Headache and eyes strain with new 240Hz monitor

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CorvusCorax
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Joined: 14 Nov 2020, 06:22

Headache and eyes strain with new 240Hz monitor

Post by CorvusCorax » 16 Nov 2020, 06:34

Hi,

I recently bought new display panel Dell Alienware AW2521HF. It has good specification and reviews says it is flicker free and it's good for eyes. But sadly my eyes and head wants to explode after 1h of using this monitor. I feel pressure between my eyes and it's very uncomfortable. When I switch to my old monitor (Dell 2209WA) the symptoms dissapear.

FYI:
1. My brightness/contrast settings are 35/42.
2. I checked other cables, ports and even graphic cards.
3. When I play games with 60Hz (with G-sync on) I'm sure I see screen slightly flickering.
4. The probblem occurs in 60/120/240Hz modes.

I don't know where the problem is. Is there anyone who can explain me what's wrong with me and what should I pay attention to before I buy new monitor?

Sorry for my english.

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Chief Blur Buster
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Re: Headache and eyes strain with new 240Hz monitor

Post by Chief Blur Buster » 16 Nov 2020, 16:54

CorvusCorax wrote:
16 Nov 2020, 06:34
I recently bought new display panel Dell Alienware AW2521HF. It has good specification and reviews says it is flicker free and it's good for eyes. But sadly my eyes and head wants to explode after 1h of using this monitor. I feel pressure between my eyes and it's very uncomfortable. When I switch to my old monitor (Dell 2209WA) the symptoms dissapear.

FYI:
1. My brightness/contrast settings are 35/42.
2. I checked other cables, ports and even graphic cards.
3. When I play games with 60Hz (with G-sync on) I'm sure I see screen slightly flickering.
4. The probblem occurs in 60/120/240Hz modes.

I don't know where the problem is. Is there anyone who can explain me what's wrong with me and what should I pay attention to before I buy new monitor?
Based on my experience, I am more than 90% sure that flicker is not your problem.

There are many causes of discomfort with monitors, some people are more sensitive than others. Clearly, your problem is almost certainly not flicker-related, so try to skip that red herring to a wild goose chase. The minor flicker of G-SYNC at low frame rates would usually not be any culprit, especially if you still get headaches at 120Hz and 240Hz.

Flicker is not the only problem, there are more than 10+ other causes of discomfort with monitors:

-- Flicker discomfort
-- Motion blur discomfort
-- Stutter discomfort
-- Blue light discomfort
-- TN viewing angles discomfort
-- Antiglare texture discomfort
-- Excessive color gamut
-- Screen too bright / room lighting not bright enough
-- Screen too dim / room lighting not dark enough
-- Too close / too far / too big / too small

To help rule out problems, I need a complete history of your screen experience:
-- What was your previous screens?
-- Is this your first high-Hz screen?
-- Ever had eyestrain with other TN screens of similar size?
-- Ever had eyestrain with other IPS screens of similar size?
-- Ever had eyestrain with other VA screens of similar size?
-- Ever had eyestrain with other OLED screens of similar size?
-- How does your eyes react to different screens?
-- Any eyestrain from prolonged use of Apple screens?

Having a complete history of your screen experience will help me better deduce your probable cause of eyestrain.

I am no doctor but being Blur Busters, the name sake, sometimes I can help guide you towards the potential probable causes that will help you select the proper monitor.

Although I do not know what is the potential issue, I can tell you the differences between your old/new screen.

The AW2521HF Screen
- TN technology (worse view angles than IPS)
- LED backlight (PWM flicker free, but has worse blue light)
- Has VRR

The 2209WA Screen
- IPS technology
- CCFL backlight
- Does not have VRR to de-stutter

Consequently, my belief is that you are potentially affected by excessive blue light, because many TN LCDs (of which AW2521HF) use LED backlights that often have excessive amounts of blue light in their spectrum.

If you want some quick tests:
(A) Try Low Blue Light mode, or a warm color temperature (4000K or 5000K instead of 6500K). Does it help partially?
(B) If not orange enough, try Windows Search box -> "Night Light" -> Set to 30%-50% .... Does it help partially?
(C) Try orange-tintend glasses. Does it help partially?
(D) Try increasing viewing distance to minimum 25" or further. Does it help?

If your eyes does not have any pain when looking at other IPS screens such as Apple Macbooks, then my new recommendation for you is high-Hz IPS, perhaps one of the newer NanoIPS backlights (165Hz+ 1440p or 240Hz+ 1080p), of one of the new 'Fast IPS' panels manufactured 2020 or later, with a wide-gamut backlight (NanoIPS, Quantum Dot, etc). These screens are a wonderful pleasure to the eyes, especially when recalibrated to not have too excessive blue light.

