Does any one suffer from sore/burning or tired/heavy/blurred feeling eyes particularly while programming?

The only thing I have found is it is more typical of days where I have had mixed sleep patterns and they are not consistent. However on good days, I can see clear as crystal.

If so have you been able to cure or minimise this sensation?

+24  A: 

Stop programming for a bit - it's not worth your health, and a five minute walk around the office or house will benefit you in productivity in the long run.

Patrick Harrington
+8  A: 

I had the same problem a few years ago, and my ophthalmologist prescribed a pair of reading glasses that I use when reading from a monitor. I know one person who was told to use eyedrops. I'd definitely get it checked before you permanently strain your eyes.

Bill the Lizard
+10  A: 

A few things:

  • Rest your eyes for a while!
  • Do you need glasses? Do you need to update your perscription for glasses/contacts?
  • Turn the brightness on your monitor as low as you can (while still being comfortable) and the contrast as high as you can (again while still being comfortable). This is much easier on the eyes!
Jason Baker
+26  A: 
Another thing worth pointing out in your picture is the huge fonts. I use them sometimes when I'm working on new code - apart from looking much nicer it forces me to make functions and lines shorter to keep them readable.
Ant P.
I love using VIM inkpot in VS.
Is there a guide somewhere to apply this in Adobe Dreamweaver ?
@andyk: I didn't found a guide but you can easily do it:
@JaredPar: Inkpot looks just great!, I guess it's time for changing my old VibrantInk theme
@JaredPar: Love the theme!! thanks.
@CMS yup, I know about that, I'm afraid that, without a color guide, I'll end up with a nausea-inducing color scheme :-s
Rob Conery came up with this Textmate Skin for VS2008 I really like:
I do that too, but it's debateable if this really helps or not
I use this too, but my eyes still hurt.
+3  A: 
  • Close your eyes for short periods of time
  • Look in different directions and change your focal distance
  • Remember to blink more often
  • Try wetting eye drops
David Norman

A Fork works wonders! )

Robert Gould

Red bull and vodka will minimize the sensation and maximize the fun.

+3  A: 

You should eat well. Especially lots of fruits containing antioxidants. Blackberry also good for eyes.

i find the screen on a blackberry too hard to read ;-)
Steven A. Lowe
don't apply the blackberries directly of course :P
+1  A: 

I'd say, if this is a very common problem for you, it might be a good idea to get your eyes checked. A bigger LCD monitor definitely helps. Sometimes the glare from fluorescent lights have been known to cause eye problems as well. A one hour power nap between work sessions or a 15 minute walk outside every 3 or 4 hours might help. Eye drops... I guess all of these things might help, but a balanced life may be the ticket. I suffer from binge programming. I code for 12-16 hours a day for a few days straight and then I burn out for about the same amount of time. If you cut it to 8 to 10 focused hours a day, I think you will see better overall productivity and better relationships with the people you share your life with. ;)

Thanks dude, yeah I used to do the same, a -lot-.. but now try to keep it to work hours and on weekends.

try yawning until your tear glands wet themselves. and blink a lot while you're doing that to get that extra cooling effect. and for extra kick do it loudly to annoy your coworkers.


Place your palms in front of your eyes, but keep your eyes open, so that you are staring into darkness. Do this for 30 seconds every hour (along with a routine of other exercises).

+3  A: 

There is an air-conditioning vent above me in the office too, I wonder if that has anything to do with it...

very very likely, because most air-conditioners remove humidity from the air they deliver, so your eyes are extra susceptible
Robert Gould
Blink! Seriously - when we're concentrating hard, we tend to override the reflex.
Mike Woodhouse
+1  A: 

I've always found a quick nap helps. But this is only at home. If at work or at school, I just get up, go for a walk, or close my eyes for a bit.

FYI In Japan we are allowed to take naps at work :) I never do, but lots of people do take their naps
Robert Gould
Oh wow, I heard they make you exercise during the work day as well, is that true?
Depends, but one company had a sports club in it. With all sorts of training machines
Robert Gould
Quick nap at work? humm..
I heard that in Japan you spend practically the whole day at work, so it's at least reasonable that you can have a nap.
Roman Plášil

This is what i follow for the cure (as i also suffer from same):

  1. I maintain the brightness and contrast of my monitor
  2. I close my eyes for 30 secs at stretch every 15-20 mins.
  3. I make sure my sitting position is very comfortable (splly monitor and you eyes should be almost on same angle)
  4. Eating habbits contribute a lot so atleast i do is eat my meals on time.
+1  A: 

Do not wet your eyes or expose them to the open air when they are warm. A friend of mine use to wash his eyes with cold water when he felt tired. Fortunately I realize and ask him to stop. The problem went away.

I actually did that yesterday when I had the problem, why can't you do this?
They'll hurt more each time. The sudden change of temperatures is dangerous for any part of the body ( when you're young nothing happens but with time ... ) Besides, that's what my mother always told me :) ( but related to cook and wash my hands ) Definitely my friend problems stopped with that!

