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Old May 21, 2012, 05:59 PM   #1
pctomac99
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iMac 27 Severe Eye Strain and Migraines (Display Design Flaw

Ok guys I have a quad 27 inch iMac that I bought back in 2009. I have been having severe eye strain and migraines that have gotten really really bad to the point where looking at the screen for five minutes now makes me sick to my head.

I've read pretty much everything on the net about what might be causing this. Most people say it's the glare on the iMac (which I don't agree with). Some say to turn the brightness down, others say to turn it up. Some people recommend having some light in the room so the light from the display is not too harsh on the eyes. Some people say to place the iMac further away. Some people say the resolution is too high. Some people say it's the LED back lighting technology, some say it's the flicker when you dim the display etc, etc. Well I've spent time thinking about it and actually looking into how the display panel is built and I think I've possibly discovered what it is.

If you take a really close look at the top left corner of the 27 inch display at an angle (with glass panel off), you can see two layers, the transparent lcd surface where pixels reside (don;t know what you call it) and the actual backlight surface panel. I have three other non apple displays that I use at home of different sizes and have compared them with the 27 imac screen and have noticed that the imac has at what looks like a 1/4 inch gap between these two surfaces, while the other non apple displays have less than that. My theory is that the terrible eye strain that I have been experiencing and that many people have been mentioning in posts on the net has to do with this 1/4 inch space. The eyes need a solid surface to focus on, if there is a huge gap like the apple displays use, the eyes constantly fight to focus between the two, hence the eye strain. As the space between these two surfaces increases the worse it gets.

I have been dealing with this issue for a while know. I even went to my eye doctor and everything checked out fine as he said I had 20/20 vision. He did say to spend less time on the computer. I probably spend 1 hour a day which is very little. Right now I have an apple 23 cinema display which I use with absolutely no eye strain or headaches and I can use that for hours. I am now in the process of putting the iMac up for sale on ebay. I love my iMac very much. I like looking at it, but can't look at it if you know what I mean. What I would like to do is get a good used apple 30" cinema display and pair it with a mac mini or older mac pro. What do you guys think of all of this. Comments please.
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Old May 21, 2012, 06:01 PM   #2
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I think you mean the clear glass (the thing you can touch if you touch the screen) and the display itself. You could try using it without the glass if you want. It's held on by some magnets and pops off when pulled with suction cups.
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Old May 21, 2012, 06:05 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Intell View Post
I think you mean the clear glass (the thing you can touch if you touch the screen) and the display itself. You could try using it without the glass if you want. It's held on by some magnets and pops off when pulled with suction cups.
No, I don't mean the outer glass. I took the glass off. The problem is the display panel (LCD panel) itself.
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Old May 21, 2012, 06:09 PM   #4
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Could be hypochondria. Try affixing a magnet to the back of your neck. This may help with the symptoms.
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Old May 21, 2012, 06:09 PM   #5
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I'm pretty sure it's a problem on your end.
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Old May 21, 2012, 06:33 PM   #6
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Yup, it must be a design flaw since 99.9999% of people that bought Macs don't experience the same problem. Clearly a design flaw.

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Originally Posted by pctomac99 View Post

I have been dealing with this issue for a while know. I even went to my eye doctor and everything checked out fine as he said I had 20/20 vision. He did say to spend less time on the computer. I probably spend 1 hour a day which is very little. Right now I have an apple 23 cinema display which I use with absolutely no eye strain or headaches and I can use that for hours. I am now in the process of putting the iMac up for sale on ebay. I love my iMac very much. I like looking at it, but can't look at it if you know what I mean. What I would like to do is get a good used apple 30" cinema display and pair it with a mac mini or older mac pro. What do you guys think of all of this. Comments please.
I think the problem will only get worse for you with a bigger and higher resolution display.
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Old May 21, 2012, 06:38 PM   #7
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Some people exhibit an intolerance agains LED backlit monitors: because the LED do not emit a constant light but in fact pulsate with very high frequency, sensitive eyes may register this, resulting in eye strain and headaches. This might be what you experience. The fact is: most of the users don't have your problems. While it usually takes a day or two to get used to the LED display (my first few days on my MBP and my iMac as well were horrible), only few users experience prolonged problems. I sit in front of Macs basically all the time and according to my eye doctor, my eyes are ok.
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Old May 21, 2012, 06:52 PM   #8
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I heard that wifi signals can cause migraines too LOL

