Skip navigation

Do E-Readers Cause Eye Strain?

The New York Times has an interesting article this morning about eBook readers and upcoming devices like the Apple iPad. Do the screens on these devices cause eye strain? The answer is quite unexpected--put simply, no, they do not--though there are things related to using these screens that cause problems. (I also enjoy that it busts the age-old "don't sit too close to the TV" myth.)

The admonition offered by legions of mothers — "Don't sit so close to the TV" — isn't really an option when it comes to e-reading devices. You have to get close to the screen to use it.

As consumers decide whether to make this jump and which technology to use, one key question is how reading on a screen affects the eyes.

First of all: doctors say that reading on a screen won't cause any harm.

"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" .. the ergonomics of reading screens and the lack of blinking when we stare at them play a big role in eye fatigue.

As an avid Kindle user, I'm interested to see what the eBook/eNewspaper experience is like on the iPad. Certainly, having one device that does it all is a draw, assuming it doesn't hurt my eyes.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.