You should take all the suggestions about resting your eyes and taking breaks seriously. That said, for "emergencies" I've found "eye rescue" from molton brown works wonders if it's the skin around your eyes that gets sore & burns. There are other eye-cooling product out there. YMMV but they do provide a quick cooling release.

+1  A: 

There's a visine for that... :P

In all seriousness - take a break and have a nap. If you've really gotta push it, cucumber slices work like a charm. Of course, if you're some macho guy with a sensitive ego, you might not be able to put up with the jokes from your coworkers.

but visine IS great! don't know if it's available everywhere under that name but in europe you can find it anywhere! +1 because I like both parts of the answer.
Got eyes? There's a visine for that
and you can eat the cucumbers when you done ;-)
+1  A: 

You may give eye exercises a try.

Alternatively, search 'eye exercises'.

You may find a slight improvement in bloodflow around the eye.


  1. Keep fingernails short.

  2. Wash hands regularly.

Adam Bernier

Try to change the focus of your eyes to longer distances every now and then by taking pauses and having a walk around the office.

+14  A: 

I would add these:

  • Consult with a qualified ophthalmologist;
  • Take breaks every thirty or so minutes to look at distant objects, and to close your eyes;
  • Gently wash your eyes with cold water, not least when they may be getting red, to help soothe them;
  • If you feel a heavy burden falling upon your eyes, the most likely cause is lack of proper sleep, in which case, take a nap or adjust sleeping patterns to make up for lack of sleep;
  • If you use a CRT (I know, you'd tell me no-one does, but people do, in fact, I used to in my previous office and that was one reason why I left), make sure the refresh rate is sufficiently high (probably 85Hz), or if possible and I would recommend this, ask to get it replaced with a proper LCD;
  • If eyes consistently get red and/or there is much burden on them every or most of the days, I would highly suggest you get an appointment with an ophthalmologist.

I am short-sighted (the diopter count is appallingly low, about -6 both eyes), and face all sort of problems from eye sores, headaches, to increasing burden on eyes. Seeing as I can't stay away from computers, I've to take careful steps to ensure I don't cause damage to my eyes in particular, and my health in general.

+1 for the comment about looking at distant objects. I once worked in a terribly dense 'cube farm' with 8-foot high partitions and my I could touch all 4 walls of my cube while sitting still on my chair. I went to the bathroom one day and could not find my desk on my return as everything looked the same and my long-distance vision was blurry. My manager found me after half an hour and moved my PC to the corner of his desk (a window seat) and told me to count the squirrels in the trees outside every half hour. I'm still coding and don't need eyeglasses.
+2  A: 

Here goes: Have a good stable TFT monitor (even better: have two or more). Place them at a reasonable distance (I have mine at 50cm)

What you need now is to be able to see at your monitor without eye accommodation. Your eyes when at rest can see clearly objects that are far away. They have to do work to see something that is nearer than infinity (almost everything). You can bring "infinity" at 50cm using reading glasses. You have to take into account any myopia and astigmatism you have.

That way you won't have to focus all the time at your screen. It is difficult because there are no 3d clues (it is a flat world there). You should be able to stare at your screen all day long till 200 years old (if that is what you want:)

Resume: Use reading glasses (use a VERY good optician). Everything on your monitor should be crystal clear without accommodation. Everything behind your monitor should by hazy.

+1  A: 

All the answers I've seen here so far concentrate on your eyes when it sounds like your bad sleep patterns are the root of your problem. Not sleeping is often a symptom of some quite serious diseases so you should consult a Doctor.

I had a lot of trouble with poor sleep a few years ago and after lots of tests they discovered I had Crohn's Disease. Now I'm on "the pills", I feel much better.

Martin Brown

Ergonomics - you should be looking down slightly when you are looking at the centre of your monitor. A monitor that is too low is likely to cause posture problems, too high and you end up looking up which exposes more of your eye surface, potentially causing dryness issues.

Exercising your eyes by looking occasionally to the distance and then back at your monitor is good as well (though not always easy, if you're in a small office and/or are facing a wall).

Other suggestions

  • Get the largest LCD monitor you can obtain
  • Check that you are running Windows at the same native resolution as the monitor
  • Turn on ClearType (off by default in XP, on by default in Vista) and tune it
  • Change your Windows font size settings until you find all text pleasantly readable. might also be of use

Richard Ev
+1  A: 

Programmers have a much greater tendency to go near-sighted. What I was told was that we spend so much time making our eyes focus on things up close that our eyes start to get inflexible.

Have you ever noticed how extreme bodybuilders have trouble making their arms hang straight down? Instead, they curl up a bit. That's what happens to your eyes after years of focusing up close so much; they get too pumped up and can't relax anymore.

What is suggested is that you take periodic breaks and try to focus your eyes on something far away. If you are in one end of a big building, you can praire-dog up and try to look at the far wall for a while. For most of us, a walk outside is probably the best option though. It's healthier, and you won't look quite so much like a loon.


Consider a reminder program: WorkRave gives you regular reminders to look away from the screen, get up and stretch, etc. There are plenty of them out there and they work wonders.