aww, now i just ruined wifi for the poor guy.
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Old May 21, 2012, 07:00 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by leman View Post
Some people exhibit an intolerance agains LED backlit monitors: because the LED do not emit a constant light but in fact pulsate with very high frequency, sensitive eyes may register this, resulting in eye strain and headaches. This might be what you experience. The fact is: most of the users don't have your problems. While it usually takes a day or two to get used to the LED display (my first few days on my MBP and my iMac as well were horrible), only few users experience prolonged problems. I sit in front of Macs basically all the time and according to my eye doctor, my eyes are ok.
This!!!!

I had this the first few weeks after having an LED display, then I turned the brightness down and it went away shortly after.
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Old May 21, 2012, 07:02 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by theSeb View Post
Yup, it must be a design flaw since 99.9999% of people that bought Macs don't experience the same problem. Clearly a design flaw.

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I think the problem will only get worse for you with a bigger and higher resolution display.
I hate responses like this. Blame the user every time, right?

Go to Apple's own discussion boards and see what plenty of people say about eye strain with a variety of Apple's glossy LED driven machines. Go on, do it...
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Old May 21, 2012, 07:13 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by TennisandMusic View Post
I hate responses like this. Blame the user every time, right?

Go to Apple's own discussion boards and see what plenty of people say about eye strain with a variety of Apple's glossy LED driven machines. Go on, do it...
I made it quite clear that there are people that will have an issue. Considering the fact that Apple sell the most large displays (you can look this up) and US citizens haven't sued yet, it's pretty clear that there isn't a design flaw - some people simply can't use large screens and you'll get complaints. I am never surprised to see sick people at the hospital so I am never surprised to read about problems on various forums. Healthy don't go to hospitals and don't go around screaming that they are healthy (normally).

I wasn't blaming the user. I was injecting reality.
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Old May 21, 2012, 07:30 PM   #12
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I had eye/computer issues as well. A trip to the eye doctor solved that problem with either specialized computer only glasses or repositioning the iMac. My original optometrist did not solve the problem, so I switched to an ophthalmologists. You may want to try a different eye doc.
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Old May 21, 2012, 07:36 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by TennisandMusic View Post
I hate responses like this. Blame the user every time, right?

Go to Apple's own discussion boards and see what plenty of people say about eye strain with a variety of Apple's glossy LED driven machines. Go on, do it...
Yeah, until they actually have a problem they don't care about anybody else right? I think those who say don't have problems using them actually do but to a much lesser degree. When I first bought mine it took a few month for symptoms to show up. But I did on day one notice something peculiar about the projected image on the display.

To this day if I stop by an apple store and take a look at the imacs I see the same problem I have with mine. Are they still using the same display panel part numbers? It's like my eyes struggle to focus on the fonts and elements of the graphical user interface. It's not like looking at a piece of paper with printed text where your eyes are relaxed and clearly fixed on the shapes, it's more like my eyes are seeing the shapes but for some reason they struggle to make them out clearly. When I take a look at other computer displays, say at Fry's Electronics, I do not this this problem. Eyes are completely relaxed. Very strange.

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Old May 21, 2012, 07:49 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by theSeb View Post
I made it quite clear that there are people that will have an issue.
.0001% of 15,000,000 (roughly the number of imacs sold) is 15. Sooo, it sounds more like you were dismissing him entirely than making it quite clear that some users have a real problem.
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Old May 21, 2012, 07:50 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by theSeb View Post
I made it quite clear that there are people that will have an issue. Considering the fact that Apple sell the most large displays (you can look this up) and US citizens haven't sued yet, it's pretty clear that there isn't a design flaw - some people simply can't use large screens and you'll get complaints. I am never surprised to see sick people at the hospital so I am never surprised to read about problems on various forums. Healthy don't go to hospitals and don't go around screaming that they are healthy (normally).

