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Published Jun 2, 2022 1:00 PM

If you spend any time working in an office (home or otherwise) you’re likely going to spend long periods of time staring at a screen, which can leave you feeling extra worn down at the end of a day. You can help to mitigate this by investing in a monitor that helps actively reduce the amount of strain your eyes have to endure. Increasingly, companies offer monitors designed to help you end your workday without feeling like a zombie. As with all monitors, trying to find a selection amongst the various offerings can be difficult, so we’re here to help you make the most informed selection. This list of the best monitors for eye strain reduction could improve how you feel in front of and away from your desk.

How we picked the best monitors for eye strain 

As monitor technology has progressed over the last decade or so, the screens have only gotten more impressive. That leads to a slew of options to consider. I’ve covered consumer technology products for more than three years, and the PopSci editors have decades of experience writing about displays and other gadgets.

In order to source our selections, we leveraged our monitor testing program, consulted opinions from pundits at various outlets and compiled consumer feedback across the web. We also drew heavily upon our own informed knowledge of monitors to compare hard specs. We selected monitors to fulfill a handful of critically important categories. While these monitors can get expensive, the options on this list top out around $800.

Things to consider before buying a monitor for eye strain

When looking to purchase the best monitor for eye strain reduction, you’ll want to keep a few different things in mind. If you’re having eye problems that include itching or blurring, headaches, discomfort, or just overall tiredness, you’re likely in the space to consider one of these monitors after talking to a healthcare professional. And while the harm-reduction features are important, you still want a well-performing screen. These variables and features are worth considering when you make your choice.

Eye strain tech

Eye strain reduction monitors are going to leverage a handful of different technologies in order to help your eyes feel less impacted. The key ones to look for include automatic brightness adjustment, blue light filters, and flicker-free abilities. 

If you’ve used an Amazon Kindle or iPad before, you’re likely used to seeing automatic brightness adjustment work in real-time. Light sensors built into a device, in this case, your monitor, help to better regulate the brightness of your monitor screen by scaling up the brightness of the screen relative to the ambient light around you. So if it’s darker inside your room, the monitor will automatically brighten up, or if it’s too bright. It will tone it down if it’s dark in the room. Not only does it save you from having to make that adjustment on your own, but your eyes also won’t have to constantly strain to adjust to the lighting in a given space. 

Blue light has gotten increased attention in the last half-decade or so as we’ve spent more and more time with technology in our lives. For those not familiar, however, a monitor can produce blue light, a short-wavelength but high-energy light that some people believe can make your eyes more prone to strain. Exposure to it at the wrong times can affect your sleep schedule. Blue light filters are now being built into a lot of monitors to actively block out that specific type of light and reduce the overall strain on your eyes. 

Typical monitors adjust their brightness by flickering or cycling through its light sources. As this occurs, the screen actually flickers at a very rapid rate. This, in turn, causes your eyes to do the same, as your pupils move from large to small or vice versa. If this is happening multiple times throughout the day, imagine all the muscles that are working overtime to support that bodily function. By opting for flicker-free functionality, your monitor maintains a single, steady stream of light to avoid having to cycle through those brightness levels.

Ergonomic design

Ergonomic design allows you to move and adjust the monitor as you see fit, so it’s positioned at your eye level. After all, not having to strain your neck is important too. If you’re trying to really dial in your ergonomic setting, consider getting a monitor with VESA mounting capabilities and an adjustable monitor arm so you can arrange your screen comfortable in front of you without the need to tilt your neck up or down.

Resolution and display tech

When it comes to the actual display on the monitor, having a high-resolution panel (at least 1080p, if not 4K), along with strong RGB color accuracy settings, and a non-LED panel help to ensure your eyes are seeing everything clearly, without having to squint to do so. Sharper edges on text make it physically easier for your eyes to read, which can really add up over time.

You’ll also want to consider the display panel the monitor is using. We recommend looking for either IPS or VA panels. IPS (in-plane switching) panels focus on the liquid crystals inside the display. These crystals move and shift horizontally, which results in better viewing angles, more realistic colors, and improved overall quality. VA panels use those same liquid crystals but align them between panes of glass to create a darker display with higher contrast. 

Curved monitors

Curved monitors can also be helpful here. While expensive, a curved monitor helps to reduce the overall image distortion that can sometimes happen at the ends and edges of a flat-screen monitor. The curve can also help to improve depth perception by covering a larger area of your field of view. That translates to seeing images that are, overall, larger and therefore easier to see and look at for extended periods of time.