Yes, these screens are more expensive but try to avoid narrow-gamut LED backlights (72% NTSC LED) since that is more of a frequent eyestrain-increaser in my experience from people migrating from CCFL-lit IPS towards LED-lit TN; it can be a severe ergonomic downgrade even if flicker-free. Generic cheap 72% NTSC LED is more uncomfortable than 72% NTSC CCFL in my experience, due to the strong excess blue light from old-style LED backlights.

Thusly, stick to higher quality LED backlights, like those used by Apple for their screens, and is now increasingly being used in higher-quality high-Hz screens. I get extremely few eyestrain reports from newer high-Hz IPS (especially those made in 2020 or later, ala those new "Fast IPS" panels), so you downgrade fewer or no aspects.

Even if you later find that LED causes problem. You can also use them, in conjunction with orange-tinted computer glasses, and/or Night Light mode (which may not help as fully as the glasses, but may help you enough). If you later determine that excess blue light is your actual problem, instead of flicker.

Nontheless, you will be far more likely to be able to comfortably omit the orange films with more proper LED backlights (better than the crappy 72% NTSC kind). The wider-gamut LED backlights convert more of the blue light into proper sepctrum, reducing blue light in more ways. Still, there may still be too much blue light, and you might still need some orange-tinting features to help you out a bit.

Sticking to IPS will ensure you're not downgrading panel technology (viewing angles), and avoiding the cheaper 72% NTSC LED backlights, while also using Windows NIght Light or a warmer color temperature -- will give you a better-than-50%-chance of avoiding the discomfort you are currently having. No guarantees but if you want more certainity, I need more information about your entire lifetime's screen-comfort history, to help me better diagnose your screen discomfort.

*** EDIT: It might be coil whine, nausea from near-ultrasonic sound emitted from monitor electronics.
Head of Blur Busters - BlurBusters.com | TestUFO.com | Follow @BlurBusters on Twitter

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CorvusCorax
Posts: 19
Joined: 14 Nov 2020, 06:22

Re: Headache and eyes strain with new 240Hz monitor

Post by CorvusCorax » 16 Nov 2020, 18:15

First of all - thank you for answer! I will try to test all your suggestions. For now I can describe my history of screens experience.

1. From 2010 to June 2020 I used Dell 2209WA (I know, it's crazy, but it was enough for my needs) in home for work and gaming.
2. In my workplace from 2015 to now I use Dell P2414H (it's IPS, FHD, 24")
3. From June 2020 to now I use Dell Alienware AW2521HF (I think it's IPS panel) for work and gaming in home.
4. I also use TN panels in my workplace from time to time in laptops etc.

I never had any issues with TN and IPS panels (old ones, I think), but only in 60Hz. The AW2521HF and refresh rate above 60Hz is completly new experience for me and I love to play new games with G-Sync and also old ones (emulation etc.).

I was almost sure that new monitor has some issues with flickering, because when I compared the same image on new and old monitor the new one very slightly flickering even at 240Hz. Maybe it's something with my eyes, I have no idea.

The funny thing is the headache and eyes strain is not so annoying in fast games (for example Dirt Rally), mostly in 2D games locked to 60fps and always in desktop mode (Excel, web browser, mail etc.). So, looks like static screen is killing me.

I usually set brightness and contrast to 36 and below, but AW2521HF panel has some issues with vertical lines and the only solution to eliminate them is to set contrast to 42% and above, maybe it matters and my eyes are not ready for higher contrast. No idea.

drjackmann
Posts: 30
Joined: 29 Oct 2020, 19:44

Re: Headache and eyes strain with new 240Hz monitor

Post by drjackmann » 16 Nov 2020, 20:59

I had the same problem after using CRT and then TN panels exclusively until I recently purchasing a new 1ms IPS. After a week and a half of messing with settings (including brightness turned all the way down) I couldn't avoid the headaches / eye strain. I think it's something that just takes time to adjust to (which I was prepared to try), but I ended up returning the IPS and going back to a TN panel for unrelated reasons shortly afterwards and have had no more problems.

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CorvusCorax
Posts: 19
Joined: 14 Nov 2020, 06:22

Re: Headache and eyes strain with new 240Hz monitor

Post by CorvusCorax » 18 Nov 2020, 06:10

To my above answer I can add:

(A) Try Low Blue Light mode, or a warm color temperature (4000K or 5000K instead of 6500K). Does it help partially?

There is Comfort View preset in OSD. It helps, but only a little and maybe it's placebo. I also checked different setting for brightness and contrast without any serious impact for comfort.

(B) If not orange enough, try Windows Search box -> "Night Light" -> Set to 30%-50% .... Does it help partially?

As above.

(C) Try orange-tintend glasses. Does it help partially?

Don't have one. But... is there any need for this if in my workplace I spend almost 7h using Dell P2414H (it's IPS, FHD, 24") without any problems with headache and eyes strain?

(D) Try increasing viewing distance to minimum 25" or further. Does it help?

I tried different position before. Nothings change.

-----------

For now I put this monitor in different place in home (different light) and connected it to SNES Mini (through HDMI). The problem is still here.

-----------

Is there any test for flickering? Maybe record screeen in 60fps?

Jason38
Posts: 91
Joined: 24 May 2019, 10:23

Re: Headache and eyes strain with new 240Hz monitor

Post by Jason38 » 18 Nov 2020, 18:32

CorvusCorax wrote:
18 Nov 2020, 06:10
To my above answer I can add:

(A) Try Low Blue Light mode, or a warm color temperature (4000K or 5000K instead of 6500K). Does it help partially?

There is Comfort View preset in OSD. It helps, but only a little and maybe it's placebo. I also checked different setting for brightness and contrast without any serious impact for comfort.

(B) If not orange enough, try Windows Search box -> "Night Light" -> Set to 30%-50% .... Does it help partially?

As above.

(C) Try orange-tintend glasses. Does it help partially?

Don't have one. But... is there any need for this if in my workplace I spend almost 7h using Dell P2414H (it's IPS, FHD, 24") without any problems with headache and eyes strain?

(D) Try increasing viewing distance to minimum 25" or further. Does it help?

I tried different position before. Nothings change.

-----------

For now I put this monitor in different place in home (different light) and connected it to SNES Mini (through HDMI). The problem is still here.

-----------

Is there any test for flickering? Maybe record screeen in 60fps?
I have issues with blue light, flicker, frame drops and motion blur is probably my worst culprit. I would imagine the SNES mini would give you tons of strain because of the high amount of motion blur. I have used it along with a few other mini systems. While I believe for the most part it solved the shimmering pixels issue with it's interpolation option the motion blur will be really high on it. SNES games were designed for CRT pulsed screens. I forget what is on that SNES mini list but if some of those games run at 30FPS the chance for strain goes way up. I think most of them are 60FPS though.

As far as blue light part of it turning the brightness down to zero is your best option. This is how I run all my LED screens. There has been a few studies on blue light software filters with LED and they are a bust because the blue light bleeds through all the black pixels anyways. OLED and a blue light filter would be the only way software would do anything as each pixel is controlled and the color black just turns right off.

A quick test would be to download retro arch and set your monitor to 120 refresh rate. Now run the 120 black frame insertion mode. This will half the brightness and decrease motion blur. How does that feel on your eyes now? Make sure you are playing games that run at 60FPS though. Usually pretty easy when you stick to SNES/GENESIS/NES. I get zero strain from BFI and it's become something I've been incredibly interested in as you can get hardware BFI options in a lot of newer screens.

As for orange glasses if you have to go that route I wear SCT orange glasses that I ordered from Amazon. I only wear them for my work because of the super bright LED's. I don't need to wear them at home on my gaming screens.
https://www.amazon.ca/Uvex-Blocking-Com ... =hi&sr=1-1

Another thing to consider is and I'm not 100% sure on this. It seems I do the best with TN panels as I have struggled with IPS and VA to a lesser extent. I'm going to take chief's info into consideration though and I might buy one of those new 2020 IPS panels to see if it solves my blue light issues. I've learned though no matter what screen I'm using CRT/Plasma/LED/OLED I just don't like bright screens so I usually keep the brightness way down and I have no issues.

Good luck!

User avatar
CorvusCorax
Posts: 19
Joined: 14 Nov 2020, 06:22

Re: Headache and eyes strain with new 240Hz monitor

Post by CorvusCorax » 21 Nov 2020, 08:24

Hi,
thanks for answer and help, but I think the problem is with some hidden flickering. No idea how to describe that, I recorded video to show you that. It's in 30fps and the screen is set to 240Hz.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/XJ1iAtcgLttfR46EA

Yesterday I spend whole day with using my old monitor, no issues.

Today I switched to new one and I see the difference.

