No offense intended Pennbank, but your reply really made me angry. I didn't see that you're a regular visitor to this forum and responses like yours that dismiss what is happening to us to not serve the greater good. Yes, everything changes, degrades, if you will as humans age, and eyesight worsens, for sure. But the problem most of us face is beyond the effects of aging. A visit to the optician, wink or not, will not fix the problem. Many of us, including me, have been to the optician, the optometrist, and the opthamologist to no avail. We've had computer glasses, eye drops, and whatever the physician can throw at us, but it changes nothing. Perhaps my anger was fueled by a conversation last night with a friend who has the new iPhone 5 who tried to tell me that all I had to do was turn the brightness down, as if I were an idiot unfamiliar with the features of the phone. Yes, sensitivities increase as we age, among the many reasons, but some of us are sensitive to LED light transmission directed at our eyes, and we suffer greatly, often the most because we can't use our beloved Apple products. Frequently, not only is fun curtailed, but employment threatened. So, please do not minimize what is happening. This is a problem more serious that getting older. I wish it were that simple.
Although I couldn't agree with LovesDogs0415 more, in that Apple needs to FIX their hardware, here is an interesting piece of software that may help somewhat. I've just installed it, so I don't know.. it's called Flux and dims your screentemperature according to the time of day. And it's for free!
Meanwhile, Apple, please help us!
There is a theory as well about a Snow effect.
If will be great if you can post if it does happen on your screen
Here is a video that shows how to see it:
(see it at 1min13)
""if you look closely at any mid tone area on the screen (an area that is not totally white or totally black, and this will move around the screen depending upon the scene) you will notice a snow effect [...]"
I recommand you this link about the snow effect:
A lot of paranoia but good information imo
As far as I'm concerned, I have no problem with that effet on windows 7 and 8 (it doesn't exist before 7).
Can you see it on Mac OS X?
People mentionned it before in this long thread and it can be the root of our problem.
What I mean is PWM can't explain everything because some get eye strain with mac's even with non problematic screens for them.
Hey fellow monitor eyestrain sufferers,
I thought I'd let you know about my experiences getting a new monitor. I've basically given up on LED-backlit monitors, so the question is, what do we do until the monitor technologies improve? I never had a problem with CCFL-backlit monitors (especially after installing f.lux, which I heartily recommend), so I figured it would be a good idea to buy a new one while you still can. BTW my old Apple 23" Cinema Monitor from 2007 is still going strong, though the backlight is much dimmer than when I bought it. I've been meaning to get a Dell U2410 monitor for some time, so my wife bought me one as a birthday gift. Interestingly, she bought it from Amazon.com, and they sell it through third parties. The actual monitor vendor then shipped me the wrong monitor, a Dell U2412, which is an LED-backlit monitor. Also, the box was in bad shape, and the company were total jerks when we returned it (we still haven't gotten our money back, although Amazon guarantees that we will). I think they were doing a bait-and-switch, hoping to pass off the U2412 as a U2410 (the U2412 is also about $100 cheaper, and I bet they were hoping to pocket the difference). Anyway, after returning the U2412 we ordered the U2410 through the Dell website, and I bought the 4-year warranty package for an extra $160 (yes, that's a lot). Dell got me the monitor in two days, and it worked perfectly as soon as I plugged it into my DVI-D port. It doesn't bother my eyes and has beautiful color (and no, I don't work for Dell or any other hardware company). Bottom line, if you hate LED-backlit monitors (and I think that's the one thing pretty much all of us can agree on), this is a good choice, but I recommend that you order it direct from Dell and buy the warranty if you can afford it. I'm hoping that when this monitor gives out, there will be much better alternatives available.
I'm happy to report, that after two days of non-stop writing with my Macbook Air 13" 2011 with the free F.lux app activated and using the screen at the highest brightness setting, my eyes are still okay.
I'm running F.lux at a 5000K setting for daytime and a 3000K setting for nighttime. It takes some time for the eyes to adjust to the new, warmer whitebalance.
None of the typical eye strain sympthoms have appeared... so far. I'll keep you posted!
Meanwhile, can some others try it out as well and tell me if I'm just placebo-ing or not?
Regarding Flicker and UV The UK health protection agency do acknowledged there is a problem with some Low energy bulbs. Even LED screens are lit by a LCD technology ie Flicker. Just a thought?
So having read this thread in its near entirety just now I'll add my 2c in case it's useful - I apologise in advance it's not Apple specific.
