View Full Version : Eye-Strain on LCDs is a Myth (or missunderstood)


schmolch
04-07-2010, 11:14 AM
Eye-strain is not caused by the fact that a screen is backlit.
A Paper-Book shines light into your eyes the same way, by reflection.

Eye-Strain is caused by:
- too much brightness. Your screen should not be much brighter than your Surroundings.
- other bright Light-Sources in your viewing area. Bright Lights should be above you or behind you and shine straight down only. Look at Office-Lights, they have Grid-Reflectors for this reason.
- Wrong Distance to monitor. If you have read alot of Books, your eyes might have permanently adjusted to this small Distance for reading (thus the eye-glasses to correct this) and reading at a bigger distance requires eye-muscle work and those get tired quickly causing the sensation of eye-strain.

Eye-strain is always a muscle-issue, there is nothing else in your eyes that could cause this sensation.

I had huge eye-strain issues myself and even gave up Desktop-PCs completely (Laptops were fine) until i noticed the importance of all these 3 Factors.

searcher
04-07-2010, 11:41 AM
Eye-Strain on LCDs is a Myth
It is a dirty apple propaganda.:bam:

People that claim this should be jailed for 10 years in Guantanamo. :deadhorse:

It's the same as to say that cigarettes doesn't cause cancer.

schmolch
04-07-2010, 12:00 PM
It is a dirty apple propaganda.

You failed at your own little joke. It would be propaganda from the other side, the e-ink manufacturers.


People that claim this should be jailed for 10 years in Guantanamo. :deadhorse:

You should consider the art of reasoning, animated GIFs are not a appropriate substitute.

searcher
04-07-2010, 12:06 PM
You should consider the art of reasoning, animated GIFs are not a appropriate substitute.
Lies makes me angry. Especially lies against human health.

schmolch
04-07-2010, 12:23 PM
Lies makes me angry. Especially lies against human health.


So your argument is

a.) it is a lie

which is accredited and made even worse by the fact that

b.) it is a lie against human health

Now i understand your point.
I want to thank you for your bright contribution to this topic and remain respectfully.

Next?

Tamara
04-07-2010, 12:38 PM
Eye-strain is not caused by the fact that a screen is backlit.
A Paper-Book shines light into your eyes the same way, by reflection.

Eye-Strain is caused by:
- too much brightness. Your screen should not be much brighter than your Surroundings.
- other bright Light-Sources in your viewing area. Bright Lights should be above you or behind you and shine straight down only. Look at Office-Lights, they have Grid-Reflectors for this reason.
- Wrong Distance to monitor. If you have read alot of Books, your eyes might have permanently adjusted to this small Distance for reading (thus the eye-glasses to correct this) and reading at a bigger distance requires eye-muscle work and those get tired quickly causing the sensation of eye-strain.

Eye-strain is always a muscle-issue, there is nothing else in your eyes that could cause this sensation.

I had huge eye-strain issues myself and even gave up Desktop-PCs completely (Laptops were fine) until i noticed the importance of all these 3 Factors.

Exactly :).

People easily get sucked into myths. Another one that comes to mind is the megapixel myth.

TallMomof2
04-07-2010, 12:49 PM
I'll tell my eyes that eyestrain from backlit screens is a myth.

Meanwhile, I'll avoid reading on backlit screens both handheld and monitors because my eyes believe the myth.

In other words, I can tell the difference and will stick with non-backlit screens for most of my reading.

dadioflex
04-07-2010, 12:56 PM
Edit.

Madam Broshkina
04-07-2010, 01:04 PM
Here is an article from the New York Times titled:

Do E-Readers Cause Eye Strain?

A couple of quotes:

Professor Alan Hedge, director of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory at Cornell University, said that reducing eye fatigue is less a matter of choosing a specific display than of taking short breaks from looking at the screen.


“The new LCDs don’t affect your eyes,” Mr. Taussig said. “Today’s screens update every eight milliseconds, whereas the human eye is moving at a speed between 10 and 30 milliseconds.”



Read the whole article here:

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/12/do-e-readers-cause-eye-strain/

kad032000
04-07-2010, 01:05 PM
I vastly prefer e-ink devices for leisure reading, but it has nothing to do with eye-strain.

I think people confuse the different feelings they get from e-ink and back-lit screens as strain.

An avid reader who is used to paper books will feel different when they read on a back-lit screen. Paper isn't back-lit so they feel more comfortable reading on something that isn't back-lit, simply because it's familiar.

When I read on an e-ink device I will often "forget" that I am not reading a paper book. When e-ink first came out, several people would make comments about how they would find themselves attempting to turn a page instead of clicking a button.

DawnFalcon
04-07-2010, 01:08 PM
Eye-strain is not caused by the fact that a screen is backlit. <snip>

The net effect is that a reflective screen in good light will effectively never cause eyestrain, which is simply not true with LCD's.

Anyway, why did you feel this needed another thread?


Madam Broshkina - Except for the minor fact that eyes do NOT refresh in a linear manner. Actually, pushing CRT refresh rates much above 100Hz causes a "shimmering" effect for many people.

Kemp
04-07-2010, 01:08 PM
I think that my issue is that when staring at a backlit screen, I focus very intently and forget, on occasion, to blink as often as I should.

kad032000
04-07-2010, 01:14 PM
I vastly prefer e-ink devices for leisure reading, but it has nothing to do with eye-strain.

I think people confuse the different feelings they get from e-ink and back-lit screens as strain.

An avid reader who is used to paper books will feel different when they read on a back-lit screen. Paper isn't back-lit so they feel more comfortable reading on something that isn't back-lit, simply because it's familiar.

When I read on an e-ink device I will often "forget" that I am not reading a paper book. When e-ink first came out, several people would make comments about how they would find themselves attempting to turn a page instead of clicking a button.

This is somewhat of a leap in logic, but it certainly wouldn't surprise me that people would feel (often subconsciously) more stressed (easily confused with eye-strain) when reading a book on a back-lit screen for a variety of reasons:
(1) Using a back-lit device for an unfamiliar purpose
(2) Doing something familiar on an unfamiliar device (converse of 1)
(3) They retain the "computer" mindset when looking at a "computer" screen (i.e. the feeling that you need to be doing several different things at once)

schmolch
04-07-2010, 01:21 PM
@TallMomof2

i want everyone to read comfortably, but ask yourself what is the difference between Backlights and reflected Sunlight.

If its not the "Nature" of the light, then it must be something else, and the only differences i can see are these:

- Reflected Light can not gain Intensity (-> lower Brightness)
- E-Readers are much closer to the eyes than typical LCDs (-> adjust distance)
- avoid additional eye-strain (muscle-fatigue) from other Light-Sources (tightening the iris is additional muscle-work for the eye, thus the muscles get tired even quicker)

It would be interesting to know if those who suffer from eye-strain also dislike too much sunlight. I do.

schmolch
04-07-2010, 01:24 PM
Anyway, why did you feel this needed another thread?


Because i have not seen anyone mention the importance of Distance or the surrounding Light.

schmolch
04-07-2010, 01:42 PM
This is somewhat of a leap in logic, but it certainly wouldn't surprise me that people would feel (often subconsciously) more stressed (easily confused with eye-strain) when reading a book on a back-lit screen for a variety of reasons:
(1) Using a back-lit device for an unfamiliar purpose
(2) Doing something familiar on an unfamiliar device (converse of 1)
(3) They retain the "computer" mindset when looking at a "computer" screen (i.e. the feeling that you need to be doing several different things at once)

Eye-strain is very intense physical discomfort similar to other muscle-pains (muscle-pain always depends on the size and shape of the muscle).
I can imagine that a dedicated e-reader is more relaxing because of it's single-purpose nature but the pain is real.

kad032000
04-07-2010, 01:54 PM
Eye-strain is very intense physical discomfort similar to other muscle-pains (muscle-pain always depends on the size and shape of the muscle).
I can imagine that a dedicated e-reader is more relaxing because of it's single-purpose nature but the pain is real.

Asthenopia can occur in varying degrees, just like other other forms of strain/pain, and is accompanied by symptoms that also accompany stress.

P.S. schmolch, don't get me wrong. LCDs (or any source of light) can cause eye-strain (very intense in some people) if they are used incorrectly. I was simply presenting an additional point of confusion, which in my (admittedly limited) experience, is another reason people (wrongly) blame LCDs for eye-strain.

schmolch
04-07-2010, 02:11 PM
Asthenopia can occur in varying degrees, just like other other forms of strain/pain, and is accompanied by symptoms that also accompany stress.

I dont know what you just said because Asthenopia is just a grouping of nonspecific symptons with vague descriptions about the scenarios where they occur.
And that discomfort and pain accompanies stress seems kinda obvious, that does not say anything about whats cause and whats effect.

schmolch
04-07-2010, 02:14 PM
Last edited by kad032000; Today at 08:11 PM. Reason: added second paragraph

Hey, since when is it a good thing to add points of confusion ? ;)

What we need are clear and simple facts that are undenieably true, like "It's a lie" or "a lie against humanity". :D

kad032000
04-07-2010, 02:16 PM
I dont know what you just said because Asthenopia is just a grouping of nonspecific symptons with vague descriptions about the scenarios where they occur.
And that discomfort and pain accompanies stress seems kinda obvious, that does not say anything about whats cause and whats effect.

