Sitting close to television, computer screens not bad for eyes, doctors say

According to a new report, doctors and researchers agree that sitting close to TV and computer screens won't harm your eyes. (Sorry, Mom.)
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor on

Is it bad for your eyes to sit close to a television or computer screen -- just like Mom used to say?

As it turns out, it's not, doctors say -- but a number of other factors are actually what cause eye fatigue.

In a post by Nick Bilton on the New York Times Bits blog, it's actually the ergonomics of reading screens and the lack of blinking while using them that cause eye fatigue.

“The current problem with reading on screens is that we need to adjust our bodies to our computer screens, rather than the screens adjusting to us,” said Travis Meredith, chair of the ophthalmology department at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, to Bits.

In the article, Bilton asks whether the e-Ink screens on e-book readers are truly better for our eyes than LCD displays, which happens to be the way they are marketed.

According to Bilton's reporting, doctors and researchers agree that while paper can offer more visual sophistication than a screen, certain types of paper -- including newsprint and the paper in paperback books -- actually provides "an inferior reading experience" for our eyes.

According to Michael Bove, director of the Consumer Electronics Laboratory at MIT's Media Lab, it all depends on the environment: in dim light, LCDs win; in bright light, paper triumphs; and low-contrast e-Ink technology falls somewhere in between, he says in the article.

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