Lauda89
Posts: 2
Joined: 23 Nov 2020, 07:31

Re: Headache and eyes strain with new 240Hz monitor

Post by Lauda89 » 24 Nov 2020, 06:53

Chief Blur Buster wrote:
16 Nov 2020, 16:54
CorvusCorax wrote:
16 Nov 2020, 06:34
I recently bought new display panel Dell Alienware AW2521HF. It has good specification and reviews says it is flicker free and it's good for eyes. But sadly my eyes and head wants to explode after 1h of using this monitor. I feel pressure between my eyes and it's very uncomfortable. When I switch to my old monitor (Dell 2209WA) the symptoms dissapear.

FYI:
1. My brightness/contrast settings are 35/42.
2. I checked other cables, ports and even graphic cards.
3. When I play games with 60Hz (with G-sync on) I'm sure I see screen slightly flickering.
4. The probblem occurs in 60/120/240Hz modes.

I don't know where the problem is. Is there anyone who can explain me what's wrong with me and what should I pay attention to before I buy new monitor?
Based on my experience, I am more than 90% sure that flicker is not your problem.

There are many causes of discomfort with monitors, some people are more sensitive than others. Clearly, your problem is almost certainly not flicker-related, so try to skip that red herring to a wild goose chase. The minor flicker of G-SYNC at low frame rates would usually not be any culprit, especially if you still get headaches at 120Hz and 240Hz.

Flicker is not the only problem, there are more than 10+ other causes of discomfort with monitors:

-- Flicker discomfort
-- Motion blur discomfort
-- Stutter discomfort
-- Blue light discomfort
-- TN viewing angles discomfort
-- Antiglare texture discomfort
-- Excessive color gamut
-- Screen too bright / room lighting not bright enough
-- Screen too dim / room lighting not dark enough
-- Too close / too far / too big / too small

To help rule out problems, I need a complete history of your screen experience:
-- What was your previous screens?
-- Is this your first high-Hz screen?
-- Ever had eyestrain with other TN screens of similar size?
-- Ever had eyestrain with other IPS screens of similar size?
-- Ever had eyestrain with other VA screens of similar size?
-- Ever had eyestrain with other OLED screens of similar size?
-- How does your eyes react to different screens?
-- Any eyestrain from prolonged use of Apple screens?

Having a complete history of your screen experience will help me better deduce your probable cause of eyestrain.

I am no doctor but being Blur Busters, the name sake, sometimes I can help guide you towards the potential probable causes that will help you select the proper monitor.

Although I do not know what is the potential issue, I can tell you the differences between your old/new screen.

The AW2521HF Screen
- TN technology (worse view angles than IPS)
- LED backlight (PWM flicker free, but has worse blue light)
- Has VRR

The 2209WA Screen
- IPS technology
- CCFL backlight
- Does not have VRR to de-stutter

Consequently, my belief is that you are potentially affected by excessive blue light, because many TN LCDs (of which AW2521HF) use LED backlights that often have excessive amounts of blue light in their spectrum.

If you want some quick tests:
(A) Try Low Blue Light mode, or a warm color temperature (4000K or 5000K instead of 6500K). Does it help partially?
(B) If not orange enough, try Windows Search box -> "Night Light" -> Set to 30%-50% .... Does it help partially?
(C) Try orange-tintend glasses. Does it help partially?
(D) Try increasing viewing distance to minimum 25" or further. Does it help?

If your eyes does not have any pain when looking at other IPS screens such as Apple Macbooks, then my new recommendation for you is high-Hz IPS, perhaps one of the newer NanoIPS backlights (165Hz+ 1440p or 240Hz+ 1080p), of one of the new 'Fast IPS' panels manufactured 2020 or later, with a wide-gamut backlight (NanoIPS, Quantum Dot, etc). These screens are a wonderful pleasure to the eyes, especially when recalibrated to not have too excessive blue light.

Yes, these screens are more expensive but try to avoid narrow-gamut LED backlights (72% NTSC LED) since that is more of a frequent eyestrain-increaser in my experience from people migrating from CCFL-lit IPS towards LED-lit TN; it can be a severe ergonomic downgrade even if flicker-free. Generic cheap 72% NTSC LED is more uncomfortable than 72% NTSC CCFL in my experience, due to the strong excess blue light from old-style LED backlights.

Thusly, stick to higher quality LED backlights, like those used by Apple for their screens, and is now increasingly being used in higher-quality high-Hz screens. I get extremely few eyestrain reports from newer high-Hz IPS (especially those made in 2020 or later, ala those new "Fast IPS" panels), so you downgrade fewer or no aspects.