Asthenopia is synonymous with "eye-strain". My point was that because the symptoms are non-specific, people will confuse stress for eye-strain, just like people confuse colds for the flu (and vice-versa).

kad032000
04-07-2010, 02:17 PM
Hey, since when is it a good thing to add points of confusion ? ;)

What we need are clear and simple facts that are undenieably true, like "It's a lie" or "a lie against humanity". :D

LCD e-readers are a crime against humanity! :D

dmaul1114
04-07-2010, 02:25 PM
What it boils down to is who cares about the science behind it and who gives a crap what others read on.

Read on whatever screen type you like, and shut the hell up with bashing other screen types and the people that prefer them!

If LCDs bother your eyes, don't read on them. If e-ink is too slow and limited for your needs, don't use it. It's great that we different technology so everyone can find the device that best suits them.

I'll never understand all the animosity over screen types on here!

Back on topic, I will say one key with LCD is adjusting screen brightness to fit the ambient lighting. Reading on my girlfriend's iPad bothered me a bit until I turned the brightness down. Then I read for an hour plus with no noticeable eye fatigue.

schmolch
04-07-2010, 02:54 PM
What it boils down to is who cares about the science behind it

I do, because it lets you solve problems.
Do you want to be limited to a e-ink reader for the rest of your life because you have not figured out the cause of your eye-strain?

searcher
04-07-2010, 02:58 PM
LCDs (or any source of light) can cause eye-strain (very intense in some people) if they are used incorrectly.

I use LCD since they are on the market and can't avoid eye strain. All my friends has the same problem. So tell us the secret... Jesus! :rofl:

Jellby
04-07-2010, 03:06 PM
I only find it uncomfortable if:

1) I read on a bright screen with dark surroundings, this is easily solved by turning on the lights; or

2) The screen flickers or is blurry, this does not happen with LCD screens, but it can with old/cheap CRT screens.

And, of course, wrong choices of colours, font size, etc. can be extremely disgusting too.

TallMomof2
04-07-2010, 03:38 PM
@TallMomof2

i want everyone to read comfortably, but ask yourself what is the difference between Backlights and reflected Sunlight.

If its not the "Nature" of the light, then it must be something else, and the only differences i can see are these:

- Reflected Light can not gain Intensity (-> lower Brightness)
- E-Readers are much closer to the eyes than typical LCDs (-> adjust distance)
- avoid additional eye-strain (muscle-fatigue) from other Light-Sources (tightening the iris is additional muscle-work for the eye, thus the muscles get tired even quicker)

It would be interesting to know if those who suffer from eye-strain also dislike too much sunlight. I do.

I read for many years on Palm Pilots and their clones. I held my Palm at the same distance as I would physical books. I've turned down the light on the display, adjusted contrast, tried many different color schemes and tried different fonts and font sizes and reading off the handheld devices was inferior to eInk. The main reason I stuck with the Palm for so long is because I liked the portability and my arthritis makes it difficult to hold paper books for long periods. The reading experience was subpar to paper for my eyes but as long as I kept my reading sessions short I didn't develop headaches. I didn't buy the first versions of the Sony reader because the hand feel was all wrong for me even though I liked the screen.

I've never read much off of the computer monitors because the old CRT's gave me headaches, always debugged on paper printouts rather than trying to read code off the screen. The newer LCD monitors are slightly better but I still detect significant flicker no matter how I adjust my monitor and room lighting. It's fine for internet surfing and reading/writing in forums and video consumption just not for activities like reading.

My vision is poor, my eyes are 20/950 uncorrected, and with middle age I have to use bifocals, actually progressive lenses, which definitely affects how long I can read.

For me reading off eInk is almost the same as paper. If the contrast were to improve a bit more it would be the same. Reading off of handheld backlit LCD devices is inferior for me. Plus, reading off backlit LCDs in natural light (sunlight) is very difficult because then the environment is too bright for the LCD to compensate. eInk doesn't have that issue and I can read outside which is my preference. I can take my Kindle to the beach or the pool and read even in deep shade without a problem.

I am sensitive to backlit displays and it's probably because of my poor vision.

aagstn
04-07-2010, 03:51 PM
I've been lucky when it comes to this. I have read for hours at a time on a Sony Clie all the way to today an iPod Touch and never had eye strain. Heavy reading for over 12 years and no issues. I know it happens to people and I'm glad it hasn't happened to me. I like reading on a small, backlit screen. My wife reads more than I do and she has also had no issues with LCD. Just lucky I guess.

Zorz
04-07-2010, 03:53 PM
I really dont care what a MD or PHD says in their research. I'm a programmer and spend most of my day in front of two LCD's. Both have their brightness down to a minimal level. My eyes since I switched from CRT two LCD have continued to get worse and worse. A year after moving to LCD I needed glasses for the first time and every time they get worse and worse.

I need to read many technical documents as well as other books. Most of this material is online, so I read it there.

When comparing reading on my dim monitor to reading on my kindle, the strain is not even comparable. I can notice the difference almost instantly. My eyes don't tear on the kindle, they don't squint. I can read for hours and hours, and it would be as if I was ready a cheap gray paged paper back.

So sorry, but just because you have a MD or PHD at the end of your name like in the articles, you cant blatantly say that LCD's cause no more strain than eink. I love my kindle, I am able to read, what I need to read and save my eyes at the same time.

EowynCarter
04-07-2010, 03:56 PM
There are lots of factor. Like ambiant light, the face you eyes don't work the same way on a pc or on a portable device...
Size of the screen, quality of the screen, you own vision.

LDBoblo
04-07-2010, 04:01 PM
I get pretty uncomfortable reading on LCDs in bright sunlight, because I gotta get really close and squint like crazy in order to see anything.

Otherwise, I much prefer a good backlit LCD for reading. Too bad they drain batteries faster.

I'm cool with people who have crappy reading habits or excessive sensitivity that make LCDs a problem for them. I'm just not a big fan of persuading naive but normal people into thinking that LCDs will hurt them, and that they should buy e-paper products instead.

Lemurion
04-07-2010, 04:20 PM
I personally think that in many cases the phrase "LCDs cause eye-strain" is really a short-hand way of saying that using many LCD devices often leads to eye-strain.

Like many members, I own multiple devices - and have read on both LCD and E-Ink devices as recently as today.

One thing I've noticed is that all three of my main LCD devices have much smaller screens than my Sony, which means I have to go with smaller text if I'm going to get a reasonable number of words on the screen at one time. Smaller text generally means that I'm either squinting, or I'm holding the device closer to my eyes.

The end result is that I just can't use any LCD device I own for sustained reading as easily as I can my Sony 505. It's just a better device for me to read novels on. Comics are better on my Droid, despite the size of the screen, but not prose.

DawnFalcon
04-07-2010, 04:47 PM
schmolch - Then you've really not followed the previous threads on this.

Also, there tends to be a considerable difference in light spectrum between daylight and backlights, just as with most artificial lighting. The effect this has on people is highly variable, of course.

Steven Lyle Jordan
04-07-2010, 04:55 PM
Fact is, just plain reading can lead to eye-strain... if it is done too much.

I've worked in front of computers for the last 20 years, 8 hours solid at work, then 2-4 hours a night after work... and over the last 20 years, I've had to get progressively stronger glasses. Most anyone who reads anything that much can expect that to happen.

I have occasionally experienced eye-strain on the way home from work, reading on the train, and had to close my eyes for a rest. These incidents happened as often when I was reading from a standard paper magazine, as on an LCD screen. In all cases, it's because I had spent the entire 8 hours previous, reading. Didn't matter what source. Simply put, I tired my eyes out. It's just muscles in there, folks... they're not invulnerable.

I have read on LCD screens on PCs, PDAs and smartphones, since there have been PDAs and smartphones, and I never experienced eyestrain that couldn't be attributable to an extended length of time just reading. The same goes for CRT screens and paper... read too much, and my eyes got tired. Changing light levels in the surrounding area could also cause the apparent light on the screen or paper to change, forcing your eyes to work harder to compensate for the differences (yes, even those reading a magazine can experience variable light levels on the page, depending on what the ambient light is doing).

LCD screens, like CRTs, have the benefit of being adjustable, so you can minimize the brightness and contrast factors that force your eye-muscles to work harder, adjusting and refocusing, to compensate for the differences (the true cause of eye-strain). But most people simply do not know how to adjust their screens properly (or at all), so an improperly-set screen acerbates strain.

And many others, including many on this forum, simply don't step back and take breaks from reading often enough. Perfect screen or not, paper, e-ink or LCD, too much reading will affect your eyes.

Having said that... since everyone's eyes are different, there's really no point in trying to declare one media or another "good" or "bad." It's the activity that causes the eye-stain, not the media... the media just affects the amount of strain, to differing levels for different people.

dmaul1114
04-07-2010, 05:20 PM
I do, because it lets you solve problems.
Do you want to be limited to a e-ink reader for the rest of your life because you have not figured out the cause of your eye-strain?

No, but I can (and have) tried different stuff and found what works for me. Which is about anything honestly as long as I can adjust the brightness. I've never had much issues with eye strain personally.

I don't need to get online and bicker over science, argue with lovers of certain screen types. I can try stuff for myself and find what works for me and not bash things I don't like or the people that prefer other technology.

I just don't get all the bickering that goes on. Every discussion of e-ink vs. LCD, eyestrain etc. just ends up with arguing and eventually insults from diehard fans of the various technology.

It all has it's pros and cons, and it's great that there's such a wide variety of stuff to choose from with more stuff on the way with Pixel QI, Mirasol etc.

