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DaveMG Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I just got a new 11.6 macbook air. I'm a writer and it seems like the perfect work-anywhere machine. But I'm experiencing eyestrain and headaches working on it. I'm not sure if it's the sharpness of the screen (I have enlarged the text I'm working with so that it's not extremely tiny) or the LED backlighting (I'm coming from an old CCFL MacBook) or something else altogether.

Has anyone else experienced this with the new Air? Or something similar with recent apple notebooks? Did it get better after a while, or was it a persistent problem?

11.6" MacBook Air, Mac OS X (10.6.4)
  • josemari Level 1 Level 1 (110 points)
    My suggestion is to reduce the brightness of the screen. Many monitors have a text setting which decreases brightness substantially to relieve eye strain. If you have an office, connecting the MBA to a large monitor may also help.
  • Rhyd Level 3 Level 3 (795 points)
    I have had the same problem when changing apple notebooks previously. One starting point is color calibration in System Preferences> Displays. I copied or duplicated previous computers "color profiles" that had NOT given me headaches and renamed them unique names for the new computer and tried switching to that profile.

    Another or additional solution is System Preferences > Universal Access > Seeing >adjust "contrast". That solution should only be used following Display Colour calibration to suit your eyes and your new computer. First calibrate "expert mode" then fine adjustment via UA.

    As josemari said: hardware adjustment of the brightness (function keys f1 and f2) may be an immediate solution. The MBA late 2010 does not have the ambient sensor of other apple notebooks. You need to adjust brightness to suit your current environment via the keyboard (function keys f1 and f2).

    Message was edited by: Rhyd
  • heovang Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have been having the same problems since my last upgrade 2 years ago. I changed from the old style Macbook White to 15" MBP with LED backlit display, my eyes seem to hurt a lot after using the Mac for about 10 minutes, and also feeling hurt around the eyes.

    I have tried different solutions, adjust the color display, playing with the brightness and even bought an anti-glare shield and nothing works !!!

    I have also got a LED display at home and the eyestrain also happen whenever I used the display, so I guess there is something to do with the LED display, so I bought a cheap LCD monitor, and been doing loads of work on the monitor rather than these LED backlit

    I guess it could be our eyes are unlucky to be sensitive with the LED backlit, I have done so many research to find the solutions but I got to nowhere !!
  • heovang Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi I wonder if you could help me to give me the settings of the calibration so I can have a go with mine to see if it works

  • jsmakr Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
  • heovang Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Wow..this is amazing, just downloaded and try it, very easy on my eyes when using at this time (9:47pm)

    Will see in a long run

  • neilm2 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks, jsmakr! I was getting seasick from my screen. Flux improved it instantly.
  • aurelien349 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Dear DaveMG,

    I bought a Macbook air 13' last month and experienced, as you did, a strong eye strain: at first, I didn't notice anything special, but after working one or two hours on this computer, my eyes were tired as if I had been working for a whole day in front of a screen.

    I tried reducing the brightness (using the shades application), enlarging the font, changing the color settings, but it didn't result in any improvement. The Apple Care support, though very helping, didn't find a solution to my problem.

    I returned the macbook (within the trial period) and went back to my old computer. I must say I miss all the other advantages (design, weight, speed...), but my eyes are more important!

    I'd be interested in hearing about your feedback,

  • John Scott1 Level 2 Level 2 (305 points)
    That's why I ended up buying the 13" model. I already wear reading glasses and I went to a Apple store and discovered that the 11" Air is just too small and has such a high resolution. You can always use the zoom function which helps with easier reading. The kicker of course is you don't have much Window space.
  • marinpaul Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Over the last two months with the 13" Macbook Air my eye strain got worse and worse. I found this thread a few days ago and tried Flux. So far it has taken care of about 90% of the problem for me. It makes me think that it may be more about brightness/calibration than the LED backlighting.
  • Christopher Winn Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    I've been using the 11" Air since the day it came out, and I can notice, despite good lighting conditions where I work, my vision has suffered greatly. I have a "haze" and I can almost feel something on my left eye. I have trouble focusing as quickly and my vision is much blurrier than it used to be. I've always had excellent vision my whole life, but since using the Air primarily, it's gotten bad. I'm trying to switch back to my 27" iMac.

  • drunkenFlower Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I just bought the mb air 11" yesterday and experienced the same issue. It made my eyes very tired and dry and I have a headache within 15-30 mins of using it. Going to return it and get 13" and see if I will have the same problem.

    I love its physical look. The size is perfect & it's so light. It's just that I can't take the pain anymore.   Something about the screen ruins my eyesight . I feel the muscles around my eyes are stressed.  I just can't compromise my health for this .

  • tazzie2011 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)



    I just got an Air as well and it was truly a toss up between the 11 and 13. I was concerned about the eyestrain issue as well and I had my heart set on the 11, thankfully the sales rep really went through how I was going to use it and had me get the 13. I am very happy he did as I feel I would be kicking myself for getting the 11. Even though the 11 is pretty cool I love my 13. hope my two cents help.

  • ds store Level 7 Level 7 (30,325 points)

    DaveMG wrote:


    I just got a new 11.6 macbook air. I'm a writer and it seems like the perfect work-anywhere machine. But I'm experiencing eyestrain and headaches working on it.



    Your one of the people like myself that can't physically tolerate glossy screens.


    You get eyestrain, headaches and it just gets to the point you don't or can't use the machine for a few days, then can only use it for short time.


    My only advice is to take it back, sell it, and get a 15" anti-glare and try that after a few days to give your eyes a chance to heal from the glossy display effects.


    What happens with glossy displays is there is a slight out of focus reflection, the eyes are always trying to maintain perfect focus, so between the true image and the reflection your eyes are working doubletime.


    You'll notice a immediate difference, the anti-glare is much softer and easier on the eyes, one can use the machine for 12 hours a day 7 days a week without a single headache, I do.




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