EDIT: Disabled font smoothing (4.) -- looks much better!
I didn't know my eyes were sensitive before I bought Mac mini M1 and Samsung Galaxy Note 20. The "progress" has clearly gone wrong way.
A little back story. As soon as I got the new Mac mini, I plugged in my old FHD monitor. Possibly, it was too old to support FRC/dithering and stuff. It seemed to work fine, no eye strain, but the text was very blurry. I decided to switch to a higher res monitor. First I bought Benq 2705q, which is a solid 2K monitor with low blue light and flicker-free. It immediately gave me terrible eye strain, headache etc. and besides it didn't scale well (too small). I returned it and bought LG 27UL850 that is a budget 4K deal. It felt just a bit better to the eyes but still basically unusable with standard setup. This is how I discovered the whole topic.
Currently I use the following setup that actually works fine.
- Set maximum brightness to eliminate PWR.
Almost every modern 4K panels boasts flicker-free but I don't trust it anymore. My eyes tell a different story.
- Instal a screen dimmer app to be able to set comfortable brightness on a software level.
Iris app has many options in this regard. Also consider lowering your monitor's default contrast, as I found it can add some strain too.
- Choose another color profile in macOS monitor settings. Currently I use 'Generic RGB profile'. I got this idea from one or two reddit posts where people managed to reduce eye strain this way. I have no idea how exactly FRC/dithering stuff is connected to icc profile but it may be working.
- Disabled font smoothing. UI looks better. Feels more comfortable to read.
This is it for now. Looking for more ideas to enhance my setup. Considering SwitchresX DPI tweaks now.