Function

You’ll also want to consider how and when you’re using your monitor. If you’re primarily working a desk job in an office, your needs will be different than if you’re a Twitch streamer who is gaming all day long. For the majority of users looking to purchase an eye strain monitor, you’ll want to select a monitor with key features like flicker-free, a blue light filter, and a decent display resolution. For gamers, you may want to forgo the blue light filter so you can see the full richness of the game worlds you’re in and will also want to reach for a monitor that’s got a high refresh rate and a high (ideally) 4K resolution. 

Best monitors for eye strain: Reviews & Recommendations

No matter if you choose to go big or small, gaming or non-gaming, trusted brand or scrappy newcomer, you’ve got plenty of strong options to consider with our selections. After doing the work and research, we strongly believe these six options to be the best you can get right now across a handful of options. Dive into our choices below.

Best overall: ASUS Designo 27″ MZ27AQL

Why it made the cut: The Designo has all the features to help mitigate eye strain that you could want or need.

Specs

  • Panel type: IPS
  • Aspect Ratio: 2560×1440 (16:9)
  • Panel Style: Wide
  • Refresh rate: 60 hertz
  • Viewing angle: 178°
  • Ports: 1 x DisplayPort 1.2; 2 x HDMI 1.4
  • Ergonomics: Swivel, tilt, height adjustment
  • Frame: Ultra-Slim
  • Eye Care: TUV Rhineland-certified flicker-free; blue light filter 

Pros

  • Strong eye strain features
  • Built-in speakers and subwoofer
  • Plenty of ports
  • Ergonomic design
  • Wide viewing angle

Cons

  • No 4K

With its 1080p output, compelling overall image quality, wide viewing angles, and strong eye strain features, the ASUS Designo easily takes the top spot as our best overall monitor for eye strain. Those anti-eye strain features are where the Designo really excels; the completely flicker-free backlight and blue light filter are two critical features that will improve the amount of strain on your eyes. 

But the Designo isn’t content to just provide strong eye strain features; it’s a great work multi-use monitor as well. While we wish the output bumped up to at least 1440p, the wide viewing angle makes it great for watching widescreen streaming content. The ultra-slim design (which is totally frameless) makes it easy to pick up and move around a space, should you find the need to do so. While the included speakers and subwoofer (6W and 5W, respectively, which is pretty decent for an in-the-box offering) won’t match up to a dedicated set of bookshelf speakers or desktop speakers, they’re certainly better than absolutely nothing at all. While we do wish it had slightly more ports, the included two display ports and the dual HDMI ports should be able to handle the majority of your devices’ connections. The price itself is decent for such a value-packed option. Once you combine all of these features, you’re left with a monitor that’s easily top of the class.

Best value: SAMSUNG Odyssey G7 Series 32-Inch WQHD

Samsung

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Why it made the cut: A curved design provides plenty of on-screen real estate in addition to features media lovers will love. 

Specs

  • Panel type: IPS
  • Aspect Ratio: 2560×1440 (16:9)
  • Panel Style: Curved
  • Refresh rate: 120 hertz
  • Ports: 2 x DisplayPort 1.4; 1 x HDMI 2.0
  • Ergonomics: Swivel, tilt, height adjustment
  • Frame: Curved
  • Response time: 1ms
  • Eye Care: Curved design

Pros

  • Vivid, curved display
  • Plenty of ports
  • Ergonomic design
  • Wide viewing angle

Cons

  • No natural eye strain reduction features

The sheer largeness of the Samsung Odyssey G7 Series 32-inch WQHD extends to just about everything in this monitor. The extensive curve on it makes it feel as if you’re surrounding yourself with whatever content is on screen. While the G7 doesn’t have any dedicated eye strain features, having a large and curved monitor such as this is a considerable upgrade over any sort of existing monitor you may have already. The G7’s curve is 1000R, which actively matches the curvature of the human eye, which not only helps to pull you further into the screen but helps to ensure minimal eye strain along the way. Samsung was one of the pioneers of screens with this much curvature.

Where the real value comes from is in just how many other features the monitor manages to pack into its frame. Gamers will likely love the G7, as its 240Hz refresh rate renders images with lightning-fast precision, while the 1ms response time ensures you don’t miss anything coming from the graphics card. With G-Sync and FreeSync, the images from your graphics card will perfectly match the monitor, providing a perfect mix between frames. The 32-inch display, bolstered by Samsung’s WQHD resolution, ties everything together in a beautiful package. So while you may miss dedicated eye strain features like flicker-free and blue light reduction, the Samsung Odyssey G7 Series 32-Inch WQHD ties everything together in a stunning package that’s nearly out of this world and is a monitor you can buy and be set for the future with. 

