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Are e-books good for your eyes?

14 June 2013

From Business Day Live:

Do you think it’s better for your eyes to read a digital book or the old-fashioned type, printed with ink on paper?

It took me ages to warm to my Kindle (I have technophobic tendencies and an iPad still seems adventurous). What sold me was the convenience when travelling abroad. It made so much sense to lighten my load by no longer lugging books in my luggage (the excessive alliteration is unintentional).

. . . .

So I was intrigued to receive an email from an American proponent of “natural vision improvement” (a topic that warrants discussion on its own, and for another time), asking whether digital or printed books are better for your vision.

The answer: if your vision is good to start with, medical science won’t prescribe one way or the other. It’s a matter of personal preference.

It’s another story altogether if you have low vision to start with, or serious eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy, that damage your central vision.

And digital books are proving helpful for elderly readers. A German study reported in the Public Library of Science One journal in February 2013 shows that elderly people find reading easier when using backlit electronic devices, thanks to increased contrast between the text and the background.

The researchers also say their findings don’t support the idea that digital reading devices are more tiring on the eyes.

Link to the rest at Business Day Live


10 Comments to “Are e-books good for your eyes?”

  1. I personally prefer reading on my Kindle over paper books; the Kindle background feels softer and easier on my eyes. The adjustable lighting level helps too.

  2. Obviously this is part of Amazon’s evil plan to take over the world. Now they’re ensnaring low visibilty readers.


  3. I have lousy eyesight. I read in bed with no glasses, no contacts and both the Nook Color and the Kindle Fire are terrific. Better than paper books. There, I said it.

  4. Also you can set
    Size of font,
    Page background,
    Number of columns (surprisingly I found by accident that two columns are easier to read for me with kindle cloud reader)

    All of these make books more pleasurable and easy to read

  5. Ebooks are very bad for my eyes.
    Because I spend ten hours a day staring at a computer screen while I write them.

  6. It’s almost impossible for me to read mass market paperbacks any more. And some supposedly better editions have their own problems, such as the oh so fashionable low-contrast grey type. I don’t have a reader, so I do most of my reading on my computer these days. Good lighting, without having to adjust for shadows, and resize for comfort.

  7. I made the most amazing discovery two summers ago. I can read outside again by using the Kindle. Paper glare gave me the equivalent of snow-blindness and I gave up sitting on the deck with a book. The Kindle changed that. The only downside is getting engrossed past the lifespan of the sunblock and ending up with a sunburn.

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