Read It and Weep: Are e-readers and tablets safe for your eyes?
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
Turns out your English teacher was on to something. Reading is an incredibly good habit to have. Reading promotes your mental health, cognition and can help you relax.
Although reading is great for you, is how you read your books negatively influencing your health?
If you’re someone who believes nothing compares to holding the physical copy of a book in your hands, the worst you could suffer might be a papercut when you’re flipping through the pages of your favorite novel.
If you prefer e-book readers (e-readers) or tablets, visual fatigue could be a concern. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), visual fatigue can occur in response to discomfort after prolonged visual activity. It can look like “fatigue, pain around the eyes, blurred vision or headache.”
According to a study from the National Library of Medicine, the type of screen on your e-reader or tablet plays a role in whether or not you experience visual fatigue from reading.
There are two main types of screens: E-ink (electronic ink) or LCD (liquid crystal display) screens. LCD screens are typically found in tablets but can also be present on some e-readers. E-ink screens are found in many traditional e-readers and are designed to mimic the ink on a printed book.
According to this study, LCD screens can lead to visual fatigue, but e-ink screens are similar enough to the pages of an actual book that they don’t cause issues with your vision.
So, what does this mean? Do you need to throw out your tablet or LCD e-reader and run out to grab something different? Not necessarily.
The important thing is to remember to take breaks from staring at your LCD screen and if you feel your eyes get tired, switch to a different activity for a while.
If you’re concerned about visual fatigue or the effect your tablet or e-reader could have on your eyes, talk to your primary care physician. Happy reading.
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