Why Your Eyes Hurt Using a New iPhone, iPad Or iMac

Ads by Google

The Apple LED screen is a common source of complaint among consumers. Many new iPhone, iPad, and Mac users have reported that it causes eyestrain and general discomfort, yet if you look around on the Internet, you can’t find much backing for the problem. Apple itself hasn’t offered a solution, and some people think that it’s even some kind of conspiracy. Personally, I think that the Cupertino-based company has better things to do than blind the eyes of the world, but then again, I’m not an evil dictatorial genius.

The screens themselves have been around for a while, but after all that time, there still isn’t an explanation for their eye-trouble-inducing capabilities. I’ve done my research, and I found common concerns about the screens as well as some homegrown remedies. In the meantime, I suppose we’ll just have to work with what we know, and that’s not much.

What Are Some Complaints About The New LED Screens?

These days, the most common displays used for electronic devices are LED screens and LCD screens. LED displays implement light-emitting diodes as backlights, offering bright pictures, vivid colors, and low energy usage. On the other hand, LCD displays make use of liquid crystals laid over flat fluorescent lights that aren’t as bright, colorful, or energy efficient. It’s clear as to which one is superior, but at what cost?

In 2009, Apple started pushing out the LED screens for their hardware, bringing about statements from some users that their eyes hurt from using them. This has been a common annoyance, and finding sound evidence for these users’ reports is a bit tough. I will say that there has been definitely enough of a stir that I was swayed to believe them. Reasonable people don’t usually whine unless something is actually wrong. Here’s a list of most symptoms:

  • Burning eyes
  • Sore eyes
  • Tired eyes
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Headache

How Can The LED Screens Hurt Your Eyes?

Ads by Google

I can’t provide a valid reason as to why the LEDs are a cause of eyestrain. Unfortunately, my only sources include the personal accounts of people who simply claim that the LEDs hurt more than the LCDs. It’s my opinion that it’s different for different people, and as with any case of a technology usage shift, humans have to make adjustments. On that wavelength, I’ve found a few possible reasons as to why they hurt, but they are by no means well-founded.

It’s Too Bright

Common sense will tell you that bright lights hurt your eyes, and with an LED screen that is brighter and more vivid than old LCDs, it’s expected. Try adjusting your screen to be a bit dimmer than normal, and see if this alleviates anything. Additionally, try letting your device automatically set the levels for a while. See what’s best for you.

It’s Too Dark

I found a bit of information on LED televisions that is about the screen’s refresh rate. We won’t get into numbers, but the way that LED displays are dimmed is by applying pulse-width modulation to the supply current. This turns the backlight off and on faster than you can see, and much like old CRT monitors, this flickering can put strain on your eyes. If the frequency is too low or if you are already sensitive to the flickering, your eyes will more than likely hurt.

An easy test to see if the frequency is too low is by waving your hand in front of the screen. If your hand has clearly-formed edges, then it’s too low. However, if it is blurred, you should be fine.

You Aren’t Blinking Enough

Lastly, there’s the possibility that you just aren’t blinking enough. Some people say it doesn’t help, but by taking a break every 20-30 minutes to look out a window or just away from the screen for a few seconds, you could find some relief. We use screens a lot these days, and sometimes we forget that our eyes weren’t designed to stare at electronic devices for hours at a time. Speaking of which, our body wasn’t designed for a lot of technological adaptations – that includes sitting down.

The Verdict

Let me be blunt – I do think there is a problem. People wouldn’t go around saying that their eyes were hurting if there wasn’t one, would they? Whether it be the placebo effect, intensified eyestrain, or long-lasting damage, I believe that this is something that should be looked into by Apple. However, I can’t put a finger on what exactly the problem is.

Do the new Apple LED screens hurt your eyes? How do they compare to the old LCDs?

Join live MakeUseOf Groups on Grouvi App Join live Groups on Grouvi
Self Improvement
Self Improvement
68 Members
Mac Troubleshooting
Mac Troubleshooting
21 Members
Mac Switchers
Mac Switchers
15 Members
Mac OS X & Software
Mac OS X & Software
15 Members
Apple Hardware Discussion
Apple Hardware Discussion
14 Members
Mac Gamers
Mac Gamers
8 Members
Ads by Google
Comments (43)
  • Merlin Parker

    Sore eyes. Foggy brain. I never experienced this with my PC. I bought the Macbook about a year ago. I just got back from vacation where I hardly used my Macbook and realized within 5 minutes, my crazy systems were back. Bummer, not sure what to do now.

  • Xavier

    I’ve pretty much always had headaches in certains conditions like playing videos games for more than an hour, but since tech companies have started to use LED backlights, my life has become very complicated, because I can’t stand half the new devices’ screens.
    Apple is the worst, because their screens keep getting worse for me. I think their obsession for thinner products is a side effect of that (and the fact it looks like they’re using the same type of screen in all their products). Now, i can’t use any of their newer products for more than 5 minutes without getting migraine. The weird thing is that I owned an ipad mini 2 that was ok but the battery failed and it was replaced with a model that is kryptonite to my eyes. So I guess they’re using different screens suppliers and one of them really sucks.

  • Mac User

    I have found through online research many persons who have experienced eye issues, minor to major, while using Macs.
    I purchased a new iMac with 27″ screen a few months back to replace the one I bought
    in 2012. The difference in the screens is quite noticeable and not for the better.
    I cannot sit for more then just a few minutes at the new iMac before my eyes start to blur and begin to experience migraine visual disturbances and lightheadedness. I have owned several Macs and can testify that some of the screens are much harder on the eyes. I am going to contact Apple as my new iMac as it is impossible for me to use. I would be really interested in knowing more how and if screens are tested for safe human use.

  • Dungrakoti

    Yes I agree. It will be greatest leap in display technology if these companies can develop a non light source based screen as is there in Amazon Kindle with colour. May be it will be less beautiful to look at but will give ua a great choice to opt for it and save our eyes. I am hopeful that will come.

  • sdsa

    Boys, it is all about poor electronics. Low Pulse Width Modulation. And LEDs inself. There are studies that states LEDs led ;) to AMD – irreversible damage to the retina etc.

    Human eyes are not degined to look at the source of light whole day. Also brains.

Load 10 more
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.