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Eye strain from LED backlighting in MacBook Pro

432181 Views 1,978 Replies Latest reply: Apr 15, 2014 9:01 AM by Jessiah1 RSS Branched to a new discussion.
  • jasonfromsanantonio Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Interesting, I wear glasses and have an astigmatism.

    I am still trying to get used to the MacBook Aluminum display and its still giving me problems. I have tried using inverse colors and its not helping.

    Last days to return are upon me and unfortunately it looks like I will be taking this machine back for the MacBook White. Its a bummer because I am really digging the sturdy and machined feel of the aluminum.
    MacBook, Mac OS X (10.5.5)
  • afteshock_68 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 10, 2008 3:39 PM (in response to RMartin111)
    Hmmm, I wonder what the effect of polarized glasses would do to this display?

    They seem to help against reflection.
    Del Inspiron 1501, Windows Vista, 1gb Ram, 80gb (pushing full) Hard Drive
  • gpzbc Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 10, 2008 4:46 PM (in response to afteshock_68)
    True polarized lenses would keep you from seeing your screen except at weird angles.

    ...Speaking of sunglasses, I have been trying out something else. I have been wearing sunglasses when on my laptop. And I keep it at the brightest setting. So far, the eye strain has gone away.
    So I am wondering if it is the extreme brightness that is causing my headaches or if it is the LED at lower brightness settings? Or perhaps both?
    Other OS
  • sukiyaki Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 13, 2008 12:04 AM (in response to RMartin111)
    Same here, I get a lot of eye strain due to the flickering. Looks like the problem is prevalent in the new LED type screen MBs. Did anyone get the problem fixed by Apple - genius bar?
  • Thomas Artner Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 13, 2008 6:10 AM (in response to sukiyaki)
    I also think so, that the eye strain and headache comes from a terrible flickering (or pulsating?!) screen technology built in at least the new macBook Air and macBook Pro. I worked with both products a little time and I felt bad after it.

    http://www.csse.uwa.edu.au/~lucas/background.html
    This testpattern is shown rock solid on my old MacBook Pro. On the new ones, its flickering. The picture is not as good as on my old MBP.
    I think the new screens are even worse than the old gen screens. They are just brighter - but thats all.
  • necronym Level 4 Level 4 (1,350 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 13, 2008 6:33 AM (in response to noelsmart)
    My MBP 2.53 screen hasn't caused me any issues (that I'm aware of) but perhaps the people suffering are actually being overly sensitive to the 'dithering' the screen uses to fool you into thinking your seeing millions of colours instead of the native 262K colours the screen actually displays.

    Apple do not publicly release the bit depth of their displays (this posting will get removed now) as confirmed by their technical support department on 2 separate occasions.

    The price they (Apple) charge for their portables, all of them should have 8-bit displays with no dithering, then people may not be suffering
    MacPro 2.8x8, 8800GT, MacPro 2.66 Quad, FX4500, Eizo CG220, MBP 2.53Ghz, Mac OS X (10.5.5), PM G5 Quad, 7800GT, MBP 17", MB Air, iPhone 3G
  • domdx Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 13, 2008 12:08 PM (in response to necronym)
    Some advice

    Always try and break up the periods you spend looking at the screen into 15 min intervals and have a few minutes between staring into the distance.

    Have an eye exam just in case you have a need for spectacles ,maybe just for computer use.

    You can have an anti reflection coating on your spectacles to help reduce glare.

    Also look at position of screen eg;you tend to blink less (eyes will dry out more frequently) when looking straight ahead compared to when your gaze is at a downward angle.

    Just some tips from an optometrist of 25 yrs experience

    Dominic
    Editor
    www.laser-eye-surgery-review.com
  • gpzbc Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I agree. I don't think the eye strain is from the glossy screen because I still get it in settings with no glare.
    Plus I just did that test pattern and my screen jumps all over the place. And it doesn't move at all on monitor #2 of my dual monitor set-up.

