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Do e-readers cause eye strain?

Photo by Librarian by Day

The NY Times Bits Blog has a great post about eye strain and new e-readers like the Kindle, Nook, iPad and others.

“Most of what our mothers told us about our eyes was wrong,” said Dr. Travis Meredith, chair of the ophthalmology department at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. “Sitting close to a television, or computer screen, isn’t bad for our eyes. It’s a variety of other factors that can cause physical fatigue.”

For example, the ergonomics of reading screens and the lack of blinking when we stare at them play a big role in eye fatigue. “The current problem with reading on screens is that we need to adjust our bodies to our computer screens, rather than the screens adjusting to us,” Dr. Meredith said.”

Which e-reader offers the best reading experience?  It depends on where you’re doing most of your reading.

“E Ink has a very low contrast ratio. Although it can offer an excellent reading experience in bright sunlight, the screens can become uncomfortable to use in dark settings because of the lack of contrast and backlighting on the screen.

LCD screens, meanwhile, have long struggled to offer good viewing angles for reading. Apple’s latest IPS LCD screens include extremely wide viewing angles, but the reflective glass on the screen could be a hindrance in brightly lit situations.”

The short answer is if you’re experience headaches and other eye strain symptoms, while it might be your e-reader, you might want to consider scheduling an appointment with your eye care professional.

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