DawnFalcon
04-07-2010, 05:24 PM
The entire point is that different people find different preferences in screen type and lighting which work for them, but you can't dismiss the fact out of hand that many people do prefer reflective screens because they work for them, and hence there is a decent market for devices using said screens!

dmaul1114
04-07-2010, 05:33 PM
..but you can't dismiss the fact out of hand that many people do prefer reflective screens because they work for them, and hence there is a decent market for devices using said screens!

Yep, nobody should be dismissing anyone's preference, opinion etc.

Read on what you prefer and let others do the same!

There's plenty of room in the market for e-ink devices, phones, pdas, tablets, netbooks etc. that can display e-books.

It's not some zero sum end game where only one type of device can emerge victorious. E-books are very simple files, there will always be a wide array of devices that can display them.

Graham
04-07-2010, 05:35 PM
To those who say that LCDs are fine: just turn down the brightness and sit closer when trying to read a page on screed. Do you know, I bet most users have actually tried that? I certainly have, it seemed pretty obvious. I have pdfs that I regularly want to read, and it's not exactly rocket science to adjust the brightness and lean in.

For my eyes, there is absolutely no contest. Reading on the eInk device results in far less strain. It's not even close. I don't even register that there might be strain.

I'm happy to believe that there are those who are perfectly happy reading off both screens, but I'd be very surprised if anyone found there was more strain involved in reading off eInk, assuming there was sufficient ambient light (I'm OK with the idea that many would prefer LCD in a dim room).

Graham

dmaul1114
04-07-2010, 05:45 PM
I'm happy to believe that there are those who are perfectly happy reading off both screens, but I'd be very surprised if anyone found there was more strain involved in reading off eInk, assuming there was sufficient ambient light (I'm OK with the idea that many would prefer LCD in a dim room).

Graham

I'd agree with that. Reading on my Kindle is 100% easier on my eyes than reading on some LCD device. But any strain is minimal on LCD as I seldom read for more than 60 minutes at any one time, and my eyes just don't tend to get tired very easily period.

For me, I'd prefer something like the iPad in the long run as it can do a lot more than just read (I'm not really an avid reader, Kindle was an impulse buy) and I'll take maybe some extra eye fatigue when reading over the slow page turns etc. of e-ink readers.

Others read a TON and e-ink is more advantageous for them. Different strokes for different folks and all that. Everyone has their own reading habits, own preference, and own set of eyes, so there's not right or wrong answer to what's best. All that matters is finding the device(s) that fit your individual needs.

searcher
04-07-2010, 05:48 PM
Computer Screen Glare (like apple ipad) can damage eyes.
http://visionresearch.myblogtrade.com/2010/02/14/at-risk-computer-screen-glare-and-eye-damage/

DawnFalcon
04-07-2010, 06:04 PM
Searcher, spam blog with engrish articles.

fugazied
04-07-2010, 06:45 PM
Eye-Strain is caused by:
- too much brightness. Your screen should not be much brighter than your Surroundings.

That's strange because I find a super bright LCD is easier for me to read without eye strain!

dmaul1114
04-07-2010, 06:50 PM
That's strange because I find a super bright LCD is easier for me to read without eye strain!

It's probably not too bright for the surroundings though. Reading on my girlfriend's iPad I had to adjust lighting a few times. Brighter when it was day and the apartment was pretty bright, turn it down when it got dark an all I had on was a lamp etc.

I find that a strength of LCD devices personally as it's easier to adjust brightness on the device than making sure you always have enough ambient lighting to read e-ink or paper. Clip on lights work, but get annoying fast.

Hellmark
04-07-2010, 07:48 PM
Eye-strain is not caused by the fact that a screen is backlit.
A Paper-Book shines light into your eyes the same way, by reflection.

Eye-Strain is caused by:
- too much brightness. Your screen should not be much brighter than your Surroundings.
- other bright Light-Sources in your viewing area. Bright Lights should be above you or behind you and shine straight down only. Look at Office-Lights, they have Grid-Reflectors for this reason.
- Wrong Distance to monitor. If you have read alot of Books, your eyes might have permanently adjusted to this small Distance for reading (thus the eye-glasses to correct this) and reading at a bigger distance requires eye-muscle work and those get tired quickly causing the sensation of eye-strain.

Eye-strain is always a muscle-issue, there is nothing else in your eyes that could cause this sensation.

I had huge eye-strain issues myself and even gave up Desktop-PCs completely (Laptops were fine) until i noticed the importance of all these 3 Factors.
I've always made sure that things weren't too bright, and often read with things as dark as possible, yet still get eyestrain from LCDs. Heck, often large white areas on the screen hurt my eyes. In my experience it isn't complete bull, just not as bad for some as it is for others.

dmikov
04-07-2010, 08:01 PM
Interesting, we have people who say lcd doesn't bother them and people who do. It looks though that majority of people in lcd hating crowd are spending more time at the screen. I am spending 8 hours at work looking at backlit screen, there is no way I will read from LCD for pleasure, that will kill my eyes.
So please don't say LCD screens are fine if you don't see the problem, by spending 2 hours a day with them. They don't bother you -- that's accurate.
And yeah MD, PHD means very little without the study materials that you can examine and see if it's even publishable by academic standards and even then there will be another study coming out disproving the first one.
These MD might be orthopedics for all we know.

Lemurion
04-07-2010, 08:08 PM
Do you want to be limited to a e-ink reader for the rest of your life because you have not figured out the cause of your eye-strain?

I don't like this statement. It implies that anyone who has issues with LCD displays only has them because "they're doing it wrong."

I use both E-Ink and LCD devices, and yes the LCD does cause me more eyestrain than the E-Ink device. Maybe I could fiddle around with the settings on the LCD to eliminate eyestrain - but it's easier just to pick up my PRS-505, and the reading experience is more satisfying. And that's discounting the fact that no amount of fiddling would make the screen any bigger or make it easily readable in bright daylight.

This is a good LCD, too. It's on the Moto Droid and one of the best LCD screens I've ever seen. It's simply not as good for extended prose reading as the E-Ink display on my PRS-505.

But that's okay, different screens have different uses. It's no different than different paper stock. When I buy a graphic novel, it's usually printed on very glossy paper - most fiction is printed on paper with much more of a matte finish.

There's nothing wrong with acknowledging that some people find one kind of display technology unsuitable for certain uses. It doesn't mean they're doing something wrong, nor does it mean they are permanently wedded to the display technology they currently use. What it does mean, is that if they do move away from devices based on their current technology, they're more likely to move to a third alternative than go to the one they've already rejected as unsuitable.

MikeRo
04-07-2010, 08:08 PM
Eye-strain is not caused by the fact that a screen is backlit.
A Paper-Book shines light into your eyes the same way, by reflection.

Eye-Strain is caused by:
- too much brightness. Your screen should not be much brighter than your Surroundings.
- other bright Light-Sources in your viewing area. Bright Lights should be above you or behind you and shine straight down only. Look at Office-Lights, they have Grid-Reflectors for this reason.
- Wrong Distance to monitor. If you have read alot of Books, your eyes might have permanently adjusted to this small Distance for reading (thus the eye-glasses to correct this) and reading at a bigger distance requires eye-muscle work and those get tired quickly causing the sensation of eye-strain.

Eye-strain is always a muscle-issue, there is nothing else in your eyes that could cause this sensation.

I had huge eye-strain issues myself and even gave up Desktop-PCs completely (Laptops were fine) until i noticed the importance of all these 3 Factors.

You missed one physiological factor from the article in the Times referenced in item #9:

For example, the ergonomics of reading screens and the lack of blinking when we stare at them play a big role in eye fatigue. “The current problem with reading on screens is that we need to adjust our bodies to our computer screens, rather than the screens adjusting to us,” Dr. Meredith said.

Why should I adjust my body to reading on LCD screens when there are other alternatives?

If reading on LCD screens works for you, great. Do not assume that those of us who prefer reading on other non-lit devices are unaware of how to properly set up LCD screens.

As an aside, I wish monitor manufacturers would go back to including brightness and contrast knobs on their monitors (as opposed to tapping through several on-screen menus) - it would be far easier to adjust your monitor to changing light conditions.

Sunspark
04-07-2010, 09:47 PM
Nothing wrong with LCD. The problem is with the backlights. They flicker. Tends to be about 180-200 hz for most LCDs. Can be more annoying if it matches a beat frequency.

If the LCD was in front of an incandescent lightbulb, nobody would care because incandescent as a pseudo-black body does not flicker.

I sometimes wish I could buy an LCD monitor that uses type A bulbs as the backlight.

dmaul1114
04-07-2010, 10:34 PM
Why should I adjust my body to reading on LCD screens when there are other alternatives?

If reading on LCD screens works for you, great. Do not assume that those of us who prefer reading on other non-lit devices are unaware of how to properly set up LCD screens.


I don't think that was his intention. I think what he meant was a lot of people ONLY have experience reading on LCD screens of desktops and laptops.

With those it's a problem of form factor (as well as perhaps screen type) as you it's hard to read with them the ideal distance from your eyes etc.

Vs. a tablet, PDA etc. where you can hold it just like you do your Kindle or other e-ink device.

I hate sitting and reading on my pc or laptop. But have no issues with LCD screens on something like the iPad. I can hold them just like I do my Kindle or a paper book, while I can't do that with my desktop monitor or my laptop.

Now for people who have read on a PDA, iPad, Jetbook etc. and still didn't like the experience, that's fine and the screen type just isn't for them. But people shouldn't write off LCD screens based soley on their PC/laptop experiences as it's just very different do the form factor.

dmaul1114
04-07-2010, 10:38 PM
Interesting, we have people who say lcd doesn't bother them and people who do. It looks though that majority of people in lcd hating crowd are spending more time at the screen. I am spending 8 hours at work looking at backlit screen, there is no way I will read from LCD for pleasure, that will kill my eyes.
So please don't say LCD screens are fine if you don't see the problem, by spending 2 hours a day with them. They don't bother you -- that's accurate.
And yeah MD, PHD means very little without the study materials that you can examine and see if it's even publishable by academic standards and even then there will be another study coming out disproving the first one.
These MD might be orthopedics for all we know.

That's a big assumption. I spend more than 8 hours on my PC or laptop on the average day between working long ours, goofing on the net etc., and I hate reading on them when I'm not working.

But I have no problem reading on a PDA or my girlfriend's new iPad or most other small LCD screen devices. As I said in the post above, I hate reading on PC/laptops as the form factor sucks. You just can't get your eyes the right distance from the screen, can't curl up in bed with it, or on the couch etc.

But I can do that fine on the iPad etc., and don't have issues with reading on those lcd screens. With the caveat that I seldom ever read for more than an hour or two at once (or even in a day).

I love my Kindle, but I'll probably eventually ditch it for an iPad or another tablet of my own as it fits more of my needs and I like the reading experience with the much faster page turns etc.

Not saying anyone who loves e-ink should switch etc. It's great that we have different screen options so everyone can find what they like best.

jabberwock_11
04-07-2010, 11:12 PM
While it is true that eye fatigue when using LCD screens is caused MOSTLY by the three factors that were laid out in the original post and that you can still get eye fatigue using an e-ink device (too small of a font can easily do it), the thing that is more or less left out is that even with the correct use of an LCD screen you are still more LIKELY to develop eye fatigue when looking at an LCD screen than when looking at an e-ink screen.

If you reduce the intensity of the light coming off of an LCD it can become more difficult to see the screen, and while altering the properties of home computers is not only possible, but also a good idea, this is not always the case with work computers, public computers, and other LCD screens.

The fact is that while we are constantly inundated by LCD screens in day to day life some of us prefer to take a break from all of the different light and glare levels and just relax with something that does not have as much possibility of harming the sorely abused muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves used to focus the eyes, and to correct our posture.

Let's also not forget one of the other advantages of e-ink: battery drain is minuscule. I love the fact that I do not have to charge up my device constantly and that if I go a few days without using it that it will still be good to go when I power it on. It was one of the big draws to e-ink devices for me.

HansTWN
04-07-2010, 11:44 PM
While it is true that eye fatigue when using LCD screens is caused MOSTLY by the three factors that were laid out in the original post and that you can still get eye fatigue using an e-ink device (too small of a font can easily do it), the thing that is more or less left out is that even with the correct use of an LCD screen you are still more LIKELY to develop eye fatigue when looking at an LCD screen than when looking at an e-ink screen.

If you reduce the intensity of the light coming off of an LCD it can become more difficult to see the screen, and while altering the properties of home computers is not only possible, but also a good idea, this is not always the case with work computers, public computers, and other LCD screens.

The fact is that while we are constantly inundated by LCD screens in day to day life some of us prefer to take a break from all of the different light and glare levels and just relax with something that does not have as much possibility of harming the sorely abused muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves used to focus the eyes, and to correct our posture.

Let's also not forget one of the other advantages of e-ink: battery drain is minuscule. I love the fact that I do not have to charge up my device constantly and that if I go a few days without using it that it will still be good to go when I power it on. It was one of the big draws to e-ink devices for me.

You are right on the money. And there are size, weight and heat issues. I am using laptops, phones, and e-ink to read. I still much prefer the latter for extended use. As with all legends, there always is some truth behind it. And millions seem to agree, as e-ink sales show. Obviously not everybody is negatively affected by LCD. And yes, for e-ink you need sufficient ambient light, just as you do for a pbook. It seems to me that most people who don't like e-ink just like to read in dark places -- then it definitely is not for them.

idraw22
04-08-2010, 12:10 AM
Everyone's entitled to opinion. From what I've read, you get tired eyes from not blinking often enough when you read. Need to take a blink brake. It really helps.

dmaul1114
04-08-2010, 12:20 AM
Yep, there's no wrong answer here as everyone has different eyes different reading habits.

I don't doubt that reading on LCDs with the proper brightness probably does lead to more eye fatigue than reading e-ink under the proper lighting conditions. And the battery life of e-ink devices is second to none. So I see their appeal, and I do really like my Kindle.

But at the same time, for me personally, I'm not an avid reader. I seldom read for more than 60 minutes a day--discounting work related reading which is all on the PC or printouts currently (Kindle sucks for PDFs, A4 sized documents etc.). So the eyestrain issue is pretty moot. I could read on my laptop with the brightness up for an hour with no real eye issues--the form factor just sucks. Battery life isn't much of an issue for me either, I have no problem plugging in every night or two. If something can get 8-10+ hours so I can get through even a heavy day of use I'm fine with it.

So it's very much, as I've said many times, really just a matter of individual preference and finding the device that works best for you. I like my Kindle, but I won't buy another e-ink device as I don't really read enough to need it and something like the iPad that does more than reading, can handle PDFs, newspapers, magazines, comics etc. fits my needs more.

While the person who reads straight text constantly for hours on end will probably be better suited with an e-ink or other reflective screen in their devices.

Sweetpea
04-08-2010, 01:48 AM
It is a dirty apple propaganda.:bam:

People that claim this should be jailed for 10 years in Guantanamo. :deadhorse:

It's the same as to say that cigarettes doesn't cause cancer.

I've never ever had eye strain due to reading from my PDA. Unless I forgot to turn off the backlight to a minimum (not off, as it would have been hard to see in the dark) or turn the colours around (light lettering on a dark background).

Does using a mouse and keyboard cause RSI? No, the wrong usage of a mouse and keyboard causes RSI.
Does sitting on a chair cause backpain? No, hanging in a chair, instead of sitting straight does that.

I only get eyestrain when I read on my (e-ink) BeBook Mini when I should been reading from my (backlit) JE100.

MaggieScratch
04-08-2010, 01:50 AM
All I know is, eInk doesn't make my eyes burn and water, and the other kind of reading does, if I do it long enough (and frankly, it's a lot worse in the dark). I can mitigate it by reducing brightness, changing background colors, etc. but I'm never completely comfortable for hours at a time as I am with eInk.

Of course I spend a lot of time each day using a computer. I'm sure that contributes to it.

Lots of people prefer LCD. More power to them. I like eInk and it is more comfortable for me.

Sweetpea
04-08-2010, 01:57 AM
Of course I spend a lot of time each day using a computer. I'm sure that contributes to it.

I only spend the entire workday behind a computer... And often play some games in the evening as well (behind a CRT monitor, no less!)

Lighting is so very important. Which is why I'll never do away with backlit LCD screens. But the ability to turn down the light is required. I can't do that on that silly phone I have from work, and I get tired reading from that after 5 minutes...

searcher
04-08-2010, 07:08 AM
Does using a mouse and keyboard cause RSI? No, the wrong usage of a mouse and keyboard causes RSI.
Does sitting on a chair cause backpain? No, hanging in a chair, instead of sitting straight does that.


bla, bla, bla..Not all smokers died from cancer but smocking is dangerous for health as LCD screens are dangerous for eyes .;)

Sweetpea
04-08-2010, 07:36 AM
bla, bla, bla..Not all smokers died from cancer but smocking is dangerous for health as LCD screens are dangerous for eyes .;)

I find that a flawed comparison. Smoking is a nasty habit, it should be banned, but the reason it's unhealthy is because you inhale foreign material. Which causes the cancer.

If you read with a LCD screen, you don't add anything to your body. You don't inhale, sniff, inject, etc. anything.

But, you must take care how you use the device. Sitting in a chair is very bad for you back, did you know that? We are not made to do that for hours on end. Slouching in your chair is even worse. So, will you now say that everybody should sit on the ground? Or will you say that you should sit responsibly in your chair (with your back properly supported, straight up, etc.)

schmolch
04-08-2010, 08:47 AM
schmolch - Then you've really not followed the previous threads on this.

Also, there tends to be a considerable difference in light spectrum between daylight and backlights, just as with most artificial lighting. The effect this has on people is highly variable, of course.

Can you give a reason why the spectrum of CFLs or LEDs should add eye-strain compared to sunlight?

Magnesus
04-08-2010, 09:22 AM
My eyes since I switched from CRT two LCD have continued to get worse and worse. A year after moving to LCD I needed glasses for the first time and every time they get worse and worse.

The reason is that you are getting older. It's normal and has nothing to do with screens you use or not use. Read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presbyopia.
And if you are younger that let's say 25 and it's myopia - then the reason for it is genetic or past trauma. Screens cannot change the shape of the eyeballs. I have myopia in one eye only - maybe I was reading and using CRT with only one eye open. /s ;)

For me LCD is not good for reading. It's not even close to being good. I have good light in my workplace and at home (behind me), I set the brightness to optimal one and it's still causing eye strain.
On e-paper - even when I read books for like 16 hours a day, for several days - i have no eye strain whatsoever.

Taesoo Kwon
04-08-2010, 09:43 AM
Eye-Strain is caused by:
- too much brightness. Your screen should not be much brighter than your Surroundings.


That is the whole point of using E-ink. E-ink display cannot be much brighter than your surroundings because all light sources of E-ink display are diffuse reflections.

Actually, eye-strain is caused by the inconsistency between the display and your surroundings. That include not only brightness, but also colors.

lene1949
04-08-2010, 10:06 AM
The reason is that you are getting older. It's normal and has nothing to do with screens you use or not use. Read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presbyopia.
And if you are younger that let's say 25 and it's myopia - then the reason for it is genetic or past trauma. Screens cannot change the shape of the eyeballs. I have myopia in one eye only - maybe I was reading and using CRT with only one eye open. /s ;)

For me LCD is not good for reading. It's not even close to being good. I have good light in my workplace and at home (behind me), I set the brightness to optimal one and it's still causing eye strain.
On e-paper - even when I read books for like 16 hours a day, for several days - i have no eye strain whatsoever.

This is so true... Since reading on my backlit palm over the last 5 years my eyesight has gotten much better.. :rofl: In fact, I can now drive legally without glasses. I've had glasses since I was 11, I'm now 60. The only glasses I need now are reading glasses.

My house has poor lighting, and I read on my kindle during the day, but after dark I read on my backlit iPod.

The last time I experienced eyestrain was, while reading a paperback with too small font - rather dark paper (yellowish)... I gave up reading novels altogether until I got my Palm.

searcher
04-08-2010, 10:21 AM
If you read with a LCD screen, you don't add anything to your body. You don't inhale, sniff, inject, etc. anything.


That's not quite true. Every LCD monitor act like flashlight in dark room despite of the brightest. LCD monitors exactly like CRT monitors bеam unnatural light directly into your eyes. It's the same as to watch into flashlight and don't tell me this is safe for the eyes.

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/49/254152349_372e3386ca.jpg

djgreedo
04-08-2010, 10:22 AM
Whether or not LCD causes eye strain is completely moot for me. I simply find it uncomfortable to read on LCD. I don't know what causes the discomfort (and I've tried lowering brightness, etc.). I used to read on a PDA, and I've tried reading on my phone, but I could only ever manage a little bit at a time.

I spend much of the day at a computer screen, and that doesn't really bother me. I put that down to the nature of the reading. When reading in short bursts and constantly shifting focus and interacting I don't feel any discomfort (though I do occasionally get tired eyes, but that is possibly the harsh lights). But trying to read anything longer than medium-lenght article just feels so wrong that I usually have to stop before I've finished.

However on e-ink I can keep reading for quite a long time. It just feels more natural.

I'd love to see some proper scientific study on this, but I will use whatever device works best for me.

But I think people have different preferences and different eyes. To say that LCD is as good for reading as e-ink is dismissing the fact that some people cannot bear to read on LCD. And to say that LCD is damaging to one's eyesight is overlooking the fact that there is no scientific data to back that up (that I'm aware of).

There is plenty of technology on the way that makes this moot anyway. Pixel QI's screen apparently looks comparable to e-ink when in that mode and like full colour LCD when in LCD mode. The company that makes Kindle screens has apparently got colour e-ink with refresh rates capable of high enough framerates to emulate video.

These displays are probably going to make LCD obsolete for any portable device due to their efficiency and flexibility. I certainly will be thinking twice before buying any device with an LCD screen in the coming year.

DawnFalcon
04-08-2010, 11:02 AM
Can you give a reason why the spectrum of CFLs or LEDs should add eye-strain compared to sunlight?

Human eyes are evolved to work with the spectrum of sunlight. You realise that full spectrum lighting is a major productivity enhancer in offices, right?

leebase
04-08-2010, 11:21 AM
The backlit bit has never bothered me, it's the amount of light. Turn the brightness down and I can read off a backlit screen for hours on end. Dark backgrounds with lighter text helps immensely. Anecdotal evidence, but good enough to convince my eyes, apparently.

I had searched the web for FACTS on this and found very little researched bases info (on either side)....until I found a presentation by a Microsoft researcher. It was his presentation that said "there is no difference between reflected light and direct light" and to "adjust the monitor light to match the ambient light" (which reflected books/eInk screens so).

So when I got my iPad -- and my eyes SCREAMED -- I tried what the researcher suggested. Lo and behold, no more eye strain.

Nonny

Steven Lyle Jordan
04-08-2010, 11:59 AM
It was his presentation that said "there is no difference between reflected light and direct light"

This is exactly right: To the eye, light is light. It really doesn't react differently whether the light is reflected, or projected.

Eye muscles react to light intensity, to distance, to object clarity, and to differences between the point being focused on and the surrounding visual data... all of those elements cause the eye muscles to work to compensate for them. The more the eye muscles have to work, the more fatigue those eye muscles feel.

Everyone's eyes are different, and some eyes react more to one stimulus than to others. To some, the lack of contrast in e-ink screens can be as fatiguing as the wrong light intensity on an LCD screen. That's just one reason why some people can read more comfortably on an LCD screen than an e-ink screen, and there are others.

To reiterate my earlier point, any claim that one display technology is better than the other is purely subjective. What works for you, works for you.

Ankh
04-08-2010, 12:13 PM
Everyone's eyes are different, and some eyes react more to one stimulus than to others.

True, everyone's eyes are different... Yet, the distribution of differences is not uniform, and, statistically speaking, it appears that majority prefers eInk stimuli.

leebase
04-08-2010, 12:29 PM
That's not quite true. Every LCD monitor act like flashlight in dark room despite of the brightest. LCD monitors exactly like CRT monitors bеam unnatural light directly into your eyes. It's the same as to watch into flashlight and don't tell me this is safe for the eyes.

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/49/254152349_372e3386ca.jpg

If your room is so dark that the lcd acts like a flashlight -- then you are going to have eye strain reading a BOOK let alone an eInk screen.

Lee

dmaul1114
04-08-2010, 12:50 PM
That's not quite true. Every LCD monitor act like flashlight in dark room despite of the brightest. LCD monitors exactly like CRT monitors bеam unnatural light directly into your eyes. It's the same as to watch into flashlight and don't tell me this is safe for the eyes.

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/49/254152349_372e3386ca.jpg

It might be the same as looking into a dim flashlight if you leave the brightness up all the way and use a white background with black text.

It's not where near that bad if you keep the backlighting to the proper levels for the conditions you're reading in. Use a darker background like sepia etc.

I get that e-ink is great, especially for people like the guy above who mentioned reading 16 hours a day etc. With super heavy reading, even minimal differences in eye strain add up, and it's important to read on what ever gives the least fatigue possible. Where as it doesn't much matter for a casual reader for me who reads maybe 1-2 hours a day on average, and often less than that.

As I've said repeatedly, it's great that we have all these options to pick from so we can all find what we want. People that read tons and tons every day, don't spend much time on other media hobbies (TV, movies, music, games etc.) have e-ink readers as their ideal device. Someone like me that doesn't read that much and is more into movies, tv, sports, video games etc. has devices like the iPad and other tablets that are more in line with our needs.

Again, it's not some zero sum end game where only one type of e-book displaying device can survive. Tablets aren't going to bring about the death of your e-ink (or other reflective screen) reader devices. Thus there's no reason for people to be so antagonistic against LCD screens. It's fine that people don't like them, but no need for all the "if it glows it blows" type of hatred toward LCDs we get on here.

Different strokes for different folks. One can read on what they like, and discuss why they prefer it with out being super defensive and antagonistic.

Yoshi 1080
04-08-2010, 07:17 PM
My eyes are burning when I'm reading on a too bright LCD and my eyes are burning as well when I'm reading a book or magazine (especially the glossy ones) in direct sunlight. Conclusion: brightness is not good for my eyes. So I dim my LCD and I'm fine. End of story.

Sweetpea
04-09-2010, 03:01 AM
That's not quite true. Every LCD monitor act like flashlight in dark room despite of the brightest. LCD monitors exactly like CRT monitors bеam unnatural light directly into your eyes. It's the same as to watch into flashlight and don't tell me this is safe for the eyes.

Hmm, whenever I try to find my bed using my JE100, I always stumble over it as the light coming from it just isn't enough to light my way... I'm not sure what kind of flashlights you use...

kad032000
04-09-2010, 11:46 AM
I use LCD since they are on the market and can't avoid eye strain. All my friends has the same problem. So tell us the secret... Jesus! :rofl:

If it's actually eye-strain then it's caused because you're using the device too often, or any of the reasons mentioned in the original post (too bright, wrong distance, etc.) Experiment and find out what works.

Steven Lyle Jordan
04-09-2010, 11:58 AM
True, everyone's eyes are different... Yet, the distribution of differences is not uniform, and, statistically speaking, it appears that majority prefers eInk stimuli.

That still doesn't make one better than the other... especially as the majority of those preference comments are anecdotal, without verifiable scientific data to back them up. There are no solid "statistics," and "it appears that" doesn't settle the matter.

Ankh
04-09-2010, 12:42 PM
That still doesn't make one better than the other... especially as the majority of those preference comments are anecdotal, without verifiable scientific data to back them up. There are no solid "statistics," and "it appears that" doesn't settle the matter.

Which one is better is individual thing. If one is irritated by eInk screen he couldn't care less that majority of the users is finding that experience acceptable.

The sales figures for eInk screens are solid statistics, as those (equipped with eInk screen) devices are ill suited for anything else except dedicated readers.

