News & Media |  Donate  |  Contact Us | 
Asked Questions
San Francisco Health Network

We're moving to, a user-centered, services-first, accessible website.

Knowledge Sharing & Collaboration

Got Glare

Be sure to take short eye breaks when working at the computer to reduce the potential for eye strain.

You can relax your eyes by focusing on an object in the distance, at least 20 feet away (either across the room or outside your window) for 30 seconds or more.


Occupational Safety & Health

Got Glare?

What is Glare?

Glare is produced when a light source, such as sunlight through a window or overhead fluorescent lighting, reflects off the computer screen and makes it difficult for you to see clearly. Whenever possible, glare on monitor screens should be eliminated at the source to reduce the potential for eye strain and physical discomfort. Every effort you make to eliminate glare will improve and promote a healthier and productive work environment.


Problems Resulting from Glare

Eye strain, eye fatigue, and headaches are among the most common problems caused by glare. Glare may also promote awkward postures when you reposition yourself to avoid seeing the glare on your monitor screen. As a result, the adjustments you make to your body may contribute to neck, shoulder, back and arm aches.


Ways to Get Rid of Glare

First ask yourself, "what is the source of the glare?" The two most common sources of glare are sunlight through windows and overhead lighting. Here are some ideas to reduce glare from both these sources:

Source: Light from a Window
  • Orient the computer monitor so that windows are not directly behind or in front of you.
  • Close your blinds, shades, or drapes.
  • Use a glare screen. Be sure to clean the screen frequently to eliminate fingerprints and dust that can reduce the clarity of the screen text.
  • Make a visor for your monitor. A visor works much like a brim of a hat, to keep unwanted light from hitting your screen. You can easily make your own visor using cardboard, scissors and tape. First, measure the distance across the top of your monitor and add 10 inches. This will be your measurement for length. Next, draw the visor on a piece of cardboard using a width of 5 inches and the number of inches you calculated above for length. The drawing should look like a very long rectangle. Cut out the visor and center it at the top of your monitor extending it about 3 inches in front of the screen. Allow 5 inches to stick out to the sides. Then, tape the top of the visor in place. Finish by bending down and taping the 5 inch sides to the side of your monitor. Visors can also be purchased through computer or office supply vendors.
Source: Ceiling Lights
  • Turn off or reduce ceiling lights and use task lighting (one or more adjustable lamps) to illuminate your work. Focus task lights directly onto documents, not onto the screen so it doesn't become a new source of glare.
  • If you cannot control the ceiling lights, try positioning your monitor between rows of lights instead of directly beneath a row of lights. Make sure fluorescent lights have the plastic cover or grill in place so the light diffuses properly.
  • Tilt the monitor screen so that it is parallel to your eyes, not tilting upwards.
  • Use a glare screen or visor as explained above.