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cadillaczak Level 1 Level 1

I used the 2010 model macbook pro 13 inch for the last two year...sometimes up to 12 hours a day with NO issues at all.


thursday I switched to a new macbook air 13 inch. Now I get horrible eye strain and a headache after 20-30 minutes.


Any ideas on what I can do to fix this? are the displays different?


If it doesn't get better i'll have to return the device. Its that bad!


Any help is MUCH appreciated

MacBook Air, Mac OS X (10.7.4)
  • Amerix Level 1 Level 1

    Hi Cadillazac,

    It seems that the "air" has a different screen, or different system to activate the led backlighting, probably to save weight and thickness. This result (in my opinion) to low led frequency and poor modulation. There are many post on this problem. 

    The led ligthing is made of two part. One "on", one "off". If your led is activated at 100 hz, the total signal period is 1/100 of a second. Part of this time the led is "on", part of this time the led is "off". When the led is "on" the light is very bright (even blue which I read is bad as well!?). When "off" the light is nul, zero. The signal is square and abrupt. Eyes and brains do not like this, and especially if the time "off" is important in comparaison to the time "on".  Some are not aware, and will one day suffer consequences, some like us know and feel the problem.

    I have been folowing this since I got my macbook air 2010.

    I am waiting for Apple to give us a problem free screen. Their problem is probably the cost. But they should know I'll pay any price to not get blind !



  • NOYB234 Level 1 Level 1

    There are screen savers that work really well. Google Screen saver for eye protection... Great advice for eye exerscises as well. I purchased one for my Air and other work computers and it works!!!

  • Amerix Level 1 Level 1

    To NOYB234

    Are you mocking us ?

    This is about serious health risk and highly sofisticated technology.

    Have a whisky and enjoy your last screen saver!

  • Jim Chee Level 1 Level 1

    I'm having a similar problem.  I've used the MacBook 13" mid-2007 for several years with no eye strain problems. Just got the new MacBook Air 13" and it felt too bright, even when I dimmed it.  Last night after watching a couple of movies my eyes felt like I'd been staring at the sun.  I love this MacBook Air and don't want to return it.  Any solutions, greatly appreciated.  Is there some kind of external screen protector that can be put over the screen?

  • Jim Chee Level 1 Level 1

    Just spoke with Apple Tech Support about this.  It is the LED backlighting that's causing the problem.  No problem with my mid-2007 MacBook because they didn't use the LED backlighting technology until 2008.  They said a small percentage of the population is sensitive to it, and I seem to be one of those people.  There are no "official" solutions.  Dimming the lighting doesn't really do it.  There are some possibilities like an external privacy screen or screen protector might help.  For extended viewing an external LCD monitor is probably the best choice.  I, for one, am going to go see my eye doctor and see if she has any suggestions.

  • Amerix Level 1 Level 1


    I started a post on Led backlighting improvements.

    Join it with your ideas and solutions.


  • BillG1969 Level 1 Level 1

    I would like to add that I am also having a problem. I know a new thread has been created but wanted to add to this original. I have been using a early 2011 MBP 17" with no difficulty. Received my new MBPr this past weekend. Have been using it exclusively since Monday from 8a - 6p and each day around 1 - 2pm, I begin feeling some pressure around my temples and forhead and my vision is a little blurry. Almost feels like I am sleep deprived however I am getting plenty of sleep. I thought there was a chance that this consistent effect might have something to do with the Retina display since that is the only thing different and decided to search the forum. Not to shocked to have found this thread. But disappointed that I might have to return this amazing new laptop because of its effect. I'll switch back to my 17" for a few days to see if this effect goes away. If it does, then, I'll be returning the laptop.

  • jordanfromallyn Level 1 Level 1

    I feel the same way when using my 13" Mid 2012 MacBook Air but I have owned it for about a week now and have got used to it.

  • jss2120 Level 1 Level 1

    I am having the same issue with my MBPr that I just got it a few days ago. I immediately noticed eye strain after about of an hour of using it. I have been using a mid 2009 MBP 13" daily and never had any issues. Im wondering if there is an adjustment period to the new screen or if its a deal breaker. Too bad I sold my 13" MBP.

  • BillG1969 Level 1 Level 1

    I have been running my MBPr in retina display most of the time. Today I am going to run it in 1920x1200 mode to see if the results are any different. I know the logical thing is that our eyes should relax in the retina display because its so sharp. Our eyes don't need to struggle to understand anything its seeing but I am wondering if its sensory overload in the beginning?  A 15.4" screen running at 1920x1200 should be more likely to cause eye strain because everything is so much smaller. But I'm trying any idea at this point to see where the issue is. Last night I returned to my (early 2011) 17" MBP running at 1920x1200 and had no discomfort.


    One sensation I feel like I am recognizing is that if I am focused on typing black text on a white background, I get tunnel vision to that portion of the screen. I feel the slight headache returning. When I move my focus to a full color photo wallpaper, the eyes tend to relax a little bit. So, is there something behind the white background and then the sharp text that is causing the tunnel vision feeling??

  • jss2120 Level 1 Level 1

    I am getting that it seems like the white background almost creates a cloudy fuzzy effect around the black letters and yes I agree with you about tunnel effect. I have tried the screen in 1920x1200 but think to myself why did I buy this beautiful screen only to have to use it in a lower rez. Im wondering if it very well could be a backlighting issue. When I went to my local apple store and mentioned this issue and asked them if the glossy screen had in fact quite a few new elements than the older macbook pros I was met with the typical "huh? Not sure and I have never heard of that eye thing.....but you do have a return policy." (it was the manager). I would be interested in your observations on the 1920x1200 rez.

  • BillG1969 Level 1 Level 1

    Hey jss. Well, same results at 1920x1200 as when the MBPr is in the retina display setting (1440x900). My vision  gets blurry after working for a few hours when I look around at anything other then the laptop. It takes about 30 mins away from the computer to get my eyes to sort of refocus. And then left with a mild headache the rest of the day.  So, I've decided to return it.


    What is confusing to me is that if my eyes have a problem with the LED backlite and this screen tech has been in place since the overhaul in 2009 (???), why don't I have problems when working on my early 2011 17" MBP? Maybe its simply due to the 17" of space.  After carrying around the MBPr, I don't want to return to lugging around this beast again. I'm going to check into the anti-glare 15.4 since I believe it uses different tech for the screen.


    There are more threads on this subject in the forum, so it seems its something Apple should spend some time researching. It may not be a huge problem, but the number of people complaining about this problem seems to be on the rise.

  • RobStar Level 1 Level 1

    I just bought the new MBA 13" three weeks ago and am having the same problems with eye strain and headaches. Frankly, I was going to call for an eye exam to see if I needed new glasses. No idea there was a thread on it already.


    My previous computer was a MBP 15" of late 2009 vintage.  I had ordered the new 15" Retina but cancelled to try this smaller form factor.  Love the size and performance but frankly it's killing my eyes I think.


    Changing the resolution makes the font bigger but not as sharp.  Still time for a eye exam though but I don't know if that will help.

  • jss2120 Level 1 Level 1

    I think it must be a backlighting issue. Im afraid I will trade in my MBPr just to have the same issue with the Macbook Air. I have to admit though my eyes are a bit better after about a week on the retina display but there is still some definite discomfort. Its worth the eye exam.

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