New iMac - Eyes are going crazy

ckeck

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 29, 2005
708
59
Texas
Same problem here. Ironically, just today I posted the follow comment to a huge apple discussions forum thread of 90 pages with nearly 1400 responses on the issue of ill effects from apple displays (https://discussions.apple.com/message/22134685#22134685):

I just returned my new 27-inch iMac because of the screen. Like people are reporting here, it immediately gave me serious eye strain, tightness in the eyes, foggy/light-headedness, nausea and mild headache. After a few days it got a little better, but never abated completely. It seemed like there was a very faint shimmer to the monitor -- not a flicker, but a very subtle shimmering. I had a very hard time focusing on the screen -- it felt like my eyes kept jumping around. I could barely look at the screen when scrolling. My eyes would not refocus on text when scrolling stopped. I turned down brightness, I installed f.lux to adjust the color temperature, I installed bias lighting. While it helped somewhat, the unpleasant effects never fully abated. Plus I found myself staring at a very dim yellow screen. Seems to defeat the purpose of having a $2,000 iMac.

I have absolutely no problems with other LCD monitors or screens. I have been staring at a 17-in iMac (2006 rev 4,1) for the last 7 years for hours on end 6-7 days a week, with no ill effects. I use an HP 22-inch at the office, have a 2008 13" MacBook that I use regularly, and an iPad 2 that I use all the time. No problems with any of them.

I am now back to using my 2006 iMac running OS Tiger, which is very long in the tooth. I was so looking forward to the new iMac. I will likely buy a mini when it is refreshed, hopefully within the next couple months, and start searching for a monitor that will not make me sick. I have seen some suggestions in this thread, but if anyone can point me to monitors (models, or specific characteristics -- type of backlighting, coatings, etc.) that might work for me, I would be grateful.

I wish I knew what was causing this so I would know what to avoid in a new monitor. It could be any number of things in combination or alone: the LED backlighting (the brightness, reported at 407 cd/m2, or the high blue color spectrum), the IPS, the glossy screen, the front glass being laminated to the LCD, the particular anti-glare coating that is used, the contrast ratio (reported as 904:1), the PPI (reported as 108.79). Ever since I got the new iMac and experienced the problems I have been scouring the internet for answers. I can't say I am much the wiser.
Didn't realize it was you who posted there...I just left a follow-up as well. Thanks for sharing, glad I'm not just randomly having severe issues.

Took back the iMac yesterday unfortunately. My eyes still physically hurt and I can work decently on my Air or Dell monitors but having lingering effects. I had no issues at all before I bought this machine :confused:

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Did you experience this problem out of the box?
I did, noticed it the moment I fired up the machine. Then things got worse the more I tried to use it.

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I would say it's definitely the glossy screen on the iMac. I know they are supposed to have reduced that somewhat, but having looked at it in store I thought it was still too reflective for my taste. I had symptoms like you describe when I first got my MacBook Pro. At least with that, I can tilt the screen so it doesn't pick up as much reflection. Really wish they would make a matte screen version of the iMac.
What is strange is that I didn't have the slightest issue on my 2012 or 2011 iMacs which were glossy as well. I also have my office setup so glare either from overhead lights or windows is a non-issue so I would hope that isn't the main problem, but I'm sure it's not helping.
 

tom vilsack

macrumors 68000
Nov 20, 2010
1,880
62
ladner cdn
I am now back to using my 2006 iMac running OS Tiger, which is very long in the tooth.
I have a 2006 Imac...as long as you put 2g of ram in that puppy...snow leopard runs great...


So ckeck what ya gonna do as far as a computer goes now? I know what it's like to have eye strain...it sucks! I wish apple would upgrade there mac mini's so I could buy that and still use my fav monitor.
 

dmendel

macrumors newbie
Jun 7, 2012
6
0
What is the model of the Dell Ultrasharp monitor you are using? I just checked the specs and they look very similar to imac. Perhaps they use a different antiglare coating?
 

ckeck

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 29, 2005
708
59
Texas
What is the model of the Dell Ultrasharp monitor you are using? I just checked the specs and they look very similar to imac. Perhaps they use a different antiglare coating?
I have several Dell U2412M screens that I've been using for a while now without much issue. They may indeed be similar technology but they so have a matte display and a strong AG coating. Some people even complain about the AG but I really like it.

I did notice that my eyes are much more sensitive to these screens after the iMac debacle however. I was just fine before I got that thing and now it's hard to look at almost anything. Have you experienced this by chance?

I have a few really old Dell screens around, I might need to hook one up and look at it just to test now. Not sure how/if that screen could cause permanent damage but that would be really screwed up.

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I have a 2006 Imac...as long as you put 2g of ram in that puppy...snow leopard runs great...


