Which is better for your eyes: e-readers or print?

Medically reviewed by Tina Patel, Contact Lens Optician at Feel Good Contacts.

Are e-readers better for your eyes?

When compared to the screens of our laptops, smartphones and tablets, e-readers are better for our eyes. E-readers like the Amazon Kindle use e-ink, which is a type of paper display technology that mimics ink on a page. This causes much less strain on the eye than reading from LCD screens because it doesn’t reduce our blink rate. Try not to use an e-reader too close to bedtime as these devices emit blue light which can negatively affect your sleep.

If you're overdoing it on the books and screens, try some hydrating eye drops like Blink-N-Clean Eye Drops to help soothe tired and overworked eyes.

Are print books better for your eye health?

Traditional paper books are probably the best option for your eyes if you want to avoid computer vision syndrome. As long as you're reading in good light, your eyes shouldn't feel too fatigued from print books. If you’re trying to Marie Kondo your home and own less physical books, an e-reader is the next best thing and won’t cause eye fatigue to the extent that computer screens will.

Is reading in low light bad for your eyes?

Although reading in low light will not damage your eyes, it will make it more challenging to read, causing discomfort and eye strain. Vision can naturally worsen over time, but it won’t be because you sat too close to the TV or read in the dark. You should make sure the room you are reading in is well lit for the most comfortable experience.

How can I look after my eyes while reading?

No matter what format you choose, giving your eyes time to rest regularly while you read is always a good idea. Use the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes look 20 feet into the distance for at least 20 seconds. This will rejuvenate your eyes and help prevent eye strain as well as relieve the symptoms of it. Making a conscious effort to blink more will also help replenish your eyes of moisture.

Disclaimer: The advice in this article is for informational purposes only and does not replace medical care or an in-person check-up. Please check with an eyecare professional before purchasing any products or remedies. For information on our article review process, please refer to our Editorial Policy.

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