Best with low blue light: ASUS VY279HE 27”

Why it made the cut: Blue light filtering combined with flicker-free at a great value makes this monitor a can’t-miss option.

Specs

  • Panel type: IPS
  • Aspect Ratio: 1902×1080 (16:9)
  • Panel Style: Wide
  • Refresh rate: 75 hertz
  • Viewing angle: 178°
  • Ports: 1 x HDMI 1.4; 1 x VGA
  • Ergonomics: Tilt
  • Frame: Slim
  • Response time: 1ms
  • Eye Care: TUV Rhineland-certified flicker-free; blue light filter 

Pros

  • Strong eye strain features
  • Wide viewing angle
  • Strong refresh rate

Cons

  • Short on ports

As the name would suggest, the 27-inch Full HD ASUS Eye Care+ monitor packs in features specifically focused on reducing eye strain and improving your monitor viewing experience. An ergonomic design, anti-glare surface, and 75Hz refresh rate with AMD Sync technology ensure crisp, comfortable, flicker-free playback within the 178-degree viewing angle. Customizable Color Augmentation mode can help those with color-vision deficiency, while adjustable TÜV Rheinland-certified and Low Blue Light technologies make sure high-energy blue-violet emissions are kept in check and viewing is comfortable no matter your vision. And a Rest Reminder helps users manage screen time.

Best ultrawide: LG 29WN600-W 29″

Why it made the cut: The LG 29WNG600-W’s ultrawide display comes with strong eye-strain reduction features, including a dedicated reader mode that will be handy for desk job workers.

Specs

  • Panel type: IPS
  • Aspect Ratio: 2560×1080 (21:9)
  • Panel Style: UltraWide
  • Refresh rate: 75 hertz
  • Viewing angle: 178°
  • Ports: 1 x DisplayPort 1.2; 2 x HDMI 1.4
  • Ergonomics: Tilt
  • Frame: Slim
  • Response time: 5ms
  • Eye Care: Blue light reduction; flicker-free

Pros

  • HDR for vivid images
  • Ergonomic design
  • Wide viewing angle

Cons

  • Thicker bezel
  • Eye strain features could be better

The LG 29WN600-W 29-inch ultrawide monitor certainly lives up to its name, as it has handily earned a spot on this list for being the best ultrawide monitor. At 29 inches, there’s plenty of real estate for you to watch your favorite show, work on a variety of different documents, see all of your colleagues on a Zoom call, and more. The nearly borderless design allows you to take full advantage of that sizable 29-inch display, so there’s no wasted space like you may find on other monitors. The back of the monitor also includes pretty much every port you could want, including two HDMI ports, an audio jack, and one standard display port. 

The other thing about the LG 29WN600-W 29-inch ultrawide monitor that we like is its dedicated reader mode, which provides “optimal conditions” for reading by not only reducing blue light but incorporating flicker-free technology as well. The flicker-free isn’t as strong as it is on other models, but you can easily switch over to reader mode whenever you’re settling in for a long day’s worth of work. Additional features worth mentioning are the ability to split your screen into different workspaces with the click of a mouse from the toolbar, AMD FreeSync to end any framerate choppiness, see rich black tones in your media content thanks to LG’s Black Stabilizers ability, and much more. 

Best for gaming: ASUS ROG Strix 27”

Why it made the cut: A high resolution with HDR and built-in eye care features make this gaming monitor as fun as dropping into your favorite battle royale game.

Specs

  • Panel type: IPS
  • Aspect Ratio: 2560×1440 (16:9)
  • Panel Style: Wide
  • Refresh rate: 170 hertz (overclocked)
  • Viewing angle: 178°
  • Ports: 1 x DisplayPort 1.2; 2 x HDMI 2.0; 1 x USB 3.0 upstream; 2 x USB 3.0 downstream
  • Ergonomics: Swivel, tilt, height adjustment; pivot
  • Frame: Slim
  • Response time: 1ms
  • Eye Care: Flicker-free

Pros

  • Plenty of ports
  • Ergonomic design
  • Wide viewing angle
  • 2K resolution with HDR
  • Strong refresh rate

Cons

  • Pricey

When it comes to gaming, most players will want to follow the Daft Punk philosophy: harder, better, faster, stronger. The ASUS Rog Strix XG27AQ 27-inch monitor fulfills every single one of those pillars, providing fantastic value for gamers who might also use that monitor for work as well. Diving into the gaming-oriented specs and you’ll see there’s pretty much everything they’d want here; the 27-inch screen size is just slightly larger than the monitor pro gamers use while the 1ms response rate yields crispy visuals at extensively high framerates. Additionally, G-Sync functionality makes it so you won’t see any screen tears from dropped frames. HDR allows for even richer and more vivid colors while providing richly textured blacks. 

