How to Reduce and Eliminate Glare and Eyestrain

Woman rubbing her eyes
 Getty Images

Glare is caused by the reflection of light off of surfaces and is a primary cause of eyestrain. You can get rid of glare by controlling the light source, adapting the surface reflecting it, or by filtering it before it reaches your eyes. Significant causes of eyestrain are staring at the same distance for a long period of time, such as at a computer monitor or other electronic device or because of driving long distances without a break. These environments can be adapted to be better for your eyes. 

Adjust the Light Source

Direct light causes the most glare. Examine whether lighting that's overhead or behind is shining on your computer monitor and take steps to reduce it. Use a desk lamp for directed, diffused task lighting when needed instead of bright overhead light. 

Use curtains or translucent plastic blinds on windows. Closing these will diffuse the incoming sunlight light instead of reflecting it, like metal or wood blinds do. 

You don't want to strain to see in dim light, though, either. Light that's too dim can lead to eyestrain as well. 

Adjust the Surface

Shininess is measured by reflection and glare. That means the duller the surface, the less glare there will be. Use work surfaces that have matte finishes. Some items, like computer screens, are inherently smooth and therefore glossy. Use a glare filter over them.​

Place your work surface at a right angle to the direct light source, such as a window. Items 90 degrees to the light have the least amount of reflection and glare. In addition, don't position your monitor in front of a bright white wall.  

Keep your monitor clean of dust, as having a dirty monitor will lower its contrast, making it harder to read. Dark text on a light background is the easiest to read, so opt for that environment rather than funky color schemes for daily work. And don't feel like you're a codger if you blow up text on your page to make it easier to read. Your eyes will thank you.

Adjust your brightness and contrast on your computer monitor, following Wired's advice when looking at a white background on your display: "If it looks like a light source in the room, it's too bright. If it seems dull and gray, it's probably too dark."  

Shield Your Eyes

If you cannot eliminate the glare, then stop it before it gets to your eyes. Polarized lenses on sunglasses eliminate a lot of glare. Prescription lenses can be polarized as well. This is the best option when driving, because you cannot control the light source or the surface.

Anti-glare coatings for prescription lenses are worth the money for people who stare at computer screens all day. Even if you do not need corrective lenses but suffer from eyestrain, you can get all the benefits of anti-glare lenses without them being ground to a prescription. Consult your eye doctor for more information on this.

Sporting equipment offers another alternative. Shooting and hunting glasses dramatically reduce glare as well, may wrap around your face to keep out dust and wind, and have some impact resistance, more than normal sunglasses.