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How to pick screen wallpaper to minimize eye strain

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Written by Vera C. Last updated on .

Image of a landscape which does not lead to eye strain

It's important to make sure that your screen wallpaper is as eye-friendly as possible. Whether it's your phone wallpaper or your desktop PC's background, the good news is that your screen image can be used to minimize eye strain.

Many people pick an image solely because they like it, and while that's a good thing, you also need to consider your eyes. Headaches and other issues can result from eye strain. Luckily, there are easy ways to pick the right image that will let your eyes rest more.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute medical advice; it is tips on how to ensure your screen background is not inadvertently causing or contributing to your eye symptoms. If you continue to have eye strain or headaches, see your doctor or optometrist.

Let's move along to finding out what features you need to look for in your wallpaper:

1. Pick an image that causes the eye to want to focus further away

You'll want to pick a landscape or something that draws the eye to want to look further away (almost behind the screen), not right in front of you. Here are some right and wrong examples:

Comparison of good and bad examples of drawing the eye away

2. More red tones; less blue tones

Red tones relax the eye and are also considered better for sleep purposes if looking at a screen late in the evening. It doesn't have to be a strong red: pink, orange, or similar hues will help.

This can be a little harder than you think to find, because images that tend to have plenty of visual appeal are blue-toned ones (e.g. the sky, the ocean etc). Many of the default wallpapers provided by most devices are heavy on the blue tones.

Search for visually appealing red tones like sunrise and sunset.

3. An uncluttered image

A simple and uncluttered background minimizes eye strain by making it easy for you to see your apps and icons at a glance. You may need to try out a few different candidates on your device to see how they do; it's not always as easy as you think to predict this just by looking at an image.

Putting it all together

If you'd like a good example of an image that fulfills all of the above criteria, take a look at the ones below. You can get the high-resolution original at Pixabay by clicking on any of these images - they all link back to the original high-res photo.

Image of a landscape which does not lead to eye strain

country landscape with orange tones field of pink flowers

fantasy art of red bubbles

You may also like to take a look at our tips for saving time at the computer.


Your screen image can have a surprisingly big effect on your level of eye strain. We look at our devices every day, most of us for hours every day. Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to decrease eye strain. Use the tips above to pick an image that you like, and that works to minimize eye strain.

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