Even if you later find that LED causes problem. You can also use them, in conjunction with orange-tinted computer glasses, and/or Night Light mode (which may not help as fully as the glasses, but may help you enough). If you later determine that excess blue light is your actual problem, instead of flicker.

Nontheless, you will be far more likely to be able to comfortably omit the orange films with more proper LED backlights (better than the crappy 72% NTSC kind). The wider-gamut LED backlights convert more of the blue light into proper sepctrum, reducing blue light in more ways. Still, there may still be too much blue light, and you might still need some orange-tinting features to help you out a bit.

Sticking to IPS will ensure you're not downgrading panel technology (viewing angles), and avoiding the cheaper 72% NTSC LED backlights, while also using Windows NIght Light or a warmer color temperature -- will give you a better-than-50%-chance of avoiding the discomfort you are currently having. No guarantees but if you want more certainity, I need more information about your entire lifetime's screen-comfort history, to help me better diagnose your screen discomfort.
Hello Mark,

this is a super nice post. Often in others forum the typical reply is "go to visit a doctor".
I've discovered to have eye/brain issue with some devices 3 years ago when I changed my monitor from a 1080P CCFL TN to a LED 4K IPS. Now, i can say that is not a display problem but the entire interaction between software and hardware.
I am using the Alienware AW2518HF (1080P 240 Hz TN panel) with AMD RX 480 GPU and this combination was fine until I tried to upgrade Windows 10 from 1903 to 2004. I tried to use that setup for an entire weekend spending a lot of hours gaming and the result was a disaster. Dizziness, nausea, eye strain and even my neck was "stuck". after that I wasn't able to use any other devices that I had (Iphone X, Ipad Air 2, Dell Latitude E5550 and LG B8 OLED tv) for 2 weeks without experiencing disconformity.
Now I am back to W10 1903 and I can use that setup again all day.
I had a problem also when I bought the MacBook air 2018 and MacBook pro 16" 2019 and also in that case I had issues even with my external monitor, so again, in my opinion, the main problem is the software and not the hardware.

From a medical point of view i have 0.5 astigmatism and also a small amount of esophoria.
It's seams like with a good setup (i don't know what is a good setup, because one software upgrade can destroy it) my esophoria don't cause me any problem instead with a bad setup it can kill me.
I should try to do some visual therapy or trying to use prisms glasses but i want to understand what is that cause me this problem and not learning to force my body to adapt to it.

Have a nice day!

rasmas
Posts: 148
Joined: 03 Jan 2018, 15:25

Re: Headache and eyes strain with new 240Hz monitor

Post by rasmas » 25 Nov 2020, 11:51

Probably it won't be too useful but i wrote something about my own eye strain on another thread, so i'll link it here just in case you can get any info from it.
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=7573#p57979

Good luck, and let us know if you could "fix(?)" it ;) .

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Hadookaan
Posts: 14
Joined: 01 May 2019, 09:18
Location: UK

Re: Headache and eyes strain with new 240Hz monitor

Post by Hadookaan » 25 Nov 2020, 23:29

I know your issue that you are talking about, as I have had similar issue in the past, when I used the dell S2719DGF 27 and 24in 2k 165hz TN panel, its not the panel but the shimmering on the antiglare coating, no matter what I did, I couldn't get the extreme eye strain to stop the only way I got it to stop was sending back the monitor, the eye strain to headache was so bad I was squinting when using the monitor when I 1st got it it was good for an 1+hr then eye couldn't look at the screen after 30 mins,
then I got the 27 in acer 165hz XB271HUbmiprz IPS, which I have to this day no issues with its light antiglare coating,

I thought it was a TN problem until I decided to try the dell Alienware AW2518HF and the LG LG 27GK750F both TN's no I stain no shimmering no issues, can use them all day no probs.

So your issue is either the aggressive antiglare coating and the Nano filter, or a combination of these things many people have different issues as chief mentioned, my personal issue was the coating etc, its solved now for me if I ever get any monitor in the future, and I have this problem it goes back straight away, unless its OLED :mrgreen: :)

I recently tried the the 27GL850-B 27 that was good just slight eye strain, probably due to very colour heavy Nano coating, I sent it back but it was nowhere as bad as the the 2k dell's I tried,

This is an issue I Had at the time I tried to search for on google, back then,(4-5years ago) but there is nothing out there on the net, had to work it out myself, I think a lot of people have this issue but don't know how to explain it properly, or don't know why they are getting this problem, so I hope this helps you and many other having a similar issue to the one I had! don't for get to check my YouTube channel of the same name, Hadookaan shameless plug :)

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