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Trading Migraines – Retina Management for Longevity
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Trading Migraines – Retina Management for Longevity

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Trading Migraines – Retina Management for Longevity

Hi Guys,

A lengthy post and apologies if this has been discussed before. I don’t know where to place this topic as it isn’t really about trading, money management or psychological, but rather half physiological and half about a proper workspace lighting setup. I’ve read about some traders prefer trading in a dark room with ambient backlight like a home theatre, but on the other hand some trading floors/desks with day light streaming in and some computers facing a picturesque sunset. I wanted to open to discussion to anyone who has had any experience in the proper lighting setup for a trading office/floor, workspace or even anyone who has had migraines/eyestrain experiences and circumvented it.

On my end, I occasionally get terrible migraines from staring at the screens. Mornings typically start of great, but as the day goes on and from what I have noticed especially in the afternoons, there are times where I cannot bring myself to look at screens any further for the day due to these eyestrain/migraines. I am totally clueless in respect to good workspace lighting and am currently experimenting with several ideas below which maybe completely misguided so please correct me if I'm wrong. I do think the main source of problems comes 2 sources of glare and the main cause comes from improper direct light fixtures used in the trading room which I currently have and might need to change.

Reducing Glare from the Computer
  1. Charts – Black blackgrounds and earthy colours for candlesticks. Easier on the eye and just enough contrast.
  2. Distance from Screen - Sitting about an arm’s length (~ 50cm) to the monitor.
  3. Changing Font - Under Start > Adjust the Appearance > Uncheck “Smooth edges of screen fonts”
  4. Rest - Taking a break every 20 minutes to look at an object 20 meters away.
  5. BackLight - Would a backlight on the monitor be of use?
  6. Privacy Filters – Would these be of any use for LCD/LED monitors?
  7. Brightness and Contrast - Reduce Brightness and Contrast to as low as possible (in my case 0 and 25)
  8. Visual Alignment - Aligning chair height in line with main monitor. (I am using a 2 x 2 vertical monitor setup and found myself slightly looking down at the main monitor)

Reducing Glare from the Room
  1. Desk Position - Trading desk to be perpendicular to the window instead of facing the window to avoid glare from behind or reflected off the monitor.
  2. Overhead Light – Direct overhead light should be avoided.
  3. Afternoon Glare - Blinds/Curtains/tinted windows if possible to control afternoon glare
  4. Lux Levels - Home offices should have illuminance between 300 to 500 lux. Lower illuminance will provide better computer screen quality and screen glare. (Still reading up on this)
  5. Light fixtures – There are namely 4 kinds of light fixtures that distribute light in different ways. Of which Indirect lighting is most commonly used to raise the background luminance against which the glare source is seen.
    • Direct – 100% of light downwards toward which creates shadows
    • Direct / Indirect – e.g Bulbs distribute light equally upward and downward
    • Indirect – They provide the most even illumination of all the types of fixtures and the least direct glare. Indirect light fixtures are usually used in offices.
    • Shielded – use diffusers, lenses and louvers to cover bulbs from direct view; therefore, helping to prevent glare and distribute light.

There are both short term costs of losing productivity and feeling emotionally exhausted after the work day due to migraines and unforeseen effects of prolonged eyestrain over the years. Us traders being very heavy screen users, we can all benefit from improved trading ergonomics specifically to the eye so please feel free to share any of your ideas or experiences! A thank you in advance!

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  #3 (permalink)
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Quite important subject. I have added a few remarks below.


Ming80 View Post

Reducing Glare from the Computer
  1. Charts – Black blackgrounds and earthy colours for candlesticks. Easier on the eye and just enough contrast. -> Dark gray is recommended as it reduces contrast.
  2. Distance from Screen - Sitting about an arm’s length (~ 50cm) to the monitor. -> With 24'' monitors 75 cm is better, this is what I use.
  3. Changing Font - Under Start > Adjust the Appearance > Uncheck “Smooth edges of screen fonts”
  4. Rest - Taking a break every 20 minutes to look at an object 20 meters away. This is what I should do, but I often forget to do it....
  5. BackLight - Would a backlight on the monitor be of use?
  6. Privacy Filters – Would these be of any use for LCD/LED monitors?
  7. Brightness and Contrast - Reduce Brightness and Contrast to as low as possible (in my case 0 and 25) -> I use 30/70, but the setting depends on the monitor, low brightness also reduces energy consumption.
  8. Visual Alignment - Aligning chair height in line with main monitor. (I am using a 2 x 2 vertical monitor setup and found myself slightly looking down at the main monitor) -> It is recommended to look down a little bit.

There are both short term costs of losing productivity and feeling emotionally exhausted after the work day due to migraines and unforeseen effects of prolonged eyestrain over the years. Us traders being very heavy screen users, we can all benefit from improved trading ergonomics specifically to the eye so please feel free to share any of your ideas or experiences! A thank you in advance!


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Have been staring at computer screens since '84. Some years ago I bought my first LED screen and very soon had tiring eyes and headaches.

In the end I found that PWM (Pulse Width Modulation which controls the brightness of most LED screens) was at the root of this. My eyes feel a lot better these days after I moved to non-PWM screens . Use Google to find the website that list the different montiors that have a non PWM backlighting.


Last edited by daVinci; June 3rd, 2014 at 07:51 AM.
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