So ckeck what ya gonna do as far as a computer goes now? I know what it's like to have eye strain...it sucks! I wish apple would upgrade there mac mini's so I could buy that and still use my fav monitor.
Not sure yet...I'm testing another 15" RMBP but not sure how that's going to work on the eyes. Worst case I'll just have to stick with my 13" Air for now with an external monitor while at home/office. I also have my "gaming PC" which I can use for video encoding or other resource intensive tasks until I see what will happen with the iMac, etc.

Ideally I'd just pick up a Haswell Mini with a screen or two. Don't need tons of power but I'd like to keep my iTunes and iPhoto library off my Air. Can't move iPhoto to Windows but I might try shifting over iTunes in the mean time. Not a storage issue, I stream a lot of videos from iTunes to the AppleTVs in my house and sometimes I don't want to pull the Air out of the bag and plug it all in before doing that.

First world problems I know :eek:
 

dmendel

macrumors newbie
Jun 7, 2012
6
0
Thanks for the info on the monitor. I will check them out. I think Dell has an easy return policy.

I did notice that my eyes are much more sensitive to these screens after the iMac debacle however. I was just fine before I got that thing and now it's hard to look at almost anything. Have you experienced this by chance?

I have a few really old Dell screens around, I might need to hook one up and look at it just to test now. Not sure how/if that screen could cause permanent damage but that would be really screwed up.
It definitely took me a few days to readjust. I kept my screen time to a minimum. Now, I am back to normal without any problems. I worked most of the day yesterday on my iMac and felt fine. Today I'm at the office on my HP w2207 and everything is good.

I would encourage you to take a break and rest your eyes.
 

aarond12

macrumors 65816
May 20, 2002
1,095
47
Dallas, TX USA
Maybe this might have to do with the LED backlighting. I was given a new Dell monitor at work, and after I've adjusted the brightness down from supernova, I notice some flickering. It seems that Dell (and others?) flash the LEDs to reduce brightness, and my eyes are sensitive to this.

High brightness: ---------------------- (always on)
Medium brightness: --_--_--_--_--_--_ (alternates between on and off)
Low brightness: -__-__-__-__-__-__ (mostly off with flashes of on)

Anyone else sensitive to this? I also notice certain vehicles' tail lamps on dim mode do this (Volkswagen, Cadillac, Infinity, Jeep, and others).
 

dmendel

macrumors newbie
Jun 7, 2012
6
0
Maybe this might have to do with the LED backlighting. I was given a new Dell monitor at work, and after I've adjusted the brightness down from supernova, I notice some flickering. It seems that Dell (and others?) flash the LEDs to reduce brightness, and my eyes are sensitive to this.

High brightness: ---------------------- (always on)
Medium brightness: --_--_--_--_--_--_ (alternates between on and off)
Low brightness: -__-__-__-__-__-__ (mostly off with flashes of on)

Anyone else sensitive to this? I also notice certain vehicles' tail lamps on dim mode do this (Volkswagen, Cadillac, Infinity, Jeep, and others).
This is one theorty. It is called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM). There is lots of discussion about this online. However, I do not believe that iMacs control dimming with PWM. In my research on this topic I found some analysis that was done (search for it online) to measure the intensity of the PWM flicker on various monitors and the iMacs showed no flicker at very low levels of brightness. So I don't think this is the problem with the 27-inch iMacs. Something else is going on -- perhaps the AG coating that is used or the fact that the glass is adhered to the LCD -- I don't know. This is way outside my expertise. All I know is that for some people those screens are absolute torture to stare at.
 

ckeck

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 29, 2005
708
59
Texas
Thanks for the info on the monitor. I will check them out. I think Dell has an easy return policy.
That they do, and if you can somehow set up a small business account you can score some deep discounts and automatic 3-5 yr advance replacement warranties on certain items.

I would encourage you to take a break and rest your eyes.
Need to do this somehow, but unfortunately have too much work in the next few days. Hopefully later this week I can step away for a full day.
 

TheyCallMeBT

macrumors regular
Jan 9, 2013
115
14
I'm worried about making a purchase now. My eyes tend to be sensitive to this sort of thing. Do you think that it's something that-- if it was going to be an issue for me-- that I would notice while testing it out in a store?
 

obsidienne

macrumors newbie
Mar 27, 2012
2
0
Same issue as OP

I, too, find that the 27" iMac caused me serious eye strain. I bought one last week to see if it would be a good replacement for my mid-2007 17" MBP and found that my eyes felt like they wanted to crawl out of my head after fifteen minutes of use. I'd been up since three in the morning the day I picked it up, so I thought it was just my eyes being super tired. It was such an extreme feeling that I Googled it and found this thread. The next day, with more sleep under my belt, I experienced similar eye strain. Although it wasn't quite as severe, maybe thanks to having more sleep, the iMac is definitely not a screen I can stare at comfortably for hours. Turning down the brightness didn't really seem to help. I use f.lux, and that does help a little bit.