Most comfortable for sustained periods:
2004 - IBM T42p (15" 1600x1200 laptop with S-IPS CCFL-backlit panel) - on desk, arms length with wifi off/wired LAN
2012 - Dell P221H (22" LED backlit 1080p LCD) - my current work screen, used at 50% brightness, 2+ foot distance*
Any type of LCD TV I've ever watched - LED, CCFL or rear projection backlit... (i.e. TVs are totally fine)
Not quite so good, only OK for a shorter time
IBM T42p with wifi on / or on lap
Asus 1201n with wifi off/wired LAN
Dell latitude laptop with wifi off/wired LAN
Unusable for more than a short duration ( say 10-30mins)
-with extended use of any of these I got progressively building symptoms of dull headache, itchy irritated eyes, hot flushed face/scalp, and concentration adversely affected:
Dell 24" WFP2407HC (S-PVA & CCFL backlight) - sat unused for years
Dell 27" WFP2707 (S-PVA & CCF backlight) - returned immediately
Asus 1201n netbook (LED backlit) on lap, wifi on
For completeness I should mention that over the years I've naturally experimented with screen brightness, contrast, resolution, f-lux, background ambient lighting, viewing distance, reading glasses (basically cosmetic for minimal long sightedness), and also as you can see above - wifi on v wifi off/wired LAN.
From my experience they were:
- screen setting tweaks for me was more damage control/tinkering, never a silver bullet
- as a general rule proximity to the offending device is a factor - discomfort is inversely proportional to distance, being further away improves matters but as a practical solution it's inherently flawed...
- the eye-mediated / visual aspect of screen design or implementation that most have been focussing on as the root cause of issues in this thread (e.g. backlight or pixel level, spectrum or refresh rate/PWM issues causing eye irritation) may be a factor for me, but it doesn't feel like the common or core theme behind my experiences or symptom set
- for some devices there seems/seemed to be a definite correlation between wifi use and discomfort, others not so pronounced. Damned if I know why (though I speculate below).
So here's another theory...
So to try to make sense of my own experiences and those of some of the folk in this thread I'd put forward a supplementary theory (as GKphone has I think also done above). That for some of the people in this thread who have undisputed intolerances to certain monitors or laptops - that the root cause may in part lie with quirks of their electromagnetic emmissions outside the visible light spectrum. i.e. (a) some unusual combination of intensity, physical reach and/or temporal variation of the low frequency electric and possibly magnetic fields produced by these screens and/or the partnered computer hardware itself; (b) variations in intensity, direction or frequency characteristics of emmisions of high frequency electric fields i.e. wifi.
Phew. I'd just close by saying that it you accept as a reasonable starting proposition that most of the posters in this thread appear to represent that very small minority of Apple/LCD screen users who have a relatively rare and heightened sensitivity and intolerance to screen quirks within the visible light spectrum, then isn't it conceivable that for a subset of such folk their sensitivity might extend into other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum also? There's a variety of research showing subtle and not-so-subtle biological non-thermal effects of non-ionising radiation outside the visible light range. Food for thought.
*re the Dell 22" (interestingly the screen shimmer test someone posted above didnt kick in until I moved much closer - say 1.5' from the screen, so perhaps viewable pixels per arc of vision - a function of PPI and viewing distance - is a factor)
I just returned my rMBP today for the exact same reason. Notably, all of the people I know that use these machines without problems already wear glasses. Another observation is that it is a samsung screen, and I had the exact same problem (eyes-killing) on the Samsung series 9 ultrabooks. The problem is the worst when you have to do a lot of text editing (like I do) and have to work with black text on white background. The problem is also reduced when you are in standard American office environtment (lighting), kinda like at an Apple store.
Some people have posted extensive explanations why this effect occurs, text smoothing, resolution, etc. But the bottom line is, it doesn't matter if its because of X or because of Y. The machine is unusable long term for people like attorneys, book writers, etc., if you are not already wearing glasses and want to keep it that way.
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Ive just sent two 2013 15 inch Macbook pros back to Apple, one had a Retina screen, the other didn't. But it would be intresting to hear if the Anti glare makes a differance. Both gave me dry eyes, red sun burn feeling on skin. The pain lasted for around 6 hours after using.
Im now looking to buy the last of the old screens, 2011 models
In my case mid2012 MBP 15 with matte I was given by Apple as a replacement was the very start of my dry eye/ eye strain problems. So my bet is it won't help at all. Mine was a Samsung.
Sold it off. Not using Apple computers anymore. The only solution that has worked for me.
On the other hand all the LED backlit screen made nowadays give me the problem, the only difference is its scale. Now I'm stuck with my old PC, that I've kept as a back up computer.
My old 2011 MBP did not cause any of those symptoms, though. It had an LG display, glossy one.