In today’s increasingly digital world, interactions with printed media are becoming less common every day. Between smartphones, high definition televisions and computer monitors, more and more people are spending their time looking at screens, rather than printed pages.
What impact is this having on our eyesight?
It’s becoming common knowledge that these screens cause our eyes to work in different ways than print does. Two of the most popular e-Book readers, Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Nobles’ Nook, use a different type of display, called eInk. This display type more closely mimics the look of printed paper and has shown a reduced tendency to cause eye problems, as compared to other digital screens. There has also been research showing that newer LCD screens, with their faster refresh times and higher resolutions, cause many fewer problems with eyesight than older screens.
Reading a printed page has its own set of issues. Reading is much more involved than simply looking at an object. Experts have said that, when reading, the muscles in your eyes move around 10,000 times an hour. Even when picking a book up from the shelf, eyestrain is still a risk.
Light sources are another concern. Digital media can come with back-lighting, allowing for higher contrast even in the darkest of environments. Regular, printed books don’t have that option, so consideration must be given to the places you plan to read.
So, if eyestrain is a risk with digital media as well as printed books, which is the right choice? It comes down to what works best for you. Individuals with poor eyesight seem to read better on a back-lit screen, whereas individuals with good sight seem to prefer the traditional printed book. You need to take into account the lighting conditions where you’ll be reading, and your particular level of vision. No matter what way you decide to read, avid readers should try and take a break every 10 minutes, to prevent any problems from arising.
If you are noticing increasing eyestrain, we recommend that you see your eye doctor and schedule an appointment for an eye examination. You may be struggling with symptoms of dry eye syndrome or in need of an update in your glasses prescription.