I loved the speed of the machine and the crisp screen of the iMac, and it's such a gorgeous piece of technology. It really highlighted how old and dim and slow my MBP is becoming. But I returned the iMac this afternoon. I, too, have an autoimmune condition that results in dry eyes and has the potential to cause iritis (although I've yet to experience it, knock on wood), so I'm trying to be cautious.

I'm disappointed, because I don't know where to go with Apple products after this computer dies. I can't imagine returning to Windows; I use a PC at work and it's just... ungh. The Mini doesn't have enough space or juice and I prefer all-in-one solutions for the aesthetics (clutter makes me nuts). Not going to invest in another MBP; the 15" is way too small.

Off topic, but the screen had a yellowish tint along the bottom, which helped my decision to return it.
 
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IA64

macrumors 6502
Nov 8, 2013
413
0
Hi ckeck
Your post reminded me of a thread I saw months ago and I wonder if your problem is related. Imac owners eyes going nuts with new 27 " model. I think people suggested the refresh rates or something were off. User may have even returned imac...not sure but worth a forum search?

Beautiful machine to cause you probs. best of luck getting sorted.
I can't believe I found this thread. I swear I started going nuts last night after spending hours in from of my late 2013 screen.

This machine definitely doesn't have the same 2009 screen. I can't tell what's the difference but I used to stay 12 hours in row in front of my older iMac but this one is just different.

I tried different tests to see if the refresh rate is lower of higher.

I noticed that if I turn off the lights and stare at a white background for 5 minutes at close distance ( 30 cm ) radiations or flickering whatever you want to call it are visible. Not sure about the technical word used here but if I were to describe it, the light is trembling. It's not noticeable unless you really focus.

Also when I work for an hour or two in front of my screen and go to bed, I get the illusion that my eyes are flickering when closed.

I used my late 2009 for 4 years and this never happened to me before.

I am seriously worried about this now that I found some people who experienced the same.
 

ckeck

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 29, 2005
708
59
Texas
Sorry to see that more and more seem to be experiencing these issues as well. It's certainly a shame because the iMac is such a nice machine otherwise, but there is a real issue here.

I'm still struggling with some remaining eye issues which will simply not go away and it all started from the day I powered on that 2013 iMac I tried. Been to the eye doctor four times now and not sure what to do. :(
 

kazmac

macrumors 604
Mar 24, 2010
7,779
5,351
Any place but here or there....
Great advice

Take this from a life-long expert: if you are susceptible to Iritis, you must tone the screen glare down as low as possible, while still able to read it. Also, a large screen that allows for glare coming into the sides of your eyes will only make things worse.

While on the steroids, rest your eyes as much as you can.
I had Iritis bad 22 years ago, as a result of inflammation with RA (had to stay in the dark most of the 6 weeks I was on steroids. That's how light sensitive I was.)

OldCodger is spot on. Rest your eyes as much as possible.

Thank you for the comment. I've kept things like the brightness levels very low the last week or so just in case, but it doesn't seem to make it much better. I'll plan to leave it there for a while. Also using F.lux to give the screen a warmer profile.

Definitely trying as much as work will allow to get away from the screen. Came here to post a follow-up after staying away all day, but that's tough. Just 5 days of the drops and then back for a follow-up to see if there is any initial impact. Will be testing out the glasses to see if that helps tame it down at all.
I also noticed my 2010 iMac is a lot brighter once I upgraded to Mountain Lion. It's even worse with Mavericks. When I tried to adjust the brightness MBPs and iMacs at the Apple store recently I found I could not work comfortably if the brightness was lower than 55% or so. My 2010 brightness setting is around 60% (used to 35-40% prior to ML.)

I no longer use the overhead light above my computer, I only use one placed a few feet behind me at night.

Would you consider a Mac Mini with a Monitor of your choice if this issue still persists?

I wish you luck and speedy recovery for your eyes.
 

tgrays

macrumors member
Apr 21, 2013
38
0
To the people who were/are having eye strains, this is from the 2013 iMac?

And ckeck, if I'm understanding you correctly, you had the 2012 iMac before this and didn't experience any problems?

From the way things sound, it seems to be a newer problem that didn't exist in older iMacs, but I thought the 2012 and 2013 share the same type of screen (as in they didn't change anything about it).
 

dmendel

macrumors newbie
Jun 7, 2012
6
0
To the people who were/are having eye strains, this is from the 2013 iMac?

And ckeck, if I'm understanding you correctly, you had the 2012 iMac before this and didn't experience any problems?

