How Do I Make A Glossy Display Easier On My Eyes?
May 9, 2011 7:53 AM   Subscribe

Any tips on making the glossy display of the Macbook Pro 13 inch easier on the eyes?

Last month I started using a new Macbook Pro 13 inch and I have not been able to adjust to the glossy screen. Using the computer for any length of time longer than an hour gives me the same symptoms as this person: eyestrain, headaches and minor motion sickness. I've turned down the brightness level, which helped. Calibrating the display also helped a bit. Does anyone else have any ideas on how to make the glossy display easier on my eyes? Thanks in advance!
posted by Fuzzy Monster to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Work in as low-light environment as possible, to reduce reflections and glare.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:04 AM on May 9, 2011

You can get a screen overlay that will reduce the glare of the screen. I got this one for my Mac Book and it works pretty well, it doesn't make it a Matte display, but it certainly helps:
posted by darkgroove at 8:08 AM on May 9, 2011

In addition to not sitting with any lights behind you, try sitting with some muted lights in front of you. Having some extra light on stuff around the edges of the monitor has helped me with my own eyestrain problems.

In addition, my doctor has recommended, for me, what he calls the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds looking at something at least 20 feet away. I've also found this to be quite helpful.
posted by mhoye at 8:25 AM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I got a new 15" i7 MBPro. Same problem. I bought an external monitor, and a wired Apple keyboard. Much easier on the eyes and my posture is better as well. Before I bought the monitor, I tried adjusting the angle of the built-in screen. That helped. I also found that making the room dark helped a lot but I hate sitting in a less than bright room in winter. I also found that the desktop background could be adjusted with some positive result.
posted by PickeringPete at 8:51 AM on May 9, 2011

in a similar vein to darkgroove, I had this anti-glare film on my MacBook for a long time and was pretty happy with it. the films are a bit of a pain to apply - they tend to get bubbles in them - but they're not actually adhesive so they're easy enough to remove and reapply. anti-glare films do make the screen slightly less bright (which is why I got rid of mine), so take that into consideration. it's not a huge change but it's noticeable.
posted by mrg at 9:31 AM on May 9, 2011

If you're amenable to a software-based solution, I can't recommend f.lux enough. It makes the Mac screen look warmer and less "fluorescent", as it were:

During the day, computer screens look good—they're designed to look like the sun. But, at 9PM, 10PM, or 3AM, you probably shouldn't be looking at the sun. f.lux fixes this: it makes the color of your computer's display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day. f.lux makes your computer screen look like the room you're in, all the time. When the sun sets, it makes your computer look like your indoor lights. In the morning, it makes things look like sunlight again. Tell f.lux what kind of lighting you have, and where you live. Then forget about it. F.lux will do the rest, automatically.
posted by mykescipark at 9:40 AM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Also came here to recommend f.lux - it's absolutely great. When I turn it off now, I can't believe the (positive) difference it makes.
posted by coraline at 9:43 AM on May 9, 2011

Shades is another software-based solution.
posted by get off of my cloud at 9:48 AM on May 9, 2011

Thanks for the answers, everyone. Upon further research I now believe the problem is the LED backlight. My wife's old Macbook (Macbook 1,1) has a glossy screen (not as glossy as the new Macbook Pros, but still reflective) but no LED backlight and I can use her computer for hours with no vision problems/headaches/dizziness.

It seems like my best option at this point is to get an external LCD display... anyone have any other thoughts?
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 1:40 PM on May 9, 2011

(That is to say, an LCD display with a CCFL backlight)
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 2:06 PM on May 9, 2011

Don't forget the keyboard. I found that I had to close the MBP to get the resolution that the external display wanted. Also open Terminal and type in
Defaults -currentHost write -globalDomain AppleFontSmoothing -int2. You can search on that. I found it was needed to make the external display look it's best.
I got the Apple wired keyboard because I was concerned about how long the batteries would last in the wireless version. I also like the extra keys and really like the extra USB ports; I plug my mouse receiver into one of those. I really like the feel of that keyboard.
posted by PickeringPete at 4:12 PM on May 9, 2011

I can't recommend Flux enough for night time browsing. It looks orange and weird at first, but if you let it have a slow transition you don't realise it is there until it is gone. It lets me go to sleep soon after using the laptop because the artificial glare is taken away. I'm not sure if this answers your specific question but I think it will still be useful for you. Everyone I have recommended this to has loved it.
posted by tumples at 4:23 AM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the answers. I'm pretty sure that for me the problem isn't brightness or reflections, it's the LED backlight. Four days of using my wife's old Macbook with a CCFL backlit screen cleared up my problems. I tried using my new Macbook Pro again and within half an hour I had a severe headache, eyestrain and felt dizzy for the rest of the day.

I'm not the only one who has these problems with LED backlit displays. In addition to the thread I linked to above, here is another thread I found.

So it's a CCFL backlit screen for me. And an external keyboard as well. If a day ever comes when all screens are LED backlit, I will in big big trouble.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 8:56 AM on May 10, 2011

« Older When getting there is less than half the fun and...   |   Stomach Gas Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.