I wasn't blaming the user. I was injecting reality.
We are not robots. Not everyone is made the same. Our eyes and brains are not all exactly the same. This is just something I notice with my iMac display and not with any other display that I've seen so far. Like the one I'm using now to write these few words (apple cinema 23" display), my eyes are not struggling at all.
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Old May 21, 2012, 07:52 PM   #16
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I had a similar problem on my 24-inch iMac. Very impressive screen when on display, but in practice, very painful. I hated that damn thing.
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Old May 21, 2012, 07:55 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Occamsrazr View Post
Could be hypochondria. Try affixing a magnet to the back of your neck. This may help with the symptoms.
You are such a Caring Individual...

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Old May 21, 2012, 07:57 PM   #18
pctomac99
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Originally Posted by leman View Post
Some people exhibit an intolerance agains LED backlit monitors: because the LED do not emit a constant light but in fact pulsate with very high frequency, sensitive eyes may register this, resulting in eye strain and headaches. This might be what you experience. The fact is: most of the users don't have your problems. While it usually takes a day or two to get used to the LED display (my first few days on my MBP and my iMac as well were horrible), only few users experience prolonged problems. I sit in front of Macs basically all the time and according to my eye doctor, my eyes are ok.
Yes I mentioned this in my post. People say if you turn the LED display all the way up and supposedly no pulsating. But it has not helped. I still think it's that there is no surface for the eyes to focus on. It's like looking past a dirty car windshield, you are trying to look at the road ahead but your eyes or brain keep focusing on the dirt on the window or the other way around in the case of the iMac.

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I'm pretty sure it's a problem on your end.
If that were true then the three other non iMac displays I use would also cause the symptoms.
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Old May 21, 2012, 08:05 PM   #19
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If that were true then the three other non iMac displays I use would also cause the symptoms.
Are you seriously suggesting that every panel you've mentioned is identical?

If there truly were a problem with the 27 inch iMac, I'm sure we would have seen some sort of coverage on the issue. Given three years have passed, in your case, and we've not heard anything from anyone else, I'm pretty sure we can reasonably assume the problem is not as widespread as you would like to think.

As I said before, I'm pretty sure it's a problem on your end.
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Old May 21, 2012, 09:09 PM   #20
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I made it quite clear that there are people that will have an issue. Considering the fact that Apple sell the most large displays (you can look this up) and US citizens haven't sued yet, it's pretty clear that there isn't a design flaw - some people simply can't use large screens and you'll get complaints. I am never surprised to see sick people at the hospital so I am never surprised to read about problems on various forums. Healthy don't go to hospitals and don't go around screaming that they are healthy (normally).

I wasn't blaming the user. I was injecting reality.
You think the eye strain is related to screen size? Makes no sense, go read the Apple boards. There is plenty of eye strain experienced with the laptops. It has to do with the LED backlights and reflective screens.

You did not say people would have problems, you dismissed the guy saying "99.999%" of people don't experience it.

Being sued is not indicative of the presence or absence of a problem.

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Originally Posted by NathanMuir View Post
Are you seriously suggesting that every panel you've mentioned is identical?

If there truly were a problem with the 27 inch iMac, I'm sure we would have seen some sort of coverage on the issue. Given three years have passed, in your case, and we've not heard anything from anyone else, I'm pretty sure we can reasonably assume the problem is not as widespread as you would like to think.

As I said before, I'm pretty sure it's a problem on your end.
Hopefully the iMac panels are basically identical yes. That's why Apple buys a certain spec, in hopes that all machines are "identical".

Again, read the Apple boards. Tons of complaints of headaches, eye strain, etc. Just do a search. It is not uncommon whatsoever.
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Old May 21, 2012, 09:17 PM   #21
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Give Gunnar glasses a try. You can buy them at best buy and even get them in a prescription.

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Old May 21, 2012, 09:39 PM   #22
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Hopefully the iMac panels are basically identical yes. That's why Apple buys a certain spec, in hopes that all machines are "identical".
So the 27 inch panel is the same as his 23 inch panel and both of those would be the same as a 30 inch panel he might buy?

