I'm fairly new to editing large video projects, and I notice my eyes get fatigued after editing for a few hours. Is this common? How can I minimize eye strain? E.g.: best monitor settings, specific display models you recommend, break frequency, specific break activities, etc.

For what it's worth, I'm using Premiere Pro CC 2014 on a Mac on a Samsung SyncMaster 244T LCD monitor. A lot of my footage is shaky, though, and some of it shot in low light. I'm not sure if either of those make a difference.

I think my monitor is a healthy distance, and I've tried computer goggles like these, but they don't seem to make a big difference.


First, I have never seen anyone use one of those goggles; if you ask me, that's utter nonsense, but go ahead and do your own research. Or just try them, 18 $ is not that much, and you can always return them if you order from Amazon (even though that's not ecologically responsible) ...

There are a couple of problems related to staring at a monitor for a prolonged time, which include depletion of your eye's Rhodopsin stores (cause of several vision-related problems), a lowered blink rate which will dry out your eyes (which in turn is bad for you in a couple of ways) and a reduced melatonin production (which causes sleeping problems). There are a couple of things you can do (I don't make any promises that this list will be exhaustive):

The 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes of staring at a computer, look at something that's at least 20 feet away from you, for at least 20 seconds. I also find it useful to focus on different things at varying distances. This will prevent tunnel vision and give your eyes a break.

Massaging. Sounds stupid, but I find massaging my eyes every now and then quite relaxing on the eyes. What I do is rub my hands to warm them up, then press them on my closed eyes, rotating them slowly. There are more techniques out there, you should go ahead and google a bit, try out different techniques until you find one that works for you. There's also a couple of other exercises that come down to use your eyes for something other than staring at your monitor from time to time.

Vitamin A. Vitamin A is supposed to prevent several vision problems for reasons. While I'm not sure if it will have any noticable effect on your eyes and it certainly won't keep your eyes from getting exhausted, eating a carrot every now and then won't hurt anyway.

Monitor temperature. The problem with computer monitors is that they mostly emanate blue light which is also bad for us. This has for example been shown to cause sleep issues. To reduce that effect, use f.lux or similar software that will adjust your monitor's color temperature. I have used it for some time and find it increases the time I can spend in front of a computer screen (especially at night) before my eyes start to hurt. A little warning: This will conflict with color correction / grading. I once color corrected a video that turned out completely blue and cold, because I compensated for an overall warm look that was actually caused by f.lux, so make sure to turn it off before doing color-sensitive work. For smartphones, there's Twilight. (f.lux and Twilight look curious at first, but you'll forget they're even there after a couple of days, so stick with it through this initial awkwardness.)

Distance to your monitor. Maintain a healthy distance between your head and your monitor. This means at least an arm's length (though some sites will tell you it should be more or less; there isn't an exact answer, really).

Take breaks and listen to your eyes. Even if you do all those things, eventually your eyes will tell you to take a break. When they do, listen to them! We're just not made for spending 8+ hours looking at a computer screen, so make sure to take regular breaks and do something else every now and then. You can also monitor your screen time and note how long it takes for your eyes to start aching, and then adjust your break frequency accordingly.

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  • I have the feeling I forgot one or two things; I will add them to the list if and when I remember them. There are a couple of good articles on the topic to be found on the internet, so I encourage everyone reading this to do their own research. – MoritzLost Oct 12 '15 at 12:36
  • Thanks for the thorough response! I didn't know about the Rhodopsin stores – Gene Oct 12 '15 at 19:47
  • As for the computer glasses, I've noticed they helped before on other displays for coding and general computer use, but I kept them off for editing because they do have a slight yellow tint. As you suggested, though, I could try them on for non-color work and only take them off for color correction/grading.. – Gene Oct 12 '15 at 19:54

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