Ever since I got my MBP retina I have been having eye strain issues to the point of basically almost returning the unit. I recently discovered that by using the lower resolutions (1280x800) (1024x640) I am having a much easier time and my eyes relax quite a bit more. My questions is does this have any negative effect on performance? I understand I sacrifice space but I just struggle with the native (1440x900). Or perhaps a none retina display would be the option. I just sold my mid 2009 macbook pro and now regret it.
Okay, so you had the 13". I thought you had the 15". But if you run 15" at 1440x900 then everything is the same "size" on the screen as on the 13" but with larger screen real estate. So you shouldn't have more eyestrain at 15" 1440x900 than 13" 1280x800. I used to have the 13" 2010 and I'll have to say that the 13" gave me more eyestrain than the retina one (because of the lack of pixel density). Hopefully you'll get used to retina display!