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.