ProDigit
04-09-2010, 12:53 PM
I've posted some guidelines on how to read comfortably on LCD screens about a year to 1,5 years ago on this forum. I forgot exactly where it was though.

kindlekitten
04-09-2010, 01:38 PM
Eye-strain is not caused by the fact that a screen is backlit.
A Paper-Book shines light into your eyes the same way, by reflection.

Eye-Strain is caused by:
- too much brightness. Your screen should not be much brighter than your Surroundings.
- other bright Light-Sources in your viewing area. Bright Lights should be above you or behind you and shine straight down only. Look at Office-Lights, they have Grid-Reflectors for this reason.
- Wrong Distance to monitor. If you have read alot of Books, your eyes might have permanently adjusted to this small Distance for reading (thus the eye-glasses to correct this) and reading at a bigger distance requires eye-muscle work and those get tired quickly causing the sensation of eye-strain.

Eye-strain is always a muscle-issue, there is nothing else in your eyes that could cause this sensation.

I had huge eye-strain issues myself and even gave up Desktop-PCs completely (Laptops were fine) until i noticed the importance of all these 3 Factors.

this seems to be a foolish claim to make unless you are a Doctor of Optometry

kad032000
04-09-2010, 02:12 PM
this seems to be a foolish claim to make unless you are a Doctor of Optometry

I think this was posted by someone earlier in the thread, but:

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/12/do-e-readers-cause-eye-strain

Steven Lyle Jordan
04-09-2010, 03:25 PM
The sales figures for eInk screens are solid statistics, as those (equipped with eInk screen) devices are ill suited for anything else except dedicated readers.

Dedicated reader sales figures only indicate how many readers are selling. It is not a judgment on which screen technology is better, and it doesn't reflect how many people comfortably read on other screens, how many gave up one screen to read on the other, or how many bought dedicated readers for other advantages (such as wireless downloads or long battery life). In this case, the evidence is purely circumstantial.

I know, it sounds like I'm merely making excuses for LCDs or dismissing eInk, but the fact is that both screen technologies can be comfortably used all day long, or make a user blind in a half-hour, depending on how they are set and used. There's no point in calling one good and one bad, and no stats that back up either claim... they're just different, and affect different people in different ways.

kindlekitten
04-09-2010, 05:04 PM
I think this was posted by someone earlier in the thread, but:

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/12/do-e-readers-cause-eye-strain

that's still a fairly inconclusive article if you read it closely.

m-reader
04-10-2010, 03:37 AM
Eye-strain is not caused by the fact that a screen is backlit.
A Paper-Book shines light into your eyes the same way, by reflection.

Eye-Strain is caused by:
- too much brightness. Your screen should not be much brighter than your Surroundings.
- other bright Light-Sources in your viewing area. Bright Lights should be above you or behind you and shine straight down only. Look at Office-Lights, they have Grid-Reflectors for this reason.
- Wrong Distance to monitor. If you have read alot of Books, your eyes might have permanently adjusted to this small Distance for reading (thus the eye-glasses to correct this) and reading at a bigger distance requires eye-muscle work and those get tired quickly causing the sensation of eye-strain.

Eye-strain is always a muscle-issue, there is nothing else in your eyes that could cause this sensation.

I had huge eye-strain issues myself and even gave up Desktop-PCs completely (Laptops were fine) until i noticed the importance of all these 3 Factors.

Please re-post this message when you get some peer-reviewed studies to support your assertion. In the meantime be prepared to get some fairly opinionated answers.

tompe
04-10-2010, 05:32 AM
this seems to be a foolish claim to make unless you are a Doctor of Optometry

I really do think that the underlying research is more important to know than to have a title.

m-reader
04-10-2010, 07:05 AM
I really do think that the underlying research is more important to know than to have a title.

It seems to be next to impossible finding any reputable public studies out there on this issue. It would be interesting to contact a teaching medical (eye) hospital with a good research track and see if they have anything on this.
Until I get some verifiable trustworthy data, all these arguments are as meaningful as the "how long is a piece of rope" conundrum.

Xanthe
04-10-2010, 09:13 AM
All I can base my opinion on is my own experience with MY eyes. If I'm viewing a backlit screen for five hours - with the light level adjusted comfortably for my eyes - my vision is blurred by the end of that time. If I'm reading a book or a non-backlit ereader for that same time frame, that doesn't happen.

dmaul1114
04-10-2010, 01:33 PM
All I can base my opinion on is my own experience with MY eyes. If I'm viewing a backlit screen for five hours - with the light level adjusted comfortably for my eyes - my vision is blurred by the end of that time. If I'm reading a book or a non-backlit ereader for that same time frame, that doesn't happen.


Yep, at the end of the day that's all that matters. Your own experience.

I do think people should be open to trying different things, and not go online and bash devices they haven't tried etc. For instance, I don't like reading on my laptop or desktop, get blurred eyes etc. But I have no problem on the iPad, or a PDA etc. where I can more easily adjust the brightness and hold the screen the same distance from my eyes I do a book or my Kindle etc.

So form factor has a TON to do with it.

But again, at the end of the day, go with what works best for you as that's all that matters. As I said before, I'll never get the animosity and arguments on here over screen types when it just boils down to personal preference and using what works best for you.

Fat Abe
04-10-2010, 04:48 PM
Yep, at the end of the day that's all that matters. Your own experience.


I agree with you entirely. Those lucky enough to find the reader that works well with their eyes and their reading environment are indeed blessed. We should not feel the need to proselytize others on what they should find comfortable, based on marketing, or even scientific, studies.

We can, however, offer advice about how we optimized readers for our own situations. For example, I use a large Sony Bravia display for computer work, which includes a great deal of reading and research. For the iPad, I purchased an Apple bluetooth keyboard to adjust the brightness of the screen. (Not all apps have readily available brightness controls). The three e-ink readers I own present challenges in getting enough uniform light on the displays. Here I have resorted to soft white lightbulbs as well as a Bowens tri-light fixture. Whatever works, no matter how kludgy it may appear to be.

kad032000
04-12-2010, 12:57 PM
that's still a fairly inconclusive article if you read it closely.

Does it conclusively prove that LCDs cannot strain your eyes? No, but it does give a sense of what the scientific opinion may be. You're asking for proof that LCDs don't cause eye-strain (if used correctly)? That's like asking for proof that tying your shoes doesn't cause brain cancer.

DoctorOhh
04-12-2010, 02:04 PM
It is a dirty apple propaganda.:bam:

People that claim this should be jailed for 10 years in Guantanamo. :deadhorse:

It's the same as to say that cigarettes doesn't cause cancer.

:rofl::rofl: :rofl:

Steven Lyle Jordan
04-12-2010, 03:20 PM
Does it conclusively prove that LCDs cannot strain your eyes? No, but it does give a sense of what the scientific opinion may be. You're asking for proof that LCDs don't cause eye-strain (if used correctly)? That's like asking for proof that tying your shoes doesn't cause brain cancer.

Just as science provides fairly conclusive evidence that tying your shoes is not a direct cause of brain cancer, it also indicates clearly that eye-strain can be suffered while reading any media to an extreme. Even scientists don't need a "smoking gun," as long as they have the gun, the bullet hole, and the remnants of the bullet.

Scientists and doctors have been providing ergonomic guidelines for reading (as well as many other activities) for years. They can hardly be held accountable when people don't take their guidelines to heart, and thereby suffer eye-strain.

DoctorOhh
04-12-2010, 05:58 PM
Scientists and doctors have been providing ergonomic guidelines for reading (as well as many other activities) for years. They can hardly be held accountable when people don't take their guidelines to heart, and thereby suffer eye-strain.

Those guidelines don't eliminate/prevent eyestrain, for many they can only hope to minimize eyestrain. Even following every eyestrain reduction suggestion I can't read a novel on my work LCD monitor. The guidelines do help me get through the day reading e-mail, the web and reports, but reading from my LCD work machine is still eyestrain inducing.

I must admit that my eyestrain has increased with age and gotten worse since having Lasik eye surgery. But I can read for hours on my PRS-505 without eyestrain until lack of sleep catches up with me. :)

For anyone to believe that eyestrain caused by backlit LCD monitors is a myth or just misunderstood by the ignorant masses is in itself ignorant. To assume that it could easily be avoided by all with properly applied ergonomic techniques is an assumption based in the world of make believe.

dmaul1114
04-12-2010, 06:11 PM
But again, a big problem with laptops and desktops is that it's just near impossible to get the ergonomics right as you just can't get the screen the proper distance from the eyes for long-term reading like you can with an e-reader or tablet or paper book.

Do I think light emitting devices probably lead to more eye strain even in ideal ergonomics, lighting etc. when compared to e-ink or paper? Probably so.

But again, as I said above, at the end of the day all that really matters is reading on what works best for your eyes.

I find e-ink a tad easier on my eyes than my girlfriend's iPad (which is vastly better than reading on my desktop or laptop monitor). But I'd give that up any day for having a color screen that can do video, internet, magazines, comics etc. as I'm just not an avid reader and don't really need the benefits of e-ink. And I spend a lot more time on those other activities than reading as I'm much more into movies, sports, TV, video games etc. than reading--and I get burnt out from having to read a lot for work and often don't want to do much leisure reading.

The Kindle was an impulse buy that I kind of regret now since I paid $200 for my used K1 and couldn't get much out of it now since used K2's are pretty common to find now. I'll probably just end up giving it away when I settle on a tablet down the road, be it a 2nd gen iPad or some other type of tablet.