    I think it is simply the fact that it is LED.
    Other OS
  • Thomas Artner Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 13, 2008 6:46 PM (in response to gpzbc)
    I've tried the test pattern on an early 2008 macbook pro (also LED backlit) and there the test pattern is not flickering.
    So the problem is not the LED backlight itself...
  • jasonfromsanantonio Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 16, 2008 5:42 AM (in response to RMartin111)
    UPDATE:
    I went to exchange my aluminum for a white this past saturday. At the apple store they were very courteous (was within 14 days) and had no issue with the exchange. They did mention that the 10% restocking fee would be waived as the exchange was for medical reasons (eyes hurting). After going through the whole exchange process, it occurred to the Apple rep that they had just received screen overlays for the 13 macbooks, a brand new item. Long story short, I left the store with my Aluminum, a screen overlay, and a new 14 day return period to try out the overlay.
    I haven't put the overlay on yet but I'm being optimistic that it will help. Will post update when I find out.
    For those interested, its an 'anti glare film' made by a company called Power Support. Its available at Apple for $34.
    MacBook, Mac OS X (10.5.5)
  • gpzbc Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    For all of you doubters out there. I replaced my LED screen for a non-LED screen and the eye strain headaches were gone instantly. 100% gone!
    No doubt about it.
    Other OS
  • Laurence Casey Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 26, 2009 9:41 AM (in response to gpzbc)
    This is an interesting thread. I received my new MBP 17 w/ glossy screen 2 days ago and immediately noticed eye strain and sickness. Nothing major, but not normal. At first I suspected it was due to the screen being too bright. So instinctually, I turned it down. Didn't help. So after reading just the first post, I tried tuning the screen all the way up giving the dithering effect a chance as the resolution.

    1. OMG, the screen is bright.
    2. By the time I got the end of this thread, my eyes don't hurt. (keeping fingers crossed)

    I did try the 2 different screen tested as mentioned later in the threads and both of them. The first one which the lines should be lined up with each other, are not. I have a distinct line down the middle.

    The second test to see if the screen flickers, it does all the time. Not bad, but it does.

    3. Since I also do graphic and photography, I had a monitor calibrator. Performing a calibration did not do much to reduce the bright white. Since I work in both Windows and OS X, I am stuck using the same color temperature which has more blue.

    Not sure what to do at this point. I agree that the glare is contributing to the problem and a screen overlay similar to the iphone anti-glare may help. Although, I can see this being a total pain to put on without air bubbles or dust.

    I will contacting Apple Support to see about swapping out for a matte display unfortunately.

    --Larry
    17 MBP w/ Glare, Mac OS X (10.5.6)
  • gpzbc Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 2, 2009 6:35 PM (in response to noelsmart)
    I just want to emphasize that I traded in my LED glossy screen for a non-LED glossy screen. My eye strain headaches were gone instantly and I have never seen them since despite the fact that I am still using a glossy screen.

    Oh, and by the way, I went to the eye doctor recently and my eyes are approximately the same as they have always been.

    There is no doubt that LED was giving me a miserable headache. Perhaps it was me and not all users will have the same reaction. But, with that being said, I would urge all to take caution with the new LED screens.
    Other OS
  • upriver Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 2, 2009 8:51 PM (in response to gpzbc)
    Thanks gpzbc. I have posted my experience with the MBP on another thread (http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1852329&start=120&tstart=0 Posted: Jun 27, 2009 5:03 PM). Agree that the problem seems to be the LED backlighting.

    Ironically I was really worried about the glossy screen on the MBP prior to purchasing. In the end however I actually quite like the glossy screen, it's just the backlighting that makes me ill. Unfortunately all Mac laptops now have LED backlighting.
    15" Macbook Pro Unibody, Mac OS X (10.5.6)
  • cyvi937 Level 1 Level 1 (100 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 2, 2009 11:50 PM (in response to upriver)
    The white MacBook isn't LED backlit according to the Apple Store comparison table.
    iMac 20" Early 2008 MacBook Pro 13" June 2009, Mac OS X (10.5.7)

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