Hidden Strobe Lights in the Office

Did you know that you are staring at strobe lights all day long? The energy-efficient, LED computer screens on your desktop are made up of flashing light-emitting diodes that fire about 60 times per second. This high speed blinking is too fast for your brain to register, but the cells in your eyes are reacting to the rapidly oscillating light nonetheless, causing fatigue. To make matters worse, computer displays default to producing significant levels of blue light is known to cause Digital Eye Strain; headaches, sore, tired, burning, itchy or dry eyes. Our daily grind in the office consists of staring for hours into a pulsating blue light. Thankfully, discomfort from working in front of these 16:9 strobe lights can be minimized with two easy steps:

Speed up the Refresh Rate

A screen’s refresh rate is the number of times per second a display refreshes its image. This rate is measured in Hertz, often shown as “Hz”. Monitors and television screens traditionally have refresh rates of 60Hz, which means that the screen image updates 60 times per second. Think about the strain on your eyes when you go from darkness to light. Being exposed to a constant light source is easiest on the eyes, but if you have to be exposed to flickering lights then the faster the refresh rate the better. This minimizes the size and duration of the adjustment needed to be made by eyes. While online gamers have paid heed to the measurement for years, upgrading to 120Hz or 144Hz as to maximize their gaming reaction time, the corporate world purchases based on price and opts for the economical standard of 60Hz.

If you’re in the market for a new computer display, look for the 120Hz or 144Hz models. You can even go to a local electronic store and test the difference! Grab the mouse and move in circles. The pointer on a 60Hz screen will tend to jump around much more than on a 120Hz screen.

If you’re stuck using the company equipment make sure the refresh rate settings are optimized.

If you are a Windows User, follow the below steps:

  • RIght-click desktop and choose “Display settings.”
  • Then click “Advanced display settings.”
  • Then click “Display adapter properties.”
  • Select the “Monitor” tab.
  • Use drop-down to select highest Hertz available.

Minimize the Blue Light

Blue light is the shortest wavelength of visible light spectrum, meaning it is the highest energy light your eyes can detect. The Vision Council reports that over 60% of those using digital devices for two hours or more per day experience digital eye strain. Studies are linking this impact to blue light, specifically the way in which the nanometers of this range affect the eye. The short-wavelength blue light penetrates deeper into the eye, creating the potential for Digital Eye Strain.

If you experience any of the following Digital Eye Strain symptoms, consider investing in a pair of Blue Light filtering glasses:

  • Headache
  • Neck/shoulder/back pain
  • Eye strain
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes

Finally, give your eyes a break with the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes look away 20 feet for 20 seconds. You may not be able to completely escape the exposure to the strobing blue light from your digitally-centered work, but, taking simple steps, you can start to protect yourself from the impact.