My monitor is too BRIGHT!

by James on 14 May 2007

When I’m in the middle of a major migraine attack, there are few things worse than a bright computer screen.  On the other hand, sometimes doing something on the computer can get my mind off the pain.  So, I dim the screen a lot.

On some computers, this is easy.  On others, it isn’t.  Here are some quick tips for getting that screen dim when you want it dim…

Dim the internet:  This is the killer idea that inspired me to write this post.  It’s called the Darken bookmarklet.  Open up that page using Firefox, Internet Explorer or Opera, and install the bookmarklet as directed.  Then, whenever you need less light, wherever you are on the net, click the button.  BANG!  The page now has a dark background with grey type.  Much better.

Darken

The drawback is that you do need to do this for each page you visit.  If you’re surfing wildly, that could be difficult.  However, if you use the Firefox browser (and you might as well – it’s free), you can use the Greasemonkey extension to do all kinds of nifty things to the websites you visit.  In this case, you can install a Darken script that allows you to permanently darken certain pages.

A couple other dim ideas?  Here’s a screen dimmer for Mac, with a lot of options.  Finally, a screensaver that simply gradually dims your screen – great if you’re stuck in the same room with your computer and you need to leave it on.  All three of these ideas came from Lifehacker, the Productivity and Software Guide (no, they didn’t pay me for the mention!).

One final idea for you.  On some computers, especially laptops, there are settings for dimming your monitor.  You may need to make sure you have the latest software from your laptop’s manufacturer, especially if you’ve upgraded your laptop since you bought it (ie to XP or Vista).  You might even be able to have a setting on your computer labeled Ack!  I have a headache!, so that you can click it and automatically dim your screen.

Any other good tips out there for dimming your computer screen?

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

April May 6, 2007 at 2:54 pm

Why are you on the computer or doing anything if you supposedly have a MIGRAINE?? I don’t think you know what a migraine is!!

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James May 6, 2007 at 5:15 pm

Wow, that’s quite a comment! The answer is that migraines truly come in all different shapes and sizes. It is possible for some people, some times, to go to work and function (sort of) with a migraine.

Other times, you can hardly move. Trust me, I’ve been writhing on the floor in pain unable to stand up.

Both of those are migraine, both are bad, but during the former you just might appreciate a darker screen. :)

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Jo July 11, 2011 at 11:29 am

I have recently discovered that I suffer with Visual Aura Migraines – this is as a result of working with computers for 8 hours a day. I can still function – I dont get the crippling physical problems just lots of hyper-sensitivity to light (especially the blue end of the spectrum) – once my eyes have gone, it often takes days for them to stabilise again. It was the optician who confirmed what the ‘spangles’ were on the edges of my peripheral vision, and it also makes me really grumpy!!

Woudl like to say I found this post very interesting as my monitor does not appear to have any control for adjusting brightness & contrast, which is a bit rubbish!!

PS. I ike the resizable comments box, that really useful.

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Gwynhwyfar January 10, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Like Jo, I was recently diagnosed with Visual Aura, or “Ocular” migraines. What changed in my life? The acquisition of a new, bright, flat panel monitor! Like James, I might get nothing but an aura, which hampers the ability to do anything involving sight. Or like yesterday, I could be laid out with an icepack on my eye (and neck…the pain can hit various spots on or near the head). So, yes, not all migraines are the classic, must-be-in-a-dark-room kind. I followed the suggestions here, adjusted my screen (an HP 2311x) for the darker “text” setting and we’ll see. It seems much less annoying already. I may make it even darker.
Thanks for the info.!

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Gwynhwyfar January 10, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Addendum: for some fun (after your headache subsides) do a search of “migraine auras” and click on “Images”. You may find your personal “aura” matches many others. I did. Sometimes, they strobe (even if you never took acid)!

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Jill September 26, 2012 at 11:44 pm

I installed a program onto my computer called “f.lux”. I never have to worry about having an extremely bright computer screen now. My eyes are nice and relaxed every time I look at the screen. The program matches the brightness of the screen to the brightness of the day outside.

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James September 27, 2012 at 10:16 am

Jill, I’ve used f.lux too, and really like it. If anyone wants to give it a try, it’s a free download here: http://stereopsis.com/flux/

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