Nov 082010
 

The computer industry really doesn’t care about our eyesight, but why do we let them ruin it?

I’ve spent hours, days and years in the Electronics lab during my college days. Having been very good until then, my sight started deteriorating from constantly looking at all the circuit boards and micro-electronics components and I gradually became near-sighted. I went to a good shop, got an exam and some glasses and I was happy I can see again. However, few months later during one dark starry night far away from the city, I took them off and couldn’t see the usual wonderful clusters of stars and the Milky Way in the sky visible to everybody else. All I got was a blurry, milky glow, much worse than before I started wearing glasses. My eyes were getting happily comfortable and lazy behind those lenses, so then, unlike most people, I put the glasses away. I thought (and it seems I was right) the core of the problem was me, exercising my eyes’ muscles only one way by constantly looking at things that were extremely near – computers and electronics in the college labs, computers at work, and computers and computer games at home. So I started having more frequent breaks, going out more, enjoying the landscapes, nature, movie theaters, riding my mountain bike and driving around the country much more. Within a year or so my sight returned to a comfortable point very close to normal (I flawlessly pass the eye test without glasses and without any effort every time my license is due for renewal – if you can’t pass this, don’t fool yourself and drive without glasses). It remained almost perfect throughout the last ten years although the computer industry is still trying to destroy it. I believe the cause of the nation-wide rapidly spreading near-sightedness is in our way of life. We are messing up our own eyes, but the laptop and cell phone/gadgets manufacturers are helping very much.

Throughout the last twenty years the computer and cell phone industry has been acting like it has a direct incentive in blurring our vision. The American Optometric Association states that almost 10 million people suffer from computer-related eyestrain, ANUALLY.  I’m very annoyed by the highly reflective glossy screens that have gradually crept into the consumer devices from plasma TVs to nearly every consumer laptop.  Computer users, I hereby ask you to start using your brain and stop buying things that will impair your quality of life and ruin your eyes! These shiny screens make computers and other gadgets look so nice and fancy, but only while they’re turned off. Once you use them in anything brighter than a midnight of a moonless night, it starts getting distracting and annoying.  For Pete’s sake, reading or watching a movie on an iPad in daylight is an absolute nightmare. Does anybody else feel like me or am I just trying to talk to a bunch of hypnotized sheep ready to follow the wolves? Kudos to most LCD TV and LCD monitor manufacturers for the anti-glare design and the greatest credit should go to Amazon for the absolutely beautiful and improving Kindle models which can be read even in direct sunlight, but most plasma TV and laptop manufacturers are attacking your eyes and instead of ditching them, you buy their products.  Most Apple laptops (supposedly fancy) also have the crappy glossy screens and the anti-glare models are available for $50 extra charge, only on 15″ and 17″ Macbook Pro models. Nothing for 13″ and under. Who do they think we are, vampires who never see any light of the day?  Don’t buy messed up stuff like that. My experience with a multitude of HP business laptops is the opposite and I bet Dell and others offer similar bliss – most of the business models are anti-glare and far more comfortable to work with. While I was in charge of technology purchases in a big institution, I kept glossy screens out of our workplace and will do it at the next one as well.

Among the highly reflective finish and other insane attempts to ruin our vision, another annoying trend has been to lower the mobile device’s screen size to increase portability while increasing the resolution for higher picture quality and cramp as many documents and web pages into a space no bigger or barely bigger than your palm. Although I think Apple has made a historical move with their Mac AirBook models regarding the decision to use the solid state drives only, dminishing the screen size to 11.6″ while keeping the resolution at 1366×768 makes it barely readable, so I don’t think it’s worth buying it (yes I do have a netbook with same screen size, but it’s a $300 netbook with anti-glare screen and not a glossy eyesight challenger). Don’t buy the 11.6″ if you like your eyes. Most of us common mortals will stay away for other reasons, but it’s absolutely a selfish design made by people who already wear glasses and are very near-sighted. All right, a 15” laptop screen with 1366×768 or lower resolution is too big for everybody except for aging eyes, but don’t use that or higher resolution on 11.6” netbooks, puh-lease! Give me 1280×800 on 11.6” and 12” screens or give me nothing. Anything above that makes things smaller on the already small screen and you will keep your nose dug deep into that device, messing up your eyes and your neck. As a result, your eyes are being exercised and conditioned for short-sightedness, like the entire world should be (apparently the designers of these devices think so)… NOT.

I’m glad I decided to not upgrade to iPhone 4. Its new and “fancy” Retina display has the same size as the old iPhone 3GS screen, only higher resolution. This was a good move in theory and on paper but absolutely wrong in reality. I’ve held the iPhone 4 next to my iPhone 3GS and couldn’t see a major difference in higher resolution. My coworker who has both iPhones and wears glasses (so he has a perfect vision) shares the same experience. Maybe it shows if you lower the font size into something microscopic or bring the phone a few inches away from your eyes, but again, I love my eyes far too much to treat them like that (and when I buy a new phone I spend so much time on it that it can easily ruin them). This is why my next phone will be either HTC EVO or something of a similar size. Although too big for most people, Dell Streak looks really interesting to me.

So hear here people, don’t accept any attacks on your eyes! Fight near-sightedness! Use big screens, far away from your nose and don’t buy anything with built-in glare. Show some self-respect.

  3 Responses to “Let Them Ruin Your Eyes?”

  1. Haha – this review was perfect. I’ve kept my eyes on electronics for literally my whole life and messed up my eyes for life. I feel the exact same way about the glossy screens and also hate having to keep the radiation so close to my eyes. Having to choose to go to my phone -when I get bored – and keep my face so close to it that it ruins my eyes so much. I love hanging outdoors so much, but after I recently moved to Cali from Texas, I haven’t gotten to meet any new people yet, which gets me really home-bound and passing my time by with these electronics all up on my eyes. 

    All I’m saying is that we should all just find other ways to get away from these eye-damaging devices and find some fun without destroying your eyes.

    • Thanks for the comment, I agree. Moderation is important, especially if the eyes are getting strained.
      Seen the latest iPad commercial? They are showing a girl using it on the beach. I laughed out loud, thinking to myself “honey you can’t possibly read at that light – you are just showing off.” The commercial is misleading. Now, if she were to use the Kindle, that is more credible, because it’s the only e-reader that performs excellent in bright environments, the more light, the better. Otherwise it’s virtually impossible to read the iPad or any other glossy screen tablet or laptop outdoors on a sunny day.

  2. Haha – this review was perfect. I’ve kept my eyes on electronics for literally my whole life and messed up my eyes for life. I feel the exact same way about the glossy screens and also hate having to keep the radiation so close to my eyes. Having to choose to go to my phone -when I get bored – and keep my face so close to it that it ruins my eyes so much. I love hanging outdoors so much, but after I recently moved to Cali from Texas, I haven’t gotten to meet any new people yet, which gets me really home-bound and passing my time by with these electronics all up on my eyes. 

    All I’m saying is that we should all just find other ways to get away from these eye-damaging devices and find some fun without destroying your eyes.

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