Quote:
Again, read the Apple boards. Tons of complaints of headaches, eye strain, etc. Just do a search. It is not uncommon whatsoever.
Glanced over this thread, I don't see any links to the Apple board(s) where this issue is being discussed.
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Old May 21, 2012, 09:50 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by chrono1081 View Post
This!!!!

I had this the first few weeks after having an LED display, then I turned the brightness down and it went away shortly after.
That would be the brightness than The LEDs are also extremely bright, but the pulsation i was talking about stops on higher brightness levels as it is used to modulate the brightness (less frequent pulsation = darker backlight).[COLOR="#808080"]

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Originally Posted by pctomac99 View Post
Yes I mentioned this in my post. People say if you turn the LED display all the way up and supposedly no pulsating. But it has not helped. I still think it's that there is no surface for the eyes to focus on. It's like looking past a dirty car windshield, you are trying to look at the road ahead but your eyes or brain keep focusing on the dirt on the window or the other way around in the case of the iMac.
Unfortunately, than I can't suggest anything besides stopping using the iMac monitor. While what you say might be correct and its indeed the construction of the display which gives you your symptoms (also, the glossy display may be partially at fault here), you also have to understand that your case is a very rare one, otherwise these forums would be full of people complaining about it and Apple would probably already have recalled the display long time ago. If I happen to have an allergy against a particular brand of coffe while vast majority of people can drink it just fine, I think it is not really fair to blame the manufacturer... I know this is not what you want to hear, but I have no other answer, alas

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Originally Posted by TennisandMusic View Post
You think the eye strain is related to screen size? Makes no sense, go read the Apple boards. There is plenty of eye strain experienced with the laptops. It has to do with the LED backlights and reflective screens.
Which both seem not to be the cause of the problem according to OP's descriptions. So your point is kind of moot. As to the rest, see what I wrote above.
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Old May 21, 2012, 10:00 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by leman View Post
Some people exhibit an intolerance agains LED backlit monitors: because the LED do not emit a constant light but in fact pulsate with very high frequency, sensitive eyes may register this, resulting in eye strain and headaches. This might be what you experience. The fact is: most of the users don't have your problems. While it usually takes a day or two to get used to the LED display (my first few days on my MBP and my iMac as well were horrible), only few users experience prolonged problems. I sit in front of Macs basically all the time and according to my eye doctor, my eyes are ok.
I'm not sure it's limited to LED. It can tire your eyes out if the display is excessively bright. The imacs do lose some contrast as you turn them down. Keep in mind some displays are better than others in this regard. The older ones were a little problematic as they went really flat when you turned down the backlight. Newer ones seem to do better. LCD displays tend to be extremely bright when new. I think this is partially to leave some room for backlight degradation, as they all lose brightness over time in somewhat of a half life cycle. If the OP is trying to get used to this, I would suggest trying to keep direct lighting off the display. This way you can safely turn down the brightness a bit without losing clarity to reflections.

The people saying it's solely due to the glare probably have bad lighting conditions for such a reflective display, but it's also possible that they don't fully understand optics. The reflections are not truly additive with emitted light. High resolution should not cause eye strain either. Extreme levels of contrast can feel harsh, but that's another matter. While I've never been a huge fan of the glass front, I'd suggest the OP test it in the evening when ambient light isn't such an issue with the backlight turned way down.

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Originally Posted by Occamsrazr View Post
Could be hypochondria. Try affixing a magnet to the back of your neck. This may help with the symptoms.
Are you even capable of posting anything beyond trolling?
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Old May 21, 2012, 10:27 PM   #25
FrankHahn
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I use two 27" Apple Cinema Displays. When I read anything for a prolonged period of time, I always enlarge the text I am reading. If not, I will feel the eye strain in a very short time. My suggestion is: Enlarge what you are reading! In Safari, you can use "Command" plus "+". I nearly always hold the command key and tap the "+" key twice in a newly-opened window or tab. I also do the same on my 13" Air (maybe once command plus + in Safari).
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