Eye strain on Apple Watch?

Do you get Eye Strain from Apple Watch?

  • Yes

    Votes: 7 10.1%
  • No

    Votes: 60 87.0%
  • Sometimes if i use it for too long

    Votes: 2 2.9%

  • Total voters
    69

francerex

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 30, 2018
27
18
I am one of those unlucky guys which are sensible to PWM. Last month I returned an XS Max due to eye strain and migraine.

Last week i purchased an Apple Watch Series 4 and I am now experiencing the same symptoms. I hoped that without looking at it for more than a few seconds a few times per day i would be fine, but I start to think i should just sell it and avoid oled screens for the foreseeable future.

I read of only a couple of persons that actually experienced this, hence why I am posting this here.

Does any of you have similar problems? Does it get better?
 

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
34,338
35,421
First I have read of anyone having issues with Pulse Width Modulation with the Apple Watch. But the OLED displays on the iPhone, certainly more common.
 

francerex

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 30, 2018
27
18
First I have read of anyone having issues with Pulse Width Modulation with the Apple Watch. But the OLED displays on the iPhone, certainly more common.
Thanks for your answer.

After some testing I confirm that PWM on AP gives me problems.

I guess that many people sensible to the X pwm don’t own an AP or don’t use it enough to generate the eye strain, so the group affected is very very small.
 

techtechtech

macrumors member
Nov 9, 2017
47
44
I am one of those unlucky guys which are sensible to PWM. Last month I returned an XS Max due to eye strain and migraine.

Last week i purchased an Apple Watch Series 4 and I am now experiencing the same symptoms. I hoped that without looking at it for more than a few seconds a few times per day i would be fine, but I start to think i should just sell it and avoid oled screens for the foreseeable future.

I read of only a couple of persons that actually experienced this, hence why I am posting this here.

Does any of you have similar problems? Does it get better?
Well I am also one of the unlucky ones that is sensitive to PWM and certain AMOLED/OLED type panels, I can notice it almost within 5-10 seconds of viewing the screen unfortunately, extremely frustrating since renders certain products unusable for me. Within a couple of minutes I noticed this problem with the Series 4 Apple Watch, feels like my eyes are struggling to focus due to bright light with some very mild flickering/strobe effect, best way I can describe it, doesn't matter much about the brightness. If I look at a screen which causes me a problem from an angle the effect is less and I put this down to the light not being fired directly at my eyes. The sensation is almost like putting on another persons pair of glasses, although you can see the screen clearly immediately there is a feeling of strain and very minor dizziness - should note that my eyes have been tested recently! :)

With screens like the iPhone 5s/6s/7 I have no problem, interestingly the Apple Watch Series 3 I've been using is also fine and has never caused any issues at all.

Side note, the off axis blue tint on the Series 4 Apple Watch 40mm is pretty poor on my example, the Series 3 38mm did not suffer from this and in my opinion was an excellent screen when viewed at any angle.
 

user1234

macrumors 6502a
Mar 3, 2009
700
473
Sweden
I'm sensitive to PWM and can't use OLED phones, but I have no used with my 44mm S4 watch. I felt a bit of stain in the beginning when I was playing with it a lot and setting everything up, but in daily use it's not a problem for me even on days when I use it extensively to reply to messages and read email, check weather and so on.

I even look at it at night in a dark room when I wake up and want to see the time with no issues. This is at a low brightness setting though (it's in theater mode and I turn the brightness up to the first level using the crown).

I also use the black infograph watch face. I figured the white may be problematic since it emits more light. The watch doesn't emit a lot of light usually thanks to it's mostly black and dark grey interface and it's mostly only looked at for a few seconds at a time. I think most PWM sensitive people should be fine.
 

techtechtech

macrumors member
Nov 9, 2017
47
44
I'm sensitive to PWM and can't use OLED phones, but I have no used with my 44mm S4 watch. I felt a bit of stain in the beginning when I was playing with it a lot and setting everything up, but in daily use it's not a problem for me even on days when I use it extensively to reply to messages and read email, check weather and so on.

I even look at it at night in a dark room when I wake up and want to see the time with no issues. This is at a low brightness setting though (it's in theater mode and I turn the brightness up to the first level using the crown).

I also use the black infograph watch face. I figured the white may be problematic since it emits more light. The watch doesn't emit a lot of light usually thanks to it's mostly black and dark grey interface and it's mostly only looked at for a few seconds at a time. I think most PWM sensitive people should be fine.
Useful information, thanks, I will try the Series 4 for a few days to see if I can tolerate it, otherwise will switch back to my Series 3 and hope that Apple use an updated screen on the next edition which doesn't cause these issues. The larger screen of the 40mm is a welcome addition.
 

Simacca

macrumors 65816
Jul 31, 2008
1,138
408
UK, South East.
I noticed straight away that the screen affected my eyes and head. Made me feel nauseous and tired. I persevered with it, and after a couple of weeks, all is good. No more side effects for me
 

techtechtech

macrumors member
Nov 9, 2017
47
44
I noticed straight away that the screen affected my eyes and head. Made me feel nauseous and tired. I persevered with it, and after a couple of weeks, all is good. No more side effects for me
Thanks, that sounds encouraging, hopefully things will work out if I try it for at least a week. Must also check next time I'm near a store to see if the blue tint at angles is common, if not then I will swap mine out for another unit.
 
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Simacca

macrumors 65816
Jul 31, 2008
1,138
408
UK, South East.
Thanks, that sounds encouraging, hopefully things will work out if I try it for at least a week. Must also check next time I'm near a store to see if the blue tint at angles is common, if not then I will swap mine out for another unit.
Mine has blue tint at different angles, but it’s such a small screen it doesn’t bother me. If it was on my phone or tablet, then I would return it, but that’s just me.
 

Ernie32767

macrumors newbie
Dec 4, 2017
1
0
I tried a Series 4 44 mm Apple Watch for three days. I got almost immediate eye strain and headaches similar to the ones I get from iPhone OLED screens. I felt eye strain within seconds of looking at the screen, so using it for pretty much anything resulted in a low level headache. Not as severe as with the iPhone, but didn’t get any better after three days.

I used an iPhone to take Slo Mo videos of the watch at the highest and lowest brightness. There was flickering on certain parts of the watch screen even at the highest brightness.

The most noticeable flickering in the video was on the grey rectangles that are used behind text in some apps, such as the weather app. On the home screen, only certain app icons seemed to flicker. The heart rate monitor app’s icon flickered quite a bit, for example. On the Infograph screen, the three circles did the most flickering, and other parts didn’t flicker much. Watch faces with white hands on black backgrounds had little to no flickering, but colors, such as on red hands or grey text, would flicker.

The video of the watch at minimum brightness flickered more than the one at max brightness. I’d say there’s PWM on the watch at both min and max brightness.
 

Beth19

macrumors newbie
Jan 17, 2019
2
0
I am one of those unlucky guys which are sensible to PWM. Last month I returned an XS Max due to eye strain and migraine.

Last week i purchased an Apple Watch Series 4 and I am now experiencing the same symptoms. I hoped that without looking at it for more than a few seconds a few times per day i would be fine, but I start to think i should just sell it and avoid oled screens for the foreseeable future.

I read of only a couple of persons that actually experienced this, hence why I am posting this here.

Does any of you have similar problems? Does it get better?
Out of interest what iPhone did you get after you returned the XS Max? I'm also sensitive to PWM and was thinking of getting the XR after returning the X, however some people are saying that they still get eye strain.
 

francerex

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 30, 2018
27
18
Out of interest what iPhone did you get after you returned the XS Max? I'm also sensitive to PWM and was thinking of getting the XR after returning the X, however some people are saying that they still get eye strain.
I tried the XR. Sold it to a friend after a week. It did not affect me like the XS Max (and pwm in general) but I had a general discomfort that I did not experienced on the 8 plus (phone I have atm).
Similarly, I also tried the new ipad pro 11 last month. Same as for the XR, I experienced discomfort and mild strain, unlike on my ipad 2018. Ended up returning that as well.

I don't think the culprit is FaceID as i covered it on both the XR and the Pro 11 withouth symptoms improvements. It is probably a new antireflective coating or something similar as others have stated in this forum.
In both cases, I feel/hope i could have adjusted to them over time, but given how well iphone 8 and ipad 2018 work, the upgrades were not worth the hassle and the money.

Regarding your choice, if your are not sensible as me to led light strain, you should try out the XR imo. It really is a great device that will lasts you years. If not, it's not like you are missing out much on the iphone 8 plus, specially if you go for a used one in mint conditions.
 

user1234

macrumors 6502a
Mar 3, 2009
700
473
Sweden
I have no eye strain from my watch after 3 months of use. Series 4 44mm. I also have no eye strain from my XR.

I'm very sensitive to PWM so I'm happy that I can use the watch despite it using PWM. The small and mostly black UI helps for sure together with the short glances rather than staring at it for minutes at a time like I do with my phone.
 

techno-Zen

macrumors 65816
Apr 27, 2015
1,246
1,426
Gilbert, AZ
The iPhone X killed me with PWM and eye strain issues. I eventually got through it and no longer have any sensitivity. XS Max user and love the display.

I don't think you use an Apple Watch long enough to be affected to be honest.
 

francerex

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 30, 2018
27
18
The iPhone X killed me with PWM and eye strain issues. I eventually got through it and no longer have any sensitivity. XS Max user and love the display.

I don't think you use an Apple Watch long enough to be affected to be honest.
You are the first one i hear that got through it!

How long did it take if I may ask?
 

GlenK

macrumors 6502a
Aug 1, 2013
872
270
St. Augustine, FL
Don't have a AW but have given up on using the new iPhones. Returned a X and XR, both caused me to have headaches and eye strain.
Now I'm starting to wonder just how widespread this actually is. We have two threads on the subject here but now I keep seeing more and more of this.

Is Apple just ignoring this or are they researching for answers? Love Apple products and am a sizable stock holder. Hoping they don't ignore this issue.
 

scriptkitten

macrumors regular
Jul 11, 2007
183
57
WOW!!!! i started having problems with my eyes right after getting the iPhoneX last year. It was super sudden and I really only notice it when I'm on the phone... Then I upgraded to the AW 4 right after they came out and suddenly I found that when I looked at my watch I needed a second to focus on it. It was also immediately after getting the watch. I thought my eyes had just fallen off of some old age cliff but are you guys all saying that there may be a technical reason for this? You know... other than having a birthday?
 
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user1234

macrumors 6502a
Mar 3, 2009
700
473
Sweden
WOW!!!! i started having problems with my eyes right after getting the iPhoneX last year. It was super sudden and I really only notice it when I'm on the phone... Then I upgraded to the AW 4 right after they came out and suddenly I found that when I looked at my watch I needed a second to focus on it. It was also immediately after getting the watch. I thought my eyes had just fallen off of some old age cliff but are you guys all saying that there may be a technical reason for this? You know... other than having a birthday?
The bad news is that yes, your devices may cause this.

The good news is that maybe your eyes are not aging as quickly as you thought.
 
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MICHAELSD

macrumors 68040
Jul 13, 2008
3,722
1,107
NJ
I was extremely sensitive to the PWM of the OLED display on the iPhone X. Haven’t had any issues with past generations of the Apple Watch (the PWM implementation on Apple Watch seems better than on iPhone) so I was looking to upgrade to a Series 4 and came across this thread.

Have you guys experienced sensitivity to past generations of the Apple Watch?
[doublepost=1548493523][/doublepost]A Google search turned up a promising result that the newer LTPO OLED display on the Apple Watch Series 4 doesn’t use PWM, though I’m not sure of the accuracy as nobody has formally tested it. I’ll head to a store tomorrow to check since the larger display could be fantastic for when I want to be less reliant on my iPhone, especially since they’ve added a Podcasts app.

https://www.valuewalk.com/2018/10/apple-watch-series-4-light-bleed-issue/
 
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