iPad viewing and eyestrain ?

Discussion in 'iPad General Discussions' started by NateBW, Aug 22, 2010.

  1. NateBW

    NateBW iPF Noob

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    Hi,

    I am an eye doctor that blogs about computer vision syndrome (CVS) and ways to keep your eyes happy any healthy during digital usage. I've been asked to write a blog post on tips to reduce eyestrain when using the iPad. Of course, all the usual computer/devise suggestions apply. But since I don't actually HAVE an iPad (I'm the blacksheep in a family of Mac addicts), I'd like to do a little crowdsourcing to learn from serious users. What has been your experience with the iPad in terms of eyestrain relative to other devices such as a Kindle or smartphone?
    • Do you find that bright sunlight presents a problem? I live in Florida and bright sunlight is often a problem.
    • Do you take specific steps to reduce/prevent eyestrain?
    • Do you usually use the iPad seated with it in your lap, on a desk/table, laying down, walking/standing, or some other posture?
    Thanks in advance, for all your comments and suggestions!

    Happy iPadding. :D

    -Nate
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2010
  2. iPadCharlie

    iPadCharlie iPad Super Guru

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    First of all, welcome to the forum!

    Second of all, get an iPad! C'mon, you're a doc. You got money.

    But more to the point, I will start off by saying that I am 53, farsighted and wear "cheaters" (2.5's from Wal-Mart. I keep a pair in every room in the house.) I am also a Gemini and like long walks on the beach.... but that's another story!

    But anyway, I have not experienced any of the so-called eye strain issues. I started out reading books on my iPod Touch (the same size as an iPhone) and found that I was reading more than I have in many years. For me, reading "ink on paper" caused more eye strain than reading from a screen which is probably why I did not do very much recreational reading. As soon as the iPad came out, I was one of the first in line to get one so I could read in the larger format.

    If I am holding the iPad, I usually read at arms length and usually only for about 15-20 minutes at a time. This is mostly because it gets heavy after awhile. If I put the iPad on a desk, I can read for much longer periods of time with no issues.

    While I have used my iPad outdoors, I have not done any extended reading in bright sunlight. Its summer and honestly, I don't like being outdoors when the heat index is over 100°, which is is pretty much from July through August. And if its not bloody hot, its raining! You just can't win!

    To be fair, I have not used an actual Kindle, Nook or Kobo or any other stand alone reading device that uses a different screen technology which is supposed to cause less strain than the iPad's screen.

    Like anything in life, moderation is the key. I have learned a few things in my 53 years of sucking air on this planet!
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2010
  3. King Hal

    King Hal iPad Enthusiast

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    I think more of a problem is going blind from watching the wrong (?) sites? The whole world is suffering from too many "syndromes" foisted on us by well-meaning medical types. Leave us iPadders alone.
     
  4. NateBW

    NateBW iPF Noob

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    Not foisting anything on you or anyone. But we routinely see patients with headache, neck problems, double vision and such related to digital viewing, and education is the key.

    As for the "wrong sites" I don't have any comment on that. :p
     
  5. NateBW

    NateBW iPF Noob

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    Moderation

    Bingo. Taking a break is essential, even if it is just for 30 seconds or so. Unfortunately, moderation is often not a core strength of the tech crowd.

    Thanks for your other advice. That fits well with what others have said.
     
  6. BrennB

    BrennB iPad Addict

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    I have recent lasik and since then I notice more strain but mostly due to dry eye and need for breaks. This iPad is so convenient it becomes addicting to use. I'd definitely emphasize the importance of taking breaks.
    I use mostly lap length away, natural light or low wattage, the backlight is set low. I can use this iPad much longer than my laptop, and cell phone for reading...
     
  7. Game_Writer

    Game_Writer iPF Novice

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    I was near-sighted until 2004, when I got Lasik surgery. LOVE my new vision, but over the past few years, I suffer eye strain while reading. For about a year, i even stopped reading, and wasn't exactly sure what my problem was.

    Then I discoved reading glassing. I'm only 43, so I think I'm a bit young for reading glasses, but they really help. I often need them on my iPad now to reduce eye strain. If I read or use my iPad for more than 30-60 minutes without reading glasses, I can't see very well. My vision gets blurry for s couple hours afterwards. It's very annoying.

    I usually get very cheap glasses, from Wal-Mart, or ever dollar stores. I only get 1.5 - 2.0, as higher power wigs me out. I just need help focusing at close ranges. Before surgery, my near vision was excellent. I don't know if my surgery is the cause, or it's just because im getting older.

