Decreasing your Eye Strain will Improve your Japanese Experience

As I’m assuming most of you spend a large amount of time on the computer, I don’t need to tell you about eye strain.  Why should you care?  It affects your focus and concentration, will make you more tired, and will leave you less motivated to study Japanese.  I’ve found that reading Japanese also tends to make your eyes get tired slightly quicker than reading English, due to the finer detail of the characters.

Now I’m not going to tell you to decrease your computer usage, that would just be silly, but I’ve discovered two tips that are very helpful to decreasing eye strain:

1.  If you are using any program to learn Japanese (ex. Anki) that you stare at for a lengthy amount of time, changing the colors can seriously reduce eye strain.  Black text on a white background, while the convention of most websites and may look the nicest, actually causes a lot of eye strain.  You can see some people arguing about it here.  I tested out a few combos, and found that yellow text on dark blue is very easy on the eyes, even when studying for many hours.  I recommend finding what works best for you.

My Anki looks like this:

2.  Take staring breaks.  Staring at a very close object (the computer screen) should be alternated with staring at a very far object (not the computer screen).  Take a break every 45-60 minutes, look out your window at something far away, and stare at it for a minute.  This is supposed to readjust your eyes and ease the strain.

For example, if this was the view from your house/apartment:

Staring at the people: 5 points
Staring at the boat: 10 points
Staring at Kobe tower: 15 points
Staring at the mountains: 20 points!

Less Eye Strain - Better Japanese

*note:  staring at this picture does not count as staring at something far away.

You most likely will have a lot of things in the way of looking at a far away object from your window.  Try your best though.  The further the better.

Update (1/9/2016)

One Jalup reader, who stares at screens for endless hours into the night due to his programming career, suggested the following color scheme that works for him.

Eclipse theme obsidian

He uses the following 3 colors from it:

background: #293134
text-primary: #E0E2E4
text-secondary: #7D8C93

Related posts:

The following two tabs change content below.


Founder of Jalup. Spends most of his time absorbing and spreading thrilling information about learning Japanese.


Decreasing your Eye Strain will Improve your Japanese Experience — 19 Comments

  1. I love your point system on staring out the window. I tried it today, and it really does work. I just wasn’t looking at Kobe. Staring at snow everywhere on Long Island.

    • Click on the card layout button (2 to the right of the plus sign). At the bottom of “card templates” you can change the background color and in “fields” the text color.

  2. For some reason, it actually strains my eyes *more* to use your yellow-on-blue color scheme, but I have no trouble with the default black-on-white. When I do get eye strain (usually when I’m trying to study late at night or after a six-hour Minecraft marathon), I just hit the “decrease backlight” hotkey. Laptops are awesome.

    • Yeah I can barely read adshap’s color scheme. It’s interesting how different people are. Mine is black on… I guess I’d call it a greenish beige.

  3. I can’t agree more. Actually, I often select all (ctrl+A) in order to read more comfortably (because of the white text on a blue bacground). My anki deck has a black background (yellow doesn’t clash as painfully with black as with navy) and the colors yellow, red and green on the original sentence, word definitions (read: translations) and the “furiganised” sentence respectively.

    It might be due to my albinism though; my eyes do easily get strained.

    I love this site though!

  4. You guys use F.lux (google it, it’s on mac linux and windows)!! It cuts out most of the blue light emitted from your computer screen to give it a ‘warmer’ (reddy orange look). It synchronizes with the sun setting (cues to go warm) so that your brain isn’t stimulated (via blue light) in the evening! It may or may not help with your sleep pattern, but it will certainly save your eyes.

  5. Good post ! Let’s all look at the sun when we need some eye rest, millions of times further than anything else !
    Am i doing this right?

  6. There’s a couple programs that will freeze your computer every X minutes for Y seconds and make you take a break. The one I use, Workrave for windows, even walks you through stretching and eye relaxing exercises. I admit I turn it off sometimes because it’s annoying to have your work interrupted, but it’s really good for you in the long run.

    • Interesting program. I like the concept a lot and after looking it up it seems to be very popular!

  7. “f.lux is a program that changes the color balance of your monitor to be kinder on the eyes at night. Saves the feeling of staring at a lightbulb whilst late-night surfing.”

    This might be better than changing the background color of anki. Thoughts, adshap?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *