Skip navigation

Eye strain from LED backlighting in MacBook Pro

432797 Views 1,982 Replies Latest reply: Apr 18, 2014 5:37 PM by ElleAle RSS Branched to a new discussion.
  • Jessiah1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 16, 2014 2:45 PM (in response to mojarvinen)

    No problem.

     

    I have a Canon Rebel XTi, could that camera do this? By the way, I believe that car lights are so bad because manufacturers buy cheap products and don't care as long as they look cool. I am still very interested in knowing why you have no issue with a lot of LED lights but do with monitors. I have a theory that people are all sensitive to different flicker ranges and some of us are more sensitive to a wide range of flicker modulation than others who may be bothered much more by say 60hz or less? Could explain a lot, I also think spectrum makes flicker much more offensive if it is bright white or blue.

  • kvoth Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 16, 2014 2:48 PM (in response to mojarvinen)

    mojarvinen wrote:

     

    kvoth - please refrain from the insulting tone.

    I'm sorry if I've insulted you. I'm finding it hard to communicate with you.

     

    I see that you are frustrated with your problems and that you direct your anger towards anyone that dares to have any differing views, as I understand that you have probably encountered quite a few doctors and other persons who don't seem to believe you.

     

    Don't trivialize the situation. I'm not frustrated with doctors or persons -- I am frustrated with how you are dodging conversations and questions while speaking with authorotative certainty that you have not earned.

     

    You are making broad statements about a situation that is personal to all of us, and the data is coming straight from your assumptions and opinions.

    I know - I tend to be frustrated also, if someone comes and starts to yak about setting the backlight dimmer or getting some yellow glassess. For me it is the PWM, no mysticism. The optic nerve senses the flicker and that causes the irritation.

    Again, here you go with your authoratative certainty, believing that your opinions are science. Please explain how you have measured your optic nerves response to flicker. I'm not saying it's not possible or not happening -- I'm saying that your opinion is a far cry from certainty.

     

    I'll leave the mysticism insinuation alone.

    And please - while I'm the first to value scientific peer reviewed, double blind studies and providing references to all claims,

    Your posts suggest otherwise.

    we just do not have the studies available in this subject.

    Correct.

    I do know that for myself it is not the same thing as the extreme light sensitivity, this I can say for a fact.

    Blah blah blah, you believe in blind studies and science blah blah blah but your unresearched, unsupported, unproven conjecture is definitely fact.

    The solution to that is not start trying out prism glasses and going to the eye doctor to investigate what is the problem. The solution is to get a display that does not irritate. It's a bit similar than with coeliac diseas - you avoid gluten and do not post forums full of hypotetical stuff and go from doctor to doctor to find a way to tolerate gluten. But then of course, IF you also have intolerance to almost everything else, then you might do the opposite, but as I pointed out, then you are such a minority, that it is not valuable to discuss that among coeliac forums.

    So there's no confusion, I recommend and use a good monitor. I have never said otherwise.

     

    As for your comparison -- Yah, you can avoid allergic triggers (lactose, cats, etc.) but what do you think allegra, benadryl, lactaid, allergy shots, sudafed, afrin, etc. are for? They are there to address the root cause.

     

    If I carried your logic on monitors to allergies, it would be that discovering the root cause of allergies and attempting to cure/treat them is inconsequential. This is where I strongly disagree.

    But I see I have lost the battle, this has become a thread where all kinds of problems from head injuries to extreme light sensitivity is discussed in relation to bad monitors.

    We all agree, the monitors suck. They should change and we should document and use good ones.

     

    There are plenty of us here who have done the temporary fixes of getting a new monitor, throwing away the ipad, etc. But we want more! In addition to better monitors, we want to understand our physical reaction and try to address that, too.

    And yes, really - if car tail lights give you problems, why discuss it in a computer monitor thread. While those could be somehow intertwined,

    Yes, they can be intertwined -- the discussion of non-monitor triggers is relevant.

    again, I assume that the vast majority will find that this is not the case in their own situation.

    Again, assumptions.

  • mojarvinen Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 16, 2014 2:58 PM (in response to Jessiah1)

    XTi should do it if it has video.

     

    With monitors I start to get the irriation, depending on the monitor from 15 minutes to several hours. Like with my old CCFL Samsung I got irritated eyes if I used the computer for each nigh several hours. Then maybe on the 3rd night my eyes started to be worn out. The PWM was 130 Hz. With a newer Samsung LED display I feel the irriation in 15 minutes and the PWM is 240 Hz. But I can still tolerate it for a day even, but then I just have red irritated eyes and in couple of days it is just impossible to use it.

     

    I might be sensitive for car tail lights if I'd stare them for hours at a close distance but that is not likely to happen, since even in a traffic jam you do not stare the tail lights constantly, like you do a computer display.

     

    With ceiling LED lightning - don't know if I have that much experience about it but it might be easier when it is reflecting from matte surfaces.

     

    I thinkt that high PWM frequencies cause the eye strain and lower flicker frequencies cause the migraines and the epileptic seizures some people have, that is if you are prone to migranes and epileptic seizures. But the lower frequencies flicker is an old thing - strobo lights are 30 Hz I think and those have been known to cause epileptic seizures.

     

    I do have the blue light blocking glasses for (hot topic in the biohacking communities for circardian rhrythm), but those make no difference with PWM, so as for myself, I still doubt that the light spectrum could be an issue, though I realize that an unnatural spike at some blue frequency might cause problems for some. I believe anything unnatural, meaning something that cannot be achieved in nature so that we would be adjusted to it by eveolution, might be harmful. Since there is no flickerin light in nature and even the sky blue is probably more even spectrum than some LED lights, those are both unnatural things.

  • Jessiah1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 16, 2014 3:15 PM (in response to mojarvinen)

    Ok, my last post for a day or so when I recover, ugh.

     

    XTi should do it if it has video.

     

      Good, I will try this.


    With monitors I start to get the irritation, depending on the monitor from 15 minutes to several hours. Like with my old CCFL Samsung I got irritated eyes if I used the computer for each nigh several hours. Then maybe on the 3rd night my eyes started to be worn out. The PWM was 130 Hz. With a newer Samsung LED display I feel the irriation in 15 minutes and the PWM is 240 Hz. But I can still tolerate it for a day even, but then I just have red irritated eyes and in couple of days it is just impossible to use it.

     

    Interesting, for comparison my symptoms with LED monitors of any kind so far are immediate, my glasses barely do anything for these. Within 15 minutes I have a migraine that will not recede for several days, I know it sounds crazy but it is true.

     

    I might be sensitive for car tail lights if I'd stare them for hours at a close distance but that is not likely to happen, since even in a traffic jam you do not stare the tail lights constantly, like you do a computer display.

     

    Based upon your above inputs I would say at this time you are not sensitive enough to be bothered by them during short exposures. Could change, I was not this bad 2 years ago, food for thought.

     

    With ceiling LED lightning - don't know if I have that much experience about it but it might be easier when it is reflecting from matte surfaces.

     

    This is where you can get a real idea of whether or not all LED is an issue for you which I suspect it would be over a length of time, just a theory of course. If you can use an LED light bulb for reading a book in a very dark room where only the LED light is present you could test this theory over an hour or two, 2 hours to be sure since you can tolerate a monitor that long sometimes.

     

    I thinkt that high PWM frequencies cause the eye strain and lower flicker frequencies cause the migraines and the epileptic seizures some people have, that is if you are prone to migranes and epileptic seizures. But the lower frequencies flicker is an old thing - strobo lights are 30 Hz I think and those have been known to cause epileptic seizures.

     

    I have taken an EEG and no surprise that there are no signs of seizure however there is a PHD in Florida who believes my issue can be seen on an EEG test, just not the typical results Dr. are looking for with seizures. I will tell you that I am sensitive to all levels of flicker, my pellet stove fireplace gives me a headache from the fire flickering through the glass, it takes longer to give me a migraine though. I believe slower flicker is less of an issue for me....

     

    I do have the blue light blocking glasses for (hot topic in the biohacking communities for circardian rhrythm), but those make no difference with PWM, so as for myself, I still doubt that the light spectrum could be an issue, though I realize that an unnatural spike at some blue frequency might cause problems for some. I believe anything unnatural, meaning something that cannot be achieved in nature so that we would be adjusted to it by eveolution, might be harmful. Since there is no flickerin light in nature and even the sky blue is probably more even spectrum than some LED lights, those are both unnatural things.

     

    I don't know what "blue light blocking" glasses you are using, I am using Provencia anti-glare coating on clear lenses from Crizal. It makes a huge difference with Fluorescent light but not LED, my theory here is that the coating IS blocking some flicker somehow because the spectrum with fluorescent is not that bad and it flickers less than LED because of the "ghost" effect with gasses. Most would disagree with me that the coating is blocking any flicker, even my contact at Crizal (Technical Marketing manager) does not believe his coating is blocking any flicker however for some reason I feel it is doing something about flicker. My fireplace does not bother me with these glasses on and it is full spectrum light, right?

  • Jessiah1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 16, 2014 3:20 PM (in response to Jessiah1)

    Correction on PHD, he is located in Hawaii and here is his sight, you can look up "subliminal flicker" papers here:

     

    Conrad BioLogic I Subliminal Flicker I

  • Gulien Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 17, 2014 12:58 AM (in response to RMartin111)

    -How old are you everyone ? (34 year old here, problems began at 30 year old)


    -Do you know someone below 25 year old who has the same problem ?

     

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    For those who have also problems with CCFL :

    Have you tried a CCFL glossy screen ? (not mate)

     

    Personnaly I have (also ...) problems with matte CCFL screens.

    After a few days using them, I got a sort of migraine, eye fatigue (different than LED's eye strain).

     

    and this since 1999 (19 years old):

    I was used to use a CRT monitor, which strained my eyes a bit, so I decided to buy a GlareGuard Filter, which worked well.

    Then the refresh rate, was still annoying me, and LCD monitors went cheaper, so I've bought an Acer LCD CCFL  monitor (2001), which was better for my eyes, but still not perfect.

     

    So I've put the GlareGuard on the LCD screen, and, that was magical ... Perfection ... I stayed for as many hours as I wanted behind the screen (reading, playing, coding, chatting ...) without any inconvenience.

     

    After that, I worked barrely only with laptops, which between 2003 <> 2009 where always shiped with CCFL glossy screens. Call this the "golden years" for my eyes

     

    In fact there is only 1 screen type (glossy CCFL) that doesn't hurt me in long term.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

     

    Back to LED problems :

     

    I think that too bright LED's backlight is damaging our rode cells.

    Since I had this problems, my daylight vision was not really diminished (some troubles, but still 10/10).

     

    But my night vision was barrely destroyed. I was used to see really well at night :

    Even with really litle amount of light : some space between two flaps with a litle moonlight behind made a room almost lighted at night for me.

    It's not the case anymore : now I see like an amount of flying colored dots.

  • kvoth Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 17, 2014 11:00 AM (in response to Gulien)

    Sorry for getting into it too much earlier. I have a lot of passion for this and want to help others as well as understand it better.

     

    Gulien -- I'm 30, and it started for me at 28. For me, I don't think it's an age thing as much as that is when I moved to non-CCFL technology.

     

    As far as glossy vs. non -- I bought glossy overlays for my phone and laptop and didn't notice a difference.

  • Jessiah1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 17, 2014 12:00 PM (in response to Gulien)

    I have had very bad luck with any glossy displays, most of which are Apple. I remember reading a little while back someone stating these glossy displays are often polarized?I can also recall seeing that polarized rainbow effect in many of the glossy screens I have seen, they are terrible for me. I know if I wear my Polarized sunglasses while under Fluorescent or LED lighting they magnify my sensitivity.

  • Scott98981 Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 17, 2014 12:14 PM (in response to RMartin111)

    Some Updates:

    - I had been doing well with intermittent use of the late 2013 MBP retina using Flux at 4500K, but it seems that I still get headaches, lateralized eye pain, nausea if I use the laptop > about 1-2 hours daily

    - there seems to be a cumulative effect from devices that takes a few days to develop. Similarly, after several days away from the source I seem to develop a brief 1-2 hour tolerance to any LED device before new symptoms develop

    - I'm still OK for long periods of use with the Ipad gen 3 and 4 and all iPhones. I tried and returned two iPad airs and while I loved the tablet, the display gave me severe nausea and right greater than left eye pain

    - I have zero problems with CCFL displays of any type driven by any OS

    - interestingly, the kindle paperwhite LED is the worst offender ever. I get severe nausea within 10 minutes. I have been using it for extended periods with the backlight in the lowest (but unfortunately still on) position with tungsten or flourescent ambient light which has been OK

    - one difficulty for me has been the phasing out of CCFL and phasing in of LED backlit displays at the hospital at which I work (I'm an internal medicine resident/physician - sorry no training in eye disorders). These new HP LED displays lead to a migraine or nasuea very rapidly and the screens look like they are flickering to me - I can't seem to focus on the text. Of note some of the older CCFLs where I work have terrible visibly refreshing screens (seems like 30Hz refresh) and yet generate no problems for me at all. I often work 30 hour shifts looking at the CCFL screen for > 18 hours of that with no eye strain, headaches, nausea, etc.

    - I've tried Gunnar optiks lenses and they seem to delay the symptoms by about 30 minutes, but don't seem to solve the problem

    - I've tried grayscale and its not clear if this works, but doesn't seem to help for long

    - I'm hoping that perhaps quantum dot technology will provide a solution, but haven't had a chance to try the Kindle HDX 7.9

    - I do have some degree of strabismus and will try to see about prism lenses. The symptoms that I get can be reproduced by looking at font that is too small (6-point or smaller printed on paper). It's not clear however, how strabismus would lead to problems with LED displays and not CCFL or printed paper or a eInk display.

    Summary: For me at least PWM does not seem to be a problem with CCFL and I can't see any PMW on my MBPR at any brightness. Blue light - maybe a problem, but Flux and gunnar doesn't seem to solve the problem. Dithering - an interesting idea but I have no problems with identical machines (MBPR, win8 tablets, ipads, etc) driving external CCFL displays. At this point I'm at a total loss as to what may be causing this and continue to hope a new technology will arise. In the mean time my work-around has been to read most of my documents on a kindle paperwhite and try to minimize time with LED backlit devices. The only LED that seems to be OK are my iPhone 5 and iPad 3 or 4.

    - I'll try to update about quantum dot displays and prism lenses if infact I do need those

  • Jessiah1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 17, 2014 12:39 PM (in response to Scott98981)

    Scott98981, the difference between CCFL and LED is substantial so if your sensitivity is not as advanced as someone like myself my theory would be that you can tolerate Fluorescent technology because it is not as offensive as LED. LED being able to cycle power from 100% on to 100% off could help explain some of the severity. I will add that before I became super sensitive 1.5 years ago I had a much easier time looking at Iphones and tablets than I do now so that makes sense they are not terrible for you. Interestingly enough I had an Iphone 3S 2 years ago that I used constantly and never had an issue with however now I cannot look at any iphone without serious issues instantly... PWM and any kind of flicker with fluorescent light is not as bad due to "ghost light" left behind by gasses during any flicker caused by PWM or waves in power delivery, this is my lamen understanding and explanation. By comparison fluorescent light hypothetically speaking can power from 100% to 50% and back to 100% so not nearly as obvious to our eyes. I also have much less issue with flicker I can actually see for example like the old monitors you mentioned. There is a connection between flicker and spectrum however I do not believe we completely understand it or which is worse....

     

    It is very interesting that you have Strabismus and are not using Prism glasses at this time. I visited my optometrist today and explained how for the last 3 weeks since getting a random measurement of 2 in each eye for Prism my eyes have been much more relaxed. I have no visual signs of Strabismus however when I relax my eyes they misalign quite a bit. I now have an appointment next week where he will use some sort of eye drop to measure my eyes while they are relaxed, this could potentially show for sure whether or not I need Prism and if I do how much. I will post about that after I can see again from the drops:)

     

    It is interesting to see your post and how you have Strabismus and similar issues to many of us here...

     

    An interesting test involving flicker Vs. Spectrum everyone here could do would be to try a super white CFL bulb, it should have the same flicker appearance as a regular CFL however it will be extremely white/blue. They are much worse for me, also sodium halide lighting is also very bright white/blue and worse for me than traditional fluorescent lighting.....food for thought.

  • SimonStokes Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 17, 2014 12:44 PM (in response to Scott98981)

    Scott98981 - thanks for your informative update. It seems like you have almost identical symptoms to me. I have had Applecare replace my Macbook screens several times until I got a model number that I could tolerate for an hour or so without developing migraine symptoms, but suffice to say I have suffered a LOT of migraines in the last 18 months as LED screens are unavoidable in my job.

     

    I just wanted to say, my lifesaver to get through the migraines and be able to carry on with my life has been Sumatriptan (brand name Immigran). It gets rid of all of the symptoms from looking at LED screens (and even allows me to use them for a few hours later that day) but does have some groggy side effects.

     

    I've just purchased a flicker-free Benq GW2460HM monitor, gave myself a couple of days to get back to my normal non-headache self and have been using it but I'm already feeling the same effects as before. The search continues..

  • Jessiah1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 17, 2014 12:44 PM (in response to Scott98981)

    Scott9898,,- one difficulty for me has been the phasing out of CCFL and phasing in of LED backlit displays at the hospital at which I work (I'm an internal medicine resident/physician - sorry no training in eye disorders).

     

    This is very interesting to me Scott, my local hospital is switching all the Dr.'s laptops out with those exact HP model you are speaking of, your not in NH are you? My Dr.'s keep trying to show me something on their laptop and I am like geez I cannot look at those! lol

  • Jessiah1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 17, 2014 12:49 PM (in response to SimonStokes)

    SimonStokes, good feedback on the BenQ monitor, lots of us were wondering about that one and a few people have now said it does not work. In relation to flicker the only thing I can think of is that the monitor could still flicker from being plugged into AC/DC power? Just an idea, I am no PHD but it could make sense?

  • dmendel Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 18, 2014 7:05 PM (in response to dmendel)

    dmendel wrote:

     

    I  just ordered a new Mac Mini and a Benq GW2450HM (same specs as the one noted above). Should have everything set up and tested  within the next 10 days. I will report back my experience. As I have noted in this thread, I could not tolerate the new 27" iMac. I was going to get a refurbed Dell U2410, which is CCFL, based on some users' suggestions, but turns out I wasn't able to get it. So I went with what looks to be the next best thing (at least on paper). I wanted to avoid W-LED, but the Benq has a "low blue light" mode that seems to work (see the review at http://pcmonitors.info/reviews/benq-ew2740l). Some people have recommended the new Dell 2713, which uses a GB-LED, but the 6-bit+FRC turned me off. If the Benq does not pan out, then I might try that. Hopefully the Benq will be true to its claims. Fingers crossed.

     

    Well everything arrived and set up. The monitor immediately caused the same tension and tightening in my eyes as the iMac. Not as intense, but still there. However, I quickly realized that something was amiss. The OSD menus did not match what I had read on TFT Central. None of the pre-set modes, like "Low Blue Light" could be found. I double-checked the part number and realized that I had an older model that is not the updated flicker free design. I have to return it and try to get my hands on a flicker-free model.  

     

    That said, I am not at all impressed with the image quality of the monitor, flicker or no. The text is not very sharp and is noticebly more pixelated than my old 2006 20" iMac that i am currenlty still using. For example, The "W" in Window in the finder menu bar at the top is very jagged. Looks pretty bad. If the newer flicker-free models are essentially the same image quality it will be disappointing. But if they don't cause discomfort, I can live with it.

     

    So, I will report back when I get my hands on the flicker-free model. 

  • mvanier Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 18, 2014 10:10 PM (in response to dmendel)

    dmendel: Please do.  The first time I ordered a Dell U2410, the seller sent a U2412 instead, perhaps hoping I wouldn't notice the difference (several hundred dollars + PWM on the 2412).  I sent it back unopened.  Then I ordered direct from Dell and got what I wanted.  Good catch on your part.

Actions

More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (13)

Legend

  • This solved my question - 10 points
  • This helped me - 5 points
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site. All postings and use of the content on this site are subject to the Apple Support Communities Terms of Use.