    I work on a computer all day as a programmer and although I do sometimes get minor eye strain from that, i don't need my glasses for that. I mostly get the strain when I am using the bottom part of my eyes. Weird, I know. Watching tv in bed also causes the same problem, as I'm watching using the lower parts of my eyes. I don't understand it, but I've learned to deal with it.

    Hope that helps. I'm open to follow-up questions if you want clarifications.
     
  8. King Hal

    King Hal iPad Enthusiast

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    Shades of being told we shouldn't read books with a torch under the blankets, but now it's a syndrome. I feel a "class action" coming on. WTF?
     
  9. Diane B

    Diane B iPad Junkie

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    My husband and I were just saying last night we feel its easier to read with Ipad than many books. I've tried the Nook but not extensively for comparison. We are both heavy readers and read at night in bed also. Def prefer Ipad for night/bed reading.

    I'm a longtime computer user and use large calibrated monitor for photo processing with a Wacom tablet and regardless of ergonomic setup, i suffer more eye, back etc with it and hate reading on my laptop. With the Ipad I hold the same place as a book (using the Apple cover and sticking a hand behind the wedge to hold it) and can sit normally.

    I'm 71 and have a bit of correction for astigmatism but usually just use readers. I adjust contrast in the various ereaders. I actually prefer the Barnes and Noble (now Nook) app but read more in the Kindle app and have Stanza also-- the difference being in the ability to control font, font sizes, page color, contrast more. I rarely read in the iBook app except for pdf manuals.

    I live in NC with lots of sun and can't imagine sitting in direct sun to read. I do use it at our pool but under roof but still pretty bright. I up the contrast.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2010
  10. NateBW

    NateBW iPF Noob

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    iPad reading

    Thanks, Diane.

    I think that is true for a lot of people. And for people with very poor vision from cataracts or something think macular degeneration, the iPad can be a godsend and replace thousands of dollars of visual devices to assist with reading.
     
  11. wrecklass

    wrecklass iPad Enthusiast

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    I am fifty something and have had corrective lenses for about a decade. I have always had excellent eyesite, but the usual aging process caught up. You know "my arms don't seem to be long enough to hold a book at the right distance" syndrome.

    I have read books on an iPod, Kindle (1), Kindle DX, and now the iPad in many lighting conditions.

    I suffer from Migrains and occasionally I get occular migrains, which you are aware means I see "electrical like patterns" moving across my eyesight. When this occurs I have to take a break from reading and allow my vision to clear. It was very alarming the first time this occured, and is the reason I now wear reading glasses.

    I can say for me that the Kindle's reflective lighting solution is much easier for me to read for long periods with. I do a lot of technical reading as a Software Engineer. I can spend several hours focused on reading. The backlit displays are much harder on my eyes and require frequent rest periods to allow my eyes to relax. I almost never suffer the occular migrains while reading with a Kindle. It occurs quite frequently with the iPad unless I rest my eyes regularly.

    For those of the younger set claiming that people are trying to invent a new syndrome, you couldn't be more wrong. As the saying goes, you will understand once you get older. In the meantime you can just assume you know better :D

    Learn to take care of your eyes now, you will appreciate it when you still have good eyesite later.
     
  12. NateBW

    NateBW iPF Noob

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    Indeed, breaks will be a main point in the article. As will larger screen size, as you mention.
     
  13. NateBW

    NateBW iPF Noob

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    Yes, prevention is better than treatment. :)

    It is also true that much of this comes down to individual preferences and environment. What may work for one person may not be great for another.
     
  14. The Alternative

    The Alternative iPad Junkie

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    Prior to owning an iPad I've had three generations of Sony Readers and read between 20 and 40 books per year. While the eink gray screens of the Sony models are great to read and give one the feeling of reading paper books I find the iPad experience much more enjoyable. The fonts are clearer and the backlighting better. As for eye strain? I've never really experienced that particular problem with either type.
     
  15. ctillerjr

    ctillerjr iPF Novice

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    Here is an EXCELLENT way to reduce eyestrain while reading on your Ipad.

    This has moved my Kindle in the sell/put back in the box mode permanently!

    Use the Dark Theme for Night-time Reading in any App!
    Wouldn’t it be nice if you could bring iBooks style night-reading mode to all the other apps on your iPad /iPhone?
    There’s an easy workaround. On your iOS device, tap the Settings icon and choose General – > Accessibility – > Triple-click Home and and set it to “Toggle White on Black.â€

    Press the Home button to exit Settings and launch any reading app. Triple-click the Home button on your iOS device in quick succession and it should enable white-on-black effect quite similar to iBooks Night mode. Triple-click again to switch to normal mode. Simple!
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2012

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