Steven Lyle Jordan
04-12-2010, 07:14 PM
For anyone to believe that eyestrain caused by backlit LCD monitors is a myth or just misunderstood by the ignorant masses is in itself ignorant. To assume that it could easily be avoided by all with properly applied ergonomic techniques is an assumption based in the world of make believe.

Simply put, your experience is not the experience of everyone. That's why those of us keep pointing out that making such statements is inaccurate and counter-productive.

DawnFalcon
04-12-2010, 07:50 PM
Certainly, pointing out that different people have different opinions and reactions to screens in eyestrain terms to your own and results will vary is certainly inaccurate and counter-productive. Oh, wait...

*shrugs* Certain parts of the mainstream media have a hatred of e-ink which tends to colour many people's perceptions if they haven't done their research.

dmaul1114
04-12-2010, 07:56 PM
Simply put, your experience is not the experience of everyone. That's why those of us keep pointing out that making such statements is inaccurate and counter-productive.

Yep, like most everything, discussions (especially on the internet) go better when people stick to speaking for themselves, simply expressing their opinion an avoid making broad statements about what's "best" etc.

Everyone is different and there's no reason for anyone to care about something so petty as what type of screen someone else prefers to read on, or worry about what science says about what screen is best. Just read on what you like and let others do the same.

I think there's a lot of worry from the e-ink crowd about the tech dying off from the media running stories about "Kindle killers", people posting threads about e-ink dying or being replaced by iPad like tablets etc.

That's a bunch of hogwash. There's a decent sized niche of people who want dedicated readers with reflective screens, and we live in a capitalist global economy. Every sizable niche has a company willing to put out product to make money off of it. Dedicated readers will be no different. Regardless of how many iPads and other tablets sell, some companies will not turn down the chance to make money off of people who want dedicated readers.

At least until we have screen tech that can do a reading mode comparable to e-ink, as well as doing video etc. At that point dedicated reading devices might become pretty scarce since the advantage of dedicated readers is mostly lost--beyond simplicity and lower price.

DoctorOhh
04-12-2010, 11:29 PM
For anyone to believe that eyestrain caused by backlit LCD monitors is a myth or just misunderstood by the ignorant masses is in itself ignorant. To assume that it could easily be avoided by all with properly applied ergonomic techniques is an assumption based in the world of make believe.Simply put, your experience is not the experience of everyone. That's why those of us keep pointing out that making such statements is inaccurate and counter-productive.

If you're saying my statement is not accurate then it sounds like you are saying everyone, without exception, can avoid eyestrain if they just follow proper ergonomic guidelines.

You're not making this claim, are you?

LDBoblo
04-12-2010, 11:57 PM
If you're saying my statement is not accurate then it sounds like you are saying everyone, without exception, can avoid eyestrain if they just follow proper ergonomic guidelines.

You're not making this claim, are you?
I guess it's possible they're saying that...but I don't think so. What is more important to me is that they're not telling everyone to buy an LCD.

dmaul1114
04-13-2010, 12:46 AM
If you're saying my statement is not accurate then it sounds like you are saying everyone, without exception, can avoid eyestrain if they just follow proper ergonomic guidelines.

You're not making this claim, are you?

Can't speak for him, but I don't think I or others have implied that.

I think proper ergonomics and lighting conditions are crucial to minimize eye strain regardless of whether ones reading on e-ink, lcd a paper book or anything else.

Whether there's inherent difference in eye strain across types of devices even with the optimal ergonomics and lighting is debatable. Science aside, it seems reasonable from a common sense standpoint that light emitting devices would tire the eyes a bit faster than reflective ones due to more light entering the eye.

Whether that's truly the case I don't know, and frankly don't much care. Again it all boils down to reading on what feels best to your eyes and/or suits your need the best. And not caring what others think is the best to read on.

DoctorOhh
04-13-2010, 12:57 AM
Again it all boils down to reading on what feels best to your eyes and/or suits your need the best. And not caring what others think is the best to read on.

:ditto:

wayrad
04-13-2010, 07:17 AM
Heck, reading causes eyestrain ;). I was well on the road to my current -11 prescription before the LCD was invented. In fact, it's slowed down since then, but there might be a small matter of age involved there.

Regarding the idea eyestrain is caused by too much light entering the eye - this is obvious if you've ever been snowblinded, but I wonder whether the intensity differences involved here are significant. Sunlight can be literally a hundred times as intense as light in a well lit office, and totally swamps out a PDA screen, but isn't the ability to read outdoors considered one of e-ink's advantages?

Steven Lyle Jordan
04-13-2010, 09:27 AM
If you're saying my statement is not accurate then it sounds like you are saying everyone, without exception, can avoid eyestrain if they just follow proper ergonomic guidelines.

You're not making this claim, are you?

Knock it off. You know what I'm saying.

Lemurion
04-13-2010, 10:22 AM
Here's my take: a backlit LCD very easily can cause more eyestrain than an E-Ink screen simply because of the backlighting.

I don't believe there's any significant disagreement with the idea that reading from a screen that's brighter than your surroundings is hard on the eyes for many people. Because E-Ink works entirely on reflected light it - like a paper book - is not going to be brighter than the surroundings unless it's being directly illuminated. This is not the case for a backlit LCD, which can easily be brighter than the room.

Another factor to remember is that the majority of complaints about LCD devices aren't directed toward reflective LCD devices such as the Jetbook. Complaints about the Jetbook have historically focused on points like value for money, format support and battery life - not eyestrain.

LCD displays may not directly cause eyestrain, but enough people have issues with backlit LCD devices that it is something to consider when looking for a new device. But as always, the best option is to look at something first, before buying it so you can decide what meets your needs.

Steven Lyle Jordan
04-13-2010, 12:18 PM
Here's my take: a backlit LCD very easily can cause more eyestrain than an E-Ink screen simply because of the backlighting.

On the other hand, in low lighting conditions e-Ink can cause eyestrain simply because of lack of backlighting. Aaaand, we're back to square one.

Again, the eyes only care if you have light. It doesn't matter to the eye whether it is projected or reflected... only that it is at the right brightness. Too much or too little for too long, and you get eyestrain. And this can happen as easily with e-ink, or with paper, as with LCD.

(Discussing this subject is a lot like watching a tennis match, isn't it?)

Lemurion
04-13-2010, 12:49 PM
On the other hand, in low lighting conditions e-Ink can cause eyestrain simply because of lack of backlighting. Aaaand, we're back to square one.

Again, the eyes only care if you have light. It doesn't matter to the eye whether it is projected or reflected... only that it is at the right brightness. Too much or too little for too long, and you get eyestrain. And this can happen as easily with e-ink, or with paper, as with LCD.

(Discussing this subject is a lot like watching a tennis match, isn't it?)

I have three reading devices on my desk as I type this - two of which have backlit LCDs (iPaq and Droid) while the third has E-Ink. I no longer use the iPaq much, but I use both the others regularly.

As for eyestrain in low-light conditions, I'm not going to deny it, but it's hardly unique to E-Ink, one can suffer exactly the same issue for the same reasons with reflective LCDs or even paper.

My point is not that backlit LCD and only backlit LCD displays cause eyestrain, but that people generally suffer eyestrain for a different reason when reading from a backlit LCD than from reflective media and so their established coping strategies don't work.

I'm also taking exception to the undertone I've got from some of the posters in this thread that anyone who claims to get eyestrain from a backlit LCD is simply doing it wrong. It's too reminiscent of a "blame the victim" mentality and I don't care for it.

Steven Lyle Jordan
04-13-2010, 01:34 PM
I'm also taking exception to the undertone I've got from some of the posters in this thread that anyone who claims to get eyestrain from a backlit LCD is simply doing it wrong. It's too reminiscent of a "blame the victim" mentality and I don't care for it.

It's true, and we're trying to avoid that undertone (I am especially). Thing is, there is no proof outside of anecdotal evidence that there is any difference between reflective and transmissive light, as many posters continue to insist, and professional medical statements to the effect that there is no difference to the eye between equal amounts of light either transmitted or reflected.

Some of us are trying very hard to emphasize that everyone's eyes are different... nevertheless, it's hard to avoid that sort of tone you mention. I mean, I doubt it would help if we took the tone that some people's eyes are just deficient compared to others. But without concrete evidence, we can't say one media is deficient compared to the others, either.

So how do we address a clear difference in how one person's eyes react to viewing media versus another person's eyes, when there is no scientific proof that one media is superior or inferior to the other?

All we can do is state which media work well for ourselves, and avoid making blanket statements about the quality or superiority/inferiority of the media.

dmaul1114
04-13-2010, 01:43 PM
I don't believe there's any significant disagreement with the idea that reading from a screen that's brighter than your surroundings is hard on the eyes for many people.

Which again gets back to the point that it's crucial to turn the brightness up or down to match the ambient lighting when reading on an LCD or other backlit screen.

Just like with paper or e-ink it's crucial to have enough light--and not too much (especially if it's bright white paper) to minimize eye strain.

Any type of reading can strain the eyes, the key is to get the ergonomics and lighting right to minimize eye strain, and from there it's just a matter of what each person prefers and what feels best to their eyes.

I do think a lot of LCD haters have only read on laptops or desktops, which isn't really a fair way to judge LCD screens for reading as they 1) probably didn't adjust the brightness and 2) Even if they did, it's near impossible to get the ergonomics right for reading in terms of distance from the eyes etc. vs. using a tablet that you can hold and read just like a book or e-reader.

