Over the past couple of years, ebook readers led by the Amazon Kindle, have seen a steady rise in popularity, but could they actually be bad for the eyes? Moms throughout history have nagged their children about sitting too close to the TV because “it’s bad for your eyes,” but does this hold true for ereaders as well? As you know, you have to get close to the screen in order to read the next bestseller, so perhaps reading this way could be bad for you.
The truth be told from doctors, reading a screen closely won’t hurt your eyes. In fact, what can hurt your eyes is the actual environment you are reading in. For example, improper ergonomics can contribute to eye fatigue. We need to adjust our bodies correctly when reading on our computer monitors.
When it comes to reading an ebook on your Kindle, Sony Reader, or Nook, it all depends on the viewing circumstances. This includes the software and typography of the actual screen. If you own a Kindle that uses e-ink technology, you probably know that it is great in sunlight, but in other circumstances it may cause fatigue. In dim light, an LCD display can be better. E-ink has a low contrast ratio, meaning the lack of contrast with the backlit screen can eventually become uncomfortable for the reader.
On the other hand, an LCD screen does offer good viewing, but the reflective glass could bring eye fatigue in a brightly lit room. It really isn’t about the display, but making sure that you take short breaks from looking at the screen. Stand up, take a stretch, and let your eye muscles relax.
Physically when reading, the ocular muscles are moving around and this rapid movement causes strain and fatigue. Doctors say that the eyes make around 10,000 movements in one hour, so a twenty minute break from reading can help prevent eye fatigue. Additionally, technology is helping us out with improving the display by refreshing the image less frequently. Refreshing is just a flicker now, or perhaps unnoticed by the human eye.
Although, your mom may still shout the warning, know that it is up to you to prevent eye fatigue by taking a break to allow your ocular muscles to rest. But, who knows what next technology Amazon may implement on the Kindle, or any of the latest tablet PCs and ereaders for that matter. We may no longer need to put that book down for a few minutes just to give our eyes a chance to rest. It is still recommended, however, to listen to mom when she shouts “don’t run with scissors!”