Developer Tip to Save Your Eyes

Mykola Harmash
3 min readAug 21, 2017

This may seem a bit controversial, but I want to encourage you to fit less information on a screen. As we are, developers, often tend to do right the opposite.

I’m talking about font size in your IDE or text editor, whatever you prefer.

12, 13, 14 pixels are too small

Developers around me mostly use font sizes from 12 to 14 pixels.

Those are very small fonts for a people who stare at letters most of the day. Even for ones with perfect sight, which is a rare case in our profession, I would really suggest increasing font sizes.

You’re making pretty big effort processing those symbols and you definitely don’t want to have any extra strain to read them.

Bigger font makes a real difference

I personally switched from 12px to 16px about a month ago and I feel the difference literally every single day I go home from work. I feel much less tired, my head is not “heavy” as usual — feelings which I thought are normal after a day in front of a screen. They’re not.

Here is a side-by-side view of my IDE with old and new configuration.

Do I give up much extra space? Not really. I still have my 80 characters within a line and vertical scrolling is not a problem at all as I mostly navigate through code by jumping to specific places with a search.

Of course, don’t forget about other text-based interfaces, like terminal and browser’s developer tools. Here are side-by-side views of those.

If you have an external monitor, which usually further away from you, go ahead and make fonts even bigger.

At first, such giant characters may seem childish, give it a couple of hours, you’ll get used to it very quickly.

Try using the bigger font at least for a week and then switch back to your previous size. Feel how much strain it takes to read anything and then think that you had been doing this to your eyes for years. Switch back immediately😀

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Mykola Harmash

Software engineer mostly focused on full-stack web development and apps for Apple platforms.