From the way things sound, it seems to be a newer problem that didn't exist in older iMacs, but I thought the 2012 and 2013 share the same type of screen (as in they didn't change anything about it).
Check out the apple discussion board thread I linked to in my earlier post. It could be any number of things, but likely an interaction between the monitor, the graphics card and the driver. People have bad experiences moving old monitors that gave them no problems to new Macs, or after upgrading to new OS; suddenly the screen became impossible to look at. This suggests that it is a software/graphics card issue and the way it interacts with the particular monitor. That said, this problem has been around for a couple of years now and has affected Macbook users as well as iMac users. But it is definitely a newer problem with all LED-backlit displays.

An unlikely source of the problem is PWM, since Apple displays do not control brightness that way. Some people think it may be the temporal dithering (also known as FRC), which expands the color gamut of a native 6 or 8 bit panel. This is very commonly used in LCD monitors, and very likely that Apple displays use this as well. Some think it is the color profile of LED displays (which are heavy on the blue spectrum).

On that note, I have been considering buying one of the new BenQ eye-care displays (either the EW2440 or GW2450): They are flicker free (no PWM down to 0% brightness), true 8-bit with no dithering, VA panel so there is higher contrast than with IPS, low blue light, and a max brightness that is much less than most IPS monitors (250 cd/m2 compared to 350-400). All sounds good on paper. They are also relatively inexpensive (around $200 or less).

Does anyone here have any experience with one of these BenQ displays with a 2012 Mac Mini?
 

raregrit

macrumors newbie
Nov 8, 2013
3
0
Problems with new 21.5 in iMac display

Picked up a new Haswell iMac the other day and I'm noticing a very strange problem. My eyes cannot seem to focus properly on this thing at all. I've been adjusting brightness all over the place but for years use somewhere between 40-60% depending on other lighting conditions and haven't had a problem. This is also my 3rd or 4th 27" iMac and I don't recall any significant issues with the others, including my Ivy Bridge model I sold a few months back.

I started having minor eye strain problems a few years back and picked up some Gunnar glasses which helped a bit but this is totally different. I have 20/13 vision and I can't seem to focus on this thing. My eyes physically hurt after about an hour and everything is slightly blurry, all the time. Anyone else ever come across this?

I've tried adjusting brightness even further and have also tried using F.lux which is indeed nice, but isn't helping with the eye strain. My MBA and Dell monitors in my office seem mostly fine. I think some of the issues are carrying over after looking at the iMac but my Air and the 2412M monitors are MUCH better if I spend a few minutes on them alone.

I have an eye appointment in the morning just to make sure nothing crazy is going on but I could swear it has something to do with this iMac. Any similar experiences or other things I could try would be helpful, I'd rather not have to return it and figure out a non-iMac solution (which means either a Mac Pro or an all laptop configuration).

Just to note: I've even changed up the lighting in my office which has been the same for years and there is no glare on the glass screen in it's position (no overhead lights or windows).

:confused:
Hi I have been experiencing problems using the entry level 21.5in version of the new iMac.

Firstly I noticed bad tonal colour discrepancies across the display.
Moving my head on an angle would make a black background turn brown then gold towards the corners of the display.
Whites look like they have dirty edges to them, while the edges in general seem to be slightly lighter in colour then the rest of the display.

I first noticed eyestrain in my left eye after a few days of usage (I am left eye dominant) and I didn't associate it with the iMacs display at first.

But writing this replay the display is starting to look like the whites are turning darker in places showing that it is negatively effecting my eyes looking at this display.

I too came from using an older type of display panel with no previous problems.

I am extremely concerned now about these displays, and I have complained to Apple about the screen quality, but did not mention eyestrain at the time as I was not sure then what was causing it.

My new replacement iMac arrives tomorrow but I am now wondering if I should even open it. And whether I should just immediately return it.

My eyes are now so bad I need to rest them again and go watch TV or play Xbox or something as my TV does not do this.

Update:

Today my new replacement iMac arrived, so far the display is quite different and does not hurt my eyes at all which is weird. So it looks like the previous iMac had something wrong with the display or graphics.

I have not tested the screen fully yet, but much better so far.

Before unboxing this new iMac I went to Currys and looked at the IPS monitors on display, all the ones with high glare hurt my eyes a bit.
It seems you get either more vibrant displays with more glare, or less vibrant displays with more of a matt look to them, I definitely need the later. IPS panels from AOC & HP seemed to be best for my eyes, on my staring non blinking test :)
 
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SpinalTap

macrumors regular
Sep 25, 2003
205
15
Bournville, UK
FWIW, I have 6-20 vision (amblyopia & strabismus), and normally wear Nikon multi-focal lens', but these are useless for using a computer.

One optician routinely insisted that either reading glasses or reduced prescription lens' would reduce eyestrain when using a computer. Neither of these solutions worked.

It was only when I changed opticians (Vision Express) that they recommended Sola Access lens' that were specifically manufactured for mid-distance computer viewing

They are perfect and significantly reduce eyestrain. Highly recommended.