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Eye strain from LED backlighting in MacBook Pro

436349 Views 1,987 Replies Latest reply: Apr 21, 2014 10:40 AM by GKphone RSS Branched to a new discussion.
  • Skribilo22 Calculating status...
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    Jun 5, 2011 1:35 PM (in response to RMartin111)

    I don't think glossy screens are the issue, but rather the LED backlighting used in the display.  I had trouble with a matte LED backlit display.

  • eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)
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    Jun 5, 2011 6:02 PM (in response to ds store)

    ds store: I don't understand why you think touch screens have to be glossy — they manifestly don't. Nearly every touch-screen point-of-sale cash register I've ever seen had a non-glare surface. Nor is applying an antiglare film to a glossy touch screen a no-no, as witness the countless iPhones (including mine) and other touch-screen cell phones in use today with aftermarket non-glare screen protectors on them. So I'm mystified by your post.

     

    And as someone else has posted before me, this thread is about LED backlighting, not glossy screens. Glossy screens may or may not dominate the display industry in years to come as they seem to be dominating it right now, but there is certainly every reason to believe LED backlighting will do so.

  • George Coghill Level 2 Level 2 (475 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 14, 2011 8:16 PM (in response to RMartin111)

    I've been talking with a friend who wants to switch to Mac, but she told me about these font issues (which I had never heard of before, and I do not own a Mac with an LED-backlit display). A little research led me to this discussion thread.

     

    One thing I discovered about font smoothing in OS X since 10.6 was released was that Apple had changed the multiple font smoothing options in 10.5 down to just two: basically on or off. You used to get the following:

     

    • Automatic - Best for Main Display
    • Standard - Best for CRT
    • Light
    • Medium - Best for Flat Panel
    • Strong

     

    This hint over at Macworld allows you to use the Terminal to choose a different setting, using the older "levels" of font smoothing:

     

    http://hints.macworld.com/article.php?story=20090828224632809

     

    While poking around to help my friend, I noticed my font smoothing checkbox (in the Appearance prefs) was a straight line as opposed to a checkbox. I clicked it and it changed to a checkbox. My font display also got noticeably worse.

     

    Either I used this hint in the past and forgot, or 10.6 kept my setting from 10.5. Either way, I ran the tip, using the "2" setting (Medium), and presto, font display was back to what I had been using.

     

    I'm curious if this tip will have any effect on the issues the backlit-LED users are experiencing. My friend had already returned the iMac so we can't test on her end.

  • Dave Nikkel Calculating status...

    I purchased one of the new 13 inch Thunderbolt Macbook Airs two weeks ago.  Like so many others, similar issues with eye strain, headache and nausia.  Your post with the suggestions for modifying display settings are exactly what the doctor ordered.  Thanks so much for posting them.

     

    The only one were I was surprised at your suggestion and went in the other direction is gamma.  Higher gamma seems to increase contract and reduced contrast with a lower gamma seems to me the better direction to go in.  I put it at 1.8.

     

    Of course, having Lion on my brand new MBA, I'm not sure my options are identical to those in Snow Leopard.  Under calibration, there's an Expert Mode option, which guides you through a a process of determining your displays luminance response curve, in addition to the other settings you mention.  I went through that but I don't really know whether it had a material impact on the final outcome.

     

    So, like you, it seems MUCH better now.  Mind you, my eyes are still irritated from yesterday.  So I guess I won't know for a bit whether I'm really done mucking with settings. 

     

    Thanks again.

  • MisterMojo Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 14, 2011 1:58 PM (in response to Dave Nikkel)

    Dave, are you referring to these settings?

     

    1. Changed the colour temperature to exactly 5000K via the calibration in Displays.

    2. Increased gamma to maximum, also via the calibration. (I doubt whether this was actually helpful but I don't want to change anything now it's alright.)

    3. Ensured font smoothing is set to default (see 'Deleting the font smoothing override' at http://macperformanceguide.com/Trials-FontSmoothing.html ).

    4. Enabled "Use LCD font smoothing" in Appearance (which is the default).

    5. Disable any third-party colour temperature software, such as Flux, and reboot.

     

    I spent 1.5 hours working on an MBA 11" a few days ago and I developed a headache within the first 15 minutes. I had trouble focusing on the display, espeically when i first began using it.

     

    It's interesting that my 15" MBP also has an LED display (http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/macbook_pro/stats/macbook-pro-core-2-duo-2 .4-15-early-2008-penryn-specs.html), but it was one of the first models and it also has a matte display.  I suspect that Apple switched to an inferior display in later models.

  • Dave Nikkel Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Aug 16, 2011 6:30 PM (in response to MisterMojo)

    Yes, those are the ones.  I followed them except I went for a lower gamma to reduce contrast.  Have you stayed with the settings you posted?

  • MisterMojo Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 16, 2011 11:53 PM (in response to Dave Nikkel)

    I haven't changed the settings on the 15"MBP; it hasn't bothered me as-is but I don't use it much. My wife has never complained about it and she also did not care for the 11"MBA display. I have a new 13" MBP arriving Thursday; I'll see how it goes. I'm going to try some Power Support anti-glare film to cut reflections. I use the same stuff on an iPad and it does the trick.

     

    I'll use the MBP a lot the first week and if I have a problem I'll send it back to Amazon.

  • eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)

    Steve03011983 wrote:

     

    Perhaps I'm just a bit of a PC snob, but I've always had this problem with Macs. The back-lit on the Air is particularly bad. But I've had this problem with the old tower Macs in the late nineties.

     

    In the late 90s there were no LED-backlit displays at all. All displays then were CRTs or fluorescent-backlit LCDs.

  • eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)

    Message deleted.

     

    Message was edited by: eww

  • cbcsvd Calculating status...
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    Aug 17, 2011 12:45 PM (in response to RMartin111)
  • eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 17, 2011 3:03 PM (in response to cbcsvd)

    cbcsvd: If the glass in front of the MBP's display were held in place by magnets as it is in the iMac, that would be a reasonable thing to try. But it isn't: it's held in place by a continuous strip of very sticky adhesive all around the perimeter. It's not nearly as easy to remove without breaking it (or to replace without getting a lot of junk stuck in the adhesive, if you decide your MBP looks lousy with the edges of its LCD and other internal hardware exposed) as the iMac's glass is. So this isn't an option that can be highly recommended to MBP owners.

  • cbcsvd Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Aug 17, 2011 3:17 PM (in response to eww)

    eww: Thank you for your reply. You are right: I just forgot this discussion was about MPB, not about iMac. I've got an iMac and I'm considering removing the glass (which is not really glass on the iMac). I was wondering if an iMac user already tried this...

     

    Message was edited by: cbcsvd

  • eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 17, 2011 3:23 PM (in response to cbcsvd)

    If any have tried it, you'll probably find them over in the iMac forums,

  • MisterMojo Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Aug 20, 2011 9:49 AM (in response to Dave Nikkel)

    Yesterday I spent 4-5 hours setting up the new 13" MBP. I wound up with a slight headache and definite eyestrain; my eyes didn't feel right all night. The MBP display is pretty much the same as the MBA in this regard.

     

    This morning I have been trying different calibrating steps... I used the "expert" option in Apple's calibration. I've create three profiles, one at maximum gamma and another at 1.8 per Dave's recommendation. A color temp of 5500k looks good to me; I generally set this at 5600k.  5000k is quite yellow. So far I think that I prefer gamma at 1.8 instead of 2.2. The reduced contrast seems to help.

     

    I am also going to try different brightness settings. I have used Shades in the past and Installed it on the MBP. It does allow fine-tuning of the display brightness; the Apple brightness slider is essentially useless in comparison.

     

    The font smoothing settings don't seem to be the same under Lion. When I tried the suggested terminal commands it said that the command wasn't available. I currently have it at the default of "use LCD font smoothing when available" and it is turned off for font sizes 4 and smaller.

     

    Like Dave, it seems somewhat better but since my eyes are still irritated from yesterday it is hard to say... Dave, are you there? Are your eyes any better today?

     

    I'm going to take a break this morning and mow my lawn. I'll see if things are any better later... I will probably give the software SuperCal a try too; it's basically an expanded and somewhat easier to use version of Apple's "expert" calibration option. It worked very well on my iMac. Since it is shareware you can give it a try before registering it.

     

    As far as the Power Support anti-glare film goes, since I applied it as soon as I opened the MBP box I didn't need to clean the display. There is zero dust and all the air bubbles rubbed-out with a microfiber cloth. The film eliminates the mirror effect completely. Colors do not appear to be affected, but color accuracy seems to be out the window anyway if this display is going to be usable for me... There is a very slight speckling of the display, but it doesn't bother me in the least. It's a miniscule price to pay to be rid of reflections and specular light sources.

     

    If I am missing something or anyone has any feedback I'd appreciate hearing it.

  • saofrenzy Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 26, 2011 8:40 AM (in response to RMartin111)

    Same issue here. Received my 15" antiglare HR macbook pro 4 days ago. Kept wondering what it was about the screen that kept gaving me a headache. At first, I thought it was the color as the colors on my mbp is very different from my 2006 mb, which I've never had an issue with. Then realized it probably had to do with the LED backlight

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