Out of curiosity, I decided to buy a lux meter and test out my various displays. I used a white screen image and kept the displays to the settings I normally keep them at. I then turned out the lights, put the meter up to the screen and took multiple readings. Here's what I found:
Toshiba Satellite laptop - 50% brightness:
Samsung 32" smart TV - 80% backlight, 50% brightness and 50% contrast
Acer V227Q bip - 40% brightness and 50% contrast
Dell E173FPf - 80% brightness
Obviously, my laptop is the dimmest out of all. My Samsung is surprisingly dim and unsurprisingly, the Acer is the brightest. My old Dell comes in third by comparison.
I also bought a Sceptre E205W-16003R 19.5 inch monitor to try out. I figured a slightly smaller monitor might be easier on the eyes. The monitor was insanely bright with its default settings. I had to turn the backlight brightness down to 0%. Unfortunately, it still read 117 lux with my meter and turning down the actual brightness setting crushed the color and image quality completely. The upside to the monitor is the text clarity is fantastic and doesn't strain my eyes to read.
First things first, you need ample sunshine exposure to get your vitamin D levels up and your thyroid functioning better. The thyroid is inhibited in many people from inadequate sun exposure as well as the fluorides that are prevalent through oral toothpastes and the industrial crap added to many public water supplies, which also ends up in many processed foods. Chlorine and bromides will also impede the thyroid.
First things first, get yourself a sun bed, go out in the full sun for 15 minutes with your eyes closed, no sunglasses, and go from there.
I appreciate the advice. I think I'm going to have to visit an ophthalmologist and see if they have any suggestions. It would be really fantastic if Asus, BenQ, or some other monitor company, had a monitor lineup for people with photophobia. Or at the very least, have a monitor setting that reduces brightness greatly, without crushing image quality