I mentioned this in another post but wanted to follow up based on more time passed and some other experiments I had done.
I have a HP elitebook laptop with Intel 5500 HD graphics, connected to a Dell P2214H monitor. That monitor is confirmed flicker free in that online database
I would get severe eyestrain after only a few seconds of usage. I tried changing drivers, changing resolutions, changing font size, changing number of colors, changing cords, display settings, you name it, I tried it, all with zero impact.
I started honing in on colors, and checked the ICC profile installed on the machine. The laptop had none set, so I set it to the default Windows profile, same eye strain. I then went to Dell, and downloaded the actual ICC profile for that monitor. I added it to the laptop and set it to default. It's been over two weeks now and the eye strain is pretty much entirely gone. I can stare at the monitor for hours and hours (I do, everyday) and suffer almost zero discomfort.
It seems that the default Windows ICC profile is instructing the monitor to create colors using a particular pixel/sub pixel rendering setting that is triggering my eye strain, some sort of dithering or pixel interpolation. Basically, it is an incorrect color profile so the monitor does not display colors they way it was designed to, so you get sub optimal performance and unwanted display issues. The proper ICC profile tells the video card/monitor how to correctly display the colors, which seems to eliminate the issue
Then, just to validate my finding, I deleted the Dell ICC profile, the eye strain came back instantly. I put the profile back, eye strain was gone again.
If you are suffering from eye strain on a system, please download the correct ICC driver from the manufacturer website, install it, and try it out. I was completely shocked how drastic a change such a simple thing could cause