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macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 28, 2014
Hello apple lovers,

I would love your help and insight. I currently do all my work on a late 2012 21.5" iMac which I absolutely love. I love the screen and am very comfortable using it.

I also have an old 2009 17" laptop (anti-glare) that I simply cannot use anymore because it hurts and strains my eyes so much. It is literally unusable after about 10 minutes. I have even tried using different resolutions including the one with the largest objects and I still get eye fatigue and headaches! I can use my iMac for hours however with no bad effects.

Does anyone have any insight on why this might be? Looking at the specs for the two computers lists them both as having LED backlighting except the iMac has an IPS Display... (I also know the iMacs now have some glare reduction feature)

Here's the thing, work is getting me a laptop (apple) for mobile work and I need to figure out what to get that would be the easiest on my eyes. I have used a 15" retina macbook pro a little bit before and for my eyes it was virtually unusable. It felt like my eyes couldn't focus on anything and I quickly got a headache just looking at the screen.

I'm leaning toward looking at getting a classic 13" or 15" Glossy Macbook Pro as in my mind it seems to be the closest to the iMac screen that I love.

Does anyone have experience with this? How can it be that I love this iMac display but everything else seems to be a disaster? Is say a 2012/2013 classic macbook pro the closest screen I can probably get to? I'm avoiding the macbook air because of the higher resolution screens aka smaller texts for my eyes to look at....

Thank you!


PS, I just ordered Gunnar Glasses so we'll see how that helps...


macrumors G5
Oct 20, 2011
Austin, TX
The 13" Retina is a bit of an adjustment from the 13" non-retina for me, but I don't have eye strain problems with it beyond like the first hour I used it. I'm not sure if the 15" is better or worse.

Bending Pixels

macrumors 65816
Jul 22, 2010
The 15" rMBP will obviously have a bigger screen than a 13". I do notice less eye strain from the late 2013 rMBP I bought earlier this year from the 2010 15" MBP I had. Text is easier to read, doing work in Lr and PS CC is easier too.


macrumors 6502
Apr 29, 2014
Only your eyes know the answer to this. Everyone reacts differently to the machines, and fortunately, it's never been an issue for me. Try to get your hands on some of the options, either spending some time at an Apple Store (or retailer), or get your coworkers to let you spend a little time with their machines.

In theory, the 15" retina seems like the best choice, but as you've said, it doesn't work for you, and it could be an issue with the screen refresh rate, or some other issue your body reacts to. The best bet is to try to get your hands on some machines to tinker with.


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 28, 2014
Thanks for the responses anyone. Looks like I'll just have to see if I can borrow some of my buddies laptops and see what my body likes myself :cool:

Amen to the f.lux comment! If only we could have that on iOS without a jailbreak...
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