On the eye strain side of things, the Rog Strix is missing any sort of blue light filter (a filter would reduce the overall image color) but does include flicker-free technology and a wide viewing angle to better translate the full image. Additionally, that HDR can reduce how bright you need the monitor to be overall in order to get a punchy image. With plenty of ports, an eye strain feature that won’t alter your display, and plenty of other features to ensure you don’t miss a second of your favorite game, this is a monitor that’s worthy of your beefy gaming tower—and one primed to make Daft Punk proud.

Best budget: ViewSonic VX2257-MHD

ViewSonic

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Why it made the cut: Despite its glut of features, this monitor checks in under $200.

Specs

  • Panel type: IPS
  • Aspect Ratio: 1920×1080 (16:9)
  • Panel Style: Wide
  • Refresh rate: 60 hertz
  • Viewing angle: 170°
  • Ports: 1 x DisplayPort 1.2; 1 x HDMI 1.4; 1 x VGA
  • Ergonomics: Tilt
  • Frame: Thick
  • Eye Care: Flicker-free; blue light filter 
  • Response rate: 2ms

Pros

  • Strong eye strain features
  • Strong response rate
  • Ergonomic design

Cons

  • Ergonomics limited
  • Could have more ports

Priced under $200, the ViewSonic VX2257-MHD 22-inch eye strain monitor is a little on the smaller side but it’s still a great option for work or as a secondary display. While the flicker-free and blue light filter technology is a critically important feature for an eye strain monitor, there are also plenty of other bonuses here which further serve its overall impressiveness. The 75Hz refresh rate represents a slight improvement over the typical 60Hz number. Plus, it offers AMD FreeSync to ensure the monitor isn’t dropping any frames, a feature you’ll find in many of the best gaming monitors. Additionally, the 170-degree viewing angle provides plenty of real estate for whatever activity you might be doing, whether it’s for work or for play. 

As a budget pick, however, there are some drawbacks. The monitor is just a standard 1080p output, the build is a little on the chunkier side relative to most other monitors on this list. Additionally, there isn’t much in the way of ergonomics, which may require you to get creative with how and where you place the monitor in order to get the best eye line on it, as that will be important to also help in the reduction of overall eye strain. However, if you’re on a tight budget and just want to give your eyes some relief, the VX2257 is well, well worth it.

FAQs

Q: How big is too big for an eye strain monitor?

In this particular circumstance, there’s no limit to size. Most desktop monitors aren’t any bigger than about 24 to 30 inches (with the latter being on the upper side of that), so these displays all fall into that range. Just keep in mind you’ll need the desk space to warrant it, but these monitors come with stands, so you should be able to accommodate them accordingly. Plus, the bigger the monitor, the more likely it is to prevent you from squinting all the time.

Q: How far should my monitor be from my eyes?

A general rule of thumb for screen positioning suggests you should extend your arm and hand straight out from your shoulder and place the screen right at the end of your fingertips. This will reduce strain caused by focusing on objects that are too close to you without requiring you to squint or struggle to read small text on the display. Of course, everyone is different and you may find that a little closer or farther away more comfortable for your specific biology.

Q: Are smaller screens worse for my eyes?

If you’re using a smaller screen with very high resolution, on-screen text can appear very small, which taxes your eyes when reading. If you’re using a smaller screen, you may want to enlarge the text on the display, which may require more scrolling, but less squinting.

Final thoughts on the best monitors for eye strain

The best monitors for eye strain reduction may require an investment up-front—depending upon what features you’re looking for—but the long-term benefits could be well worth it. With more and more of us working from home (and working longer hours) that extra bit of recovery makes all the difference. While no one product is ever a perfect fit, we’re confident our selections are about as perfect as you can ask for—but if something isn’t quite up to what you imagined, it’s better off to save for something that is. If you’re having eye issues, don’t assume these displays will fix it and absolutely consult a medical professional. 

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