While a good color scheme will help, the key thing to note here is the need for contrast for enhanced readability. To quote this article from eyemagzine
Light grey text on a white background and small text size both lead to
an increased orbicularis oculi activity and decreased blinking. These
two conditions are related to text quality, and we would expect to
find similar indicators of eye fatigue with poor font quality or
condensed letter spacing.
For examples of good color combinations with sufficient contrast I recommend reading this article on UX matters which has this to say on what contrast to choose for minimal eye strain.
Ensuring the Readability of Text Through Contrast
For backgrounds behind text, use solid, contrasting colors, and avoid
the use of textures and patterns, which can make letterforms difficult
to distinguish or even illegible. Choose combinations of text color
and background color with care. Value contrast between body text and
its background color should be a minimum of about eighty percent.
Contrast with a white background
Black text on a white background provides maximal value contrast and,
therefore, optimal readability for body text. The contrast between
charcoal gray (#333333) text and a white background is about eighty
percent—thus giving minimally good value contrast. -
The following dark colors provide good to excellent contrast and
legibility for text on a white background:
The importance of contrast with regards to reducing eye strain is explained further in the article as highlighted below
Contrast and Legibility “To provide the best legibility, ensure that text contrasts adequately with its background in both hue and
To provide the best legibility, ensure that text contrasts adequately
with its background in both hue and value. When there is insufficient
contrast between the hue or value of text and its background color,
the text appears blurred or has a halo effect around it, making it
difficult to read and resulting in eye strain.
That said the choice of text and size is also critical. To quote the above referenced eye magazine site article
Designers usually try to use high quality text when readers are
expected to read for any period of time, but using a comfortable text
size is not always possible. In print, there is a trade-off between
type size and the amount of text that can fit on a page. Nine-point
type may be chosen because it is cost-effective, whereas eleven-point
would be easier to identify visually and would reduce eye strain.
Twelve-point text may be needed for good character definition on
computer screens, because readers frequently sit further from a screen
than from a printed page, but many Web pages specify small font sizes
despite the fact that it costs no more to create additional or longer
pages. Designers need to argue for larger text sizes to reduce the
effects of eye strain.
From an Accessiblity standpoint I also recommend looking at W3C guidelines on recommended level of contrast
1.4.3 Contrast (Minimum): The visual presentation of text and images of text has a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1, except for the
following: (Level AA)
Large Text: Large-scale text and images of large-scale text have a contrast ratio of at least 3:1;
Incidental: Text or images of text that are part of an inactive user interface component, that are pure decoration, that are not
visible to anyone, or that are part of a picture that contains
significant other visual content, have no contrast requirement.
Logotypes: Text that is part of a logo or brand name has no minimum contrast requirement.
You should also considering offering a high contrast option which will allow users to work comfortably in low light situations. It would be a good idea to provide multiple options like how kindle handles it as shown below.
With regards the benefits of using the high contrast mode in dark rooms,I recommend looking at this snippet from this article
However, using light text on a dark background also has its advantages
for attracting less light in a dark room.
That said, while reversing color ensure this taken care of better readability
When reversing colour out, eg white text on black, make sure you
increase the leading, tracking and decrease your font-weight. This
applies to all widths of Measure. White text on a black background is
a higher contrast to the opposite, so the letterforms need to be wider
apart, lighter in weight and have more space between the lines.
Lastly here are some articles on color schemes suitable for coding which might help you make your final decision (I know your application does not deal with users coding on it but the use case is similar here..)
Solarized color schemes help you code longer :To quote the article
Solarized doesn’t just claim to be easy to read based on the
designer’s personal preferences, though. Ethan Schoonover, the
designer responsible for the project, clearly explains the rationale
behind the decisions he made on the project site. The most prominently
visible is the use of selective contrast:
“On a sunny summer day I love to read a book outside. Not right in the
sun; that’s too bright. I’ll hunt for a shady spot under a tree. The
shaded paper contrasts with the crisp text nicely. If you were to
actually measure the contrast between the two, you’d find it is much
lower than black text on a white background (or white on black) on
your display device of choice. Black text on white from a computer
display is akin to reading a book in direct sunlight and tires the
eye. Solarized reduces brightness contrast but, unlike many low
contrast colorschemes, retains contrasting hues (based on colorwheel
relations) for syntax highlighting readability.” White-on-black
themes, popular among developers who want to reduce eye strain, are an
improvement over black-on-white themes, but the contrast is still far
Here are some links worth checking out
Color schemes for vim
What makes a good IDE color scheme