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What is an Anti-Glare Computer Screen?

By R. Kayne
Updated May 16, 2024
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An anti-glare computer screen is designed to cut down on the amount of light that reflects off the display. Reflected light or glare can be very fatiguing to the eyes and reduces the contrast, colors and sharpness of the display. An anti-glare computer screen makes viewing a display more pleasant for most people, and reduces eyestrain.

Most LCD monitors have an anti-glare screen, though there are two types that have different advantages. The most common type is the matte finish display. This anti-glare computer screen works by using the rough matte surface of the display to scatter light, rather than allowing it to reflect off a smooth surface.

The matte finish anti-glare computer screen also has a disadvantage: It scatters the light coming out of the display, resulting in a slightly less-crisp image for the viewer. The matte finish mutes clarity, color and contrast. Compared to a smooth-surface screen, the image is slightly blurred, which may itself be fatiguing to the eyes.

The other type of anti-glare computer screen uses a chemical coating over a smooth surface to cut down glare. All else being equal, this type of anti-glare computer screen delivers a crisper image with better colors and contrast than a matte finish. It can't cut glare to the same degree the matte finish can, however.

A good way to choose between anti-glare computer screens is to consider the environment in which you will be using the computer. A chemical-treated smooth anti-glare computer screen is probably well-suited for home use, where there is mostly ambient light that you can control. In the workplace, where harsh overhead lighting is common, it may be less fatiguing to cut more glare with a matte finish than to maintain a crisper picture with a smooth surface display that will reflect more light.

Some cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors also come with an anti-glare screen. If not, aftermarket anti-glare screens can be purchased that block not only glare, but also harmful ultra-violet (UV) radiation. Radiation is not a problem with LCD screens.

If you'd like an aftermarket anti-glare computer screen for your LCD monitor, these are also available. Many come in the form of a sheet of plastic that clings to the screen. These are also called anti-reflective screens and are designed to improve contrast and protect the display from scratches.

Aftermarket anti-glare computer screens are available virtually everywhere computers are sold. Be sure to choose the right size for your display, and if buying for a CRT monitor, look for 100% UV blockage along with anti-glare properties.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon1004246 — On Dec 21, 2020

I am a designer. Does this change the display color on the screen

By anon998088 — On Apr 08, 2017

I suffer from temporal lobe epilepsy (focal seizures) and working on my works computer screen is giving me bad headaches / migraines and I worried it will cause my seizures. What's the best filter screen that could help me ?

Thank you in advance.

By anon974186 — On Oct 15, 2014

I am looking for an anti glare computer screen filter for about 17" screen. My eyes are starting to hurt from using the computer too much. I want help in getting rid of the radiation that it emits. Also, I understand that their special computer eye glasses. Is that true and where can I buy them? I tried Staples, Office Max, Best Buy. None of them have products. Please tell me where I can get them.

By anon232061 — On Nov 28, 2011

I live in Australia and I really wanted to take my laptop into the sun. It took me like four hours to finally track an antiglare screen down that was affordable and actually fit my laptop.

When I did find what I was looking for, it was NuShield screen protectors.

Pros: Antiglare/ antireflective

After searching for hours, I paid $30 for mine and now I can take my computer into the sun, study, read, research whatever and get a tan at the same time. The protective film doesn't allow for scratching and it's super easy to install. It's also really cheap. You can't even tell you have added a layer of film to the computer screen and the website is all automatically linked, so whatever type of computer, laptop, Game Boy ipod, ipad etc., you have just find it, click on it, and they will send you the correct film size pronto.

If you're thinking about getting one: get it!

By anon158025 — On Mar 05, 2011

Finally, a solution!

By anon155891 — On Feb 24, 2011

bought a viewguard and is is good. no more eye pain.

By anon142433 — On Jan 13, 2011

@Anon141561: I am not sure why you would want to block out the light on your computer but when I was reviewing the tech specs online for the ViewGuard Anti-Glare Matte Screen Protector, I did notice that the ViewGuard Privacy Filter blocks out 30 percent of light due to tinting. That might be an option for whatever you are doing. -Bob

By anon141561 — On Jan 10, 2011

Do you know the name of the screen you can use to block the computer light? I turn own the brightness of the light on my computer but i think I'm going to still need the computer screen block as well. Please help me.

By anon138348 — On Dec 31, 2010

Where can I find the ViewGuard Anti-Glare Matte Screen Protector?

By anon137669 — On Dec 28, 2010

#8: Thanks for the recommendation. I was able to find a ViewGuard anti-glare screen protector for my desktop monitor. Thanks, Satish

By anon137099 — On Dec 26, 2010

My eyes were hurting from using my new HP laptop with a glossy screen so I bought the ViewGuard Anti-Glare Matte Screen Protector and it helps tremendously. It was only $14.99.

By anon114200 — On Sep 27, 2010

I only can find chemical coating anti-glare screens. anybody know where to find old school matte monitors?

Thank you.

By anon113339 — On Sep 24, 2010

i have cataracts and the computer is affecting my eyes. would an anti-glare screen help?

By anon46790 — On Sep 28, 2009

I guess you could say I'm in the "matte camp" when it comes to my type of LCD monitor. I'm not ready to take the plunge yet, at least monitor-purchasing wise, so yeah, that's about where it's at right now with someone like me!

By anon43361 — On Aug 27, 2009

Laptop Burka is an anti glare tool and as funny as the name is, it *really* works. Good to go anywhere there's glare. Who cares what anyone else thinks if what you're looking to do is work on your laptop seriously without the glare. I see the advertising possibilites. You could have disney, NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA teams or players on all of the exterior of the Laptop Burka.

By anon28681 — On Mar 20, 2009

I use sunglasses/clip-on sunglasses to reduce the strain on my eyes. It sounds bad, however it is the most portable method that I can think of. Please share your opinions.

By anon27320 — On Feb 26, 2009

I have a matte finish (anti glare) old laptop and a newer smooth surface lcd laptop. The smooth surface display has very crisp display but I'm getting quite tired of looking for the ideal lighted location to operate it in... very taxing on the eyes if you do a lot of reading on-screen.

My matte finish older laptop is so easy on the eyes I still love to read on it.

I'm going to have to buy one of those plastic anti-glare things for my newer pc.

Hope this helps.

By mexicana — On Aug 09, 2008

I'd like to hear from people if anyone has found anti-glare screens to be really useful because I'm trying to decide whether I should get one or not.

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