That said, it's again a matter of what people prefer, but people should be softer on bashing LCD reading if they've only done it on computers and not tablets, PDAs etc. that can be held properly, easily adjust the brightness etc.

And I'm not saying that everyone who hates LCD has done that and is "doing it wrong" etc. It's just not that many people have owned PDAs, Tablets etc. as reader devices, and I don't think there's really a "right" way to read on a laptop, netbook or desktop as the erogonomics/form factor are just terrible for prolonged reading.

The only way to really make a fair comparison is to read on a book for x hours one day, then an e-ink reader for x hours one day and an lcd tablet for x hours one day and compare your experience. Making sure you read in the same positions and adjusted ambient lighting properly for the first two and the backlighting is adjusted properly on the lcd tablet.

Otherwise, one can't really have an informed opinion on what works best for them if they have tried all 3 and compared them for themselves.

For me, Paper books are best, e-ink comes in second, and LCD tablets (iPad) are a close 3rd. But it's all close and at the end of the day I'd go with the LCD tablet as I don't do prolonged reading all that often and would rather have all the other functionality over the e-ink screen and long battery life.

kad032000
04-13-2010, 01:47 PM
Just as science provides fairly conclusive evidence that tying your shoes is not a direct cause of brain cancer, it also indicates clearly that eye-strain can be suffered while reading any media to an extreme. Even scientists don't need a "smoking gun," as long as they have the gun, the bullet hole, and the remnants of the bullet.

Scientists and doctors have been providing ergonomic guidelines for reading (as well as many other activities) for years. They can hardly be held accountable when people don't take their guidelines to heart, and thereby suffer eye-strain.

Well put. :thumbsup:

Magnesus
04-14-2010, 03:37 AM
Which again gets back to the point that it's crucial to turn the brightness up or down to match the ambient lighting when reading on an LCD or other backlit screen.

If you do that on LCD screen the contrast will be abysmal in most situations.

astra
04-14-2010, 04:41 AM
It is a dirty apple propaganda.:bam:

People that claim this should be jailed for 10 years in Guantanamo. :deadhorse:

It's the same as to say that cigarettes doesn't cause cancer.

:rofl:
Could not agree more.

I don't give the tiniest rat's ass(c) about the real reason behind the fact that my eyes get tired if I read from LCD screen and don't get tired when I read from eInk screen. So, I act accordingly to my experience with the both types of screens.

dmaul1114
04-14-2010, 01:48 PM
If you do that on LCD screen the contrast will be abysmal in most situations.

It's perfectly fine on the iPad for reading. Turn it down to the right level to read a book in the e-book app. Don't have to fool with the system brightness and can leave it in the auto mode for net surfing, video watching, playing games and the other tasks were things look best with the brightness up.

That's why I think so many hate LCD screens. They only look good for most things with the brightness up pretty high, so not enough people are turning it down to the right level when they're trying to read a book for an hour or two on them.

dmaul1114
04-14-2010, 01:49 PM
:rofl:
Could not agree more.

I don't give the tiniest rat's ass(c) about the real reason behind the fact that my eyes get tired if I read from LCD screen and don't get tired when I read from eInk screen. So, I act accordingly to my experience with the both types of screens.

That's the right attitude as I feel the same way in general as I've said repeatedly--read on what you like and don't worry about others read on (much less go around bashing their opinion etc.) is the way to go.

I prefer LCD as I just don't read that much, hate the slow page turns of e-ink etc. But I certainly have no problem with people preferring e-ink, as that's why we have the variety of devices to chose from. We can all find what works best for us. I only get annoyed at people that go bitch about LCD screens in device area forums for things like the iPad etc., as people that hate the tech shouldn't be posting in forums since they have no interest in the device.

WallOfSound
04-14-2010, 02:04 PM
I get eye-strain from LCD screens and I know a lot of other people who do to. I've tried all the solutions people recommend like adjusting screen brightness, distance, surrounding light sources and none of them made a noticeable difference. The only thing that works for me is regular breaks from looking at the screen, at least 1 minute in every 15 say. This is fine for allowing me to do work, surf the web, read e-mails etc but it's obviously awful in terms of immersing myself in a lengthy work like a book. That's when I use e-ink which is awful at most of the above but simply doesn't cause anywhere near as much strain on my eyes as LCD.

I don't mind having to use two different technologies, I like it, they compliment each other. However I'm sick and tired of people telling me that eye-strain caused by LCD isn't an issue and that I just don't understand how to use the screen correctly :rolleyes:

dmaul1114
04-14-2010, 02:10 PM
I don't mind having to use two different technologies, I like it, they compliment each other. However I'm sick and tired of people telling me that eye-strain caused by LCD isn't an issue and that I just don't understand how to use the screen correctly :rolleyes:

Have you tried a tablet or PDA with adjustable brightness?

I can't stand reading on a desktop monitor or laptop/netbook regardless of brightness setting etc. as I just can't get the distance and angle right.

But I have little problems with a PDA, iPad etc. Not picking on you, or saying you're doing it wrong. Just curious as I hated LCD reading until I tried it on handhelds.

WallOfSound
04-14-2010, 02:45 PM
I've tried it on an iphone, it was far better than just using a laptop or desktop but I still found myself getting eye-strain and needing to take breaks. For short stories and poems it would have been fine but 90% of what I read is novels and I couldn't even finish one without switching to a kindle. If e-ink didn't exist then maybe I could have got used to it but the temptation of painless reading was too much.

Not tried it on an tablet, when I have enough money I'll get an ipad anyway because they look amazing for casual computing but I'm not expecting it to replace an e-ink reader.

Steven Lyle Jordan
04-14-2010, 03:05 PM
I regularly get eyestrain from reading glossy magazines, and when I test-drove an e-ink reader a few months ago, I got eyestrain from that. I've gotten eyestrain from my PDA and smartphone on the way home. In all cases, it was due to working in front of a computer all day, without breaks.

No one can deny that the eyes just need rest... and if your equipment isn't properly set for your eyes and the reading environment, you're gonna need more.

astra
04-14-2010, 04:44 PM
I find that a flawed comparison. Smoking is a nasty habit, it should be banned, but the reason it's unhealthy is because you inhale foreign material. Which causes the cancer.

If you read with a LCD screen, you don't add anything to your body. You don't inhale, sniff, inject, etc. anything.

So, when one is run over by bus, it is absolutely harmless, because the only thing that can cause damage to one's body is something administered internally.
Absolutely flawless approach :smack:

dmaul1114
04-15-2010, 12:08 AM
Not tried it on an tablet, when I have enough money I'll get an ipad anyway because they look amazing for casual computing but I'm not expecting it to replace an e-ink reader.

Yeah I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on reading on it if you pick one up.

I like reading on my girlfriend's iPad way more than I thought. Get the brightness at the right level and it didn't really bother my eyes. I've not read for more than an hour on it. But for me I seldom read longer than that in a stretch, so it could probably replace my Kindle.

But could be an issue for people who regularly read for hours on end--which is a lot of people here. So for you all it probably couldn't replace e-ink for both the eye strain possibilities and the battery life etc.

ChrisC333
04-15-2010, 06:38 AM
I don't think it's a myth, but I do think it's been exaggerated. It has suited the makers of e-ink devices to draw attention away from the drab grey-on-grey look of e-ink by advertising that it's easy on the eye. Why not - it's a good marketing strategy - but it doesn't mean that we'll all get eye trouble if we don't use their products.


I've been reading on computer screens on a daily basis for over 20 years. I've used them for work, to play games, to read email, search for information, and so on, for hours on end with no eye problems at all. That doesn't mean that some people don't have a genuine difficulty, just that I don't.

However, I also remember that when computers first came into widespread use in workplaces that a certain percentage of people claimed that they were giving them RSI. It was quite the buzz for a while. Yet you hardly hear of it now, despite the number of users having greatly increased since then. This is probably partly due to better workplace practice regarding sitting correctly and taking movement breaks. The same appears to be true with eye strain. Some people really did get RSI and some really do have eye problems, but the millions of hours now successfully worked at computers every day now suggest that the numbers whose problems can't be solved by changing their settings or usage patterns are relatively small.

I actually prefer a properly adjusted backlit screen to the rather dull look of e-ink (although either is OK) so the rapid development of small tablet style computers is perfect for my needs. :thumbsup:

Magnesus
04-15-2010, 07:17 AM
Have you tried a tablet or PDA with adjustable brightness?

I tried PDA as a dictionary while reading paper book with brightness set to minimum level (so the background was grey not white). My eyes were in pain very soon.
Maybe LCD with LED backlight are better. I don't know.

dmaul1114
04-15-2010, 12:10 PM
Yeah LED backlighting does make a difference as it has no flicker. My current laptop and office desktop are LED backlit, and they bother my eyes very little for doing work. I still don't much like reading on them, but that's more due to the poor form factor for reading. Again, the screen on the iPad doesn't bother me.

I never liked reading on my old Palm Pilot (still have it), though that was more the small screen than the light issue.

DawnFalcon
04-15-2010, 05:15 PM
However, I also remember that when computers first came into widespread use in workplaces that a certain percentage of people claimed that they were giving them RSI. It was quite the buzz for a while. Yet you hardly hear of it now, despite the number of users having greatly increased since then.

Rather, it was made plain that companies were liable if their employees got RSI because of their negligence in providing equipment of a reasonable standard, and medical providers were trained in explaining to people how to avoid RSI, and exercises for it.