'flat'.

I think it is against SE rules to place links to 3d party software, and most of them are paid software. So you can try to search online for "windows monitor calibration custom LUT utility".

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  • Thank you Mikhail. I will look using those specific terms. Also, allow me to introduce you to Software Recommendations SE, where software recommendations are very welcome! I happen to be a moderator, so if you have any questions, just ask. Here is a link to my question there on this topic: softwarerecs.stackexchange.com/questions/74611/… May 26, 2020 at 21:16
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I experience the same problem as well. What I can do right now is to use old LCD monitor when working with white background.

Ps. I use multiple monitors with my pc. The new monitors these days are really hurting the eyes.

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The only solution I've found to the discomfort of viewing very bright whites is to adjust the temperature and brightness of the monitor.

On Windows

If you have a Dell monitor, the Dell Display Manager provides some quick color profiles that can help lessen the glare of bright whites:

https://www.dell.com/support/home/en-us/drivers/driversdetails?driverid=M33CG

Dell Display Manager Screenshot

On Linux

I use a xrandr to quickly knock down or raise brightness on all my monitors with a ruby script monitor_dim.rb

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1 Kelvin Colour Temperature Setting; 2 RGB; 3 Sharpness; 4 Brightness and Contrast.

I have a newish desktop monitor. The white has, likewise, been irritating me [explains why I am here].

I tried adjusting the, above five, settings [available to my monitor]. I find that raising the KCTS, from 6500K to 9300K, gave me a decent drop in eye fatigue. I adjusted the other settings to preference. RGB [13,13,13] and Sharpness [50%] give me palatable change. Brightness and Contrast do not do much [again: on my monitor].

I am not happy with the 60ish% white-yellowish, guesstimated, result but it's what I can do. The intense white glare is toned down but, still, glaringly obvious: sigh... Maybe default settings with sunglasses will work.

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Unfortunately, only solution I found was to switch back to good old TN monitor. Reducing brightness, contrast and gamma on a new one does not work well as it's decreases quality of a picture. Especially for gaming. You can set it to be dim enough to not hurt your eyes, but then you can't see anything in a dark parts of picture. Which is suboptimal.

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In my case, I have an ASUS laptop and my screen turned too white after I uninstalled ASUS "Armoury Crate". So if you uninstalled that, try reinstalling (seem to work for me).

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