There’s no doubting the convenience of e-books. On one thin tablet, you can have access to hundreds of books. They take up way less space in your bag, and they eliminate the issue of where to store all your books. Instead of an overcrowded bookshelf, all your books exist on a SIM card.
Of course, books can sometimes suck you in, and before you know it, you’ve been staring at the screen for hours. While reading is great, staring at a blue-lit electronic screen isn’t. The strain it puts on your eyes can cause headaches, dry eyes, double vision, and countless other issues. But with all the different types of e-readers and tablets out there, shouldn’t there at least be one that’s safe for your eyes?
Not all e-readers are made the same. Some, such as the Nook and Kindle, are made specifically for reading. Some people, however, prefer to use a tablet such as the iPad and download an app to read books. Buying a tablet over an e-reader can seem like the more convenient option since you can read and also download all the other apps tablets have to offer. However, since iPads are not made for the sole purpose of reading, their screens are made differently than e-readers.
Tablets use LCD screens, the same type of screens our computers and phones have. While the LCD screen’s brightness, wide range of colors, and fast refresh rate make it great for viewing pictures and watching videos, these features have drawbacks when it comes to reading. In bright light, especially sunlight, reflective LCD screens give off a glare, and you may not be able to see words very well. Furthermore, LCD screens are backlit with a blue light, and it’s the blue light which gives you those dry eyes and headaches associated with digital eye strain.
E-readers such as the Nook and Kindle use a type of display called e-ink. The screen is black and white and isn’t reflective, so while you miss the brightness and vivid colors of a tablet, you don’t get glare in bright light. Instead of a backlight, these screens use what’s called an integrated light- a small light projected onto the front of the screen. So instead of a light reflecting out at you, the light is reflecting onto the screen. This makes it possible to see the screen in both light and dark settings. And, if you plan on reading in bed, you won’t have to worry about the screen’s light making you feel too awake, as it’s not very bright. The best part of e-ink screens? There’s no blue light, which means no eye strain.
Reading is a great activity, but not when it becomes damaging to your eyes. While it may seem convenient to have both your books and your Instagram all on one tablet, in the long run, the damage it may do to your eyes isn’t worth it. Instead, opt for an e-reader with an e-ink display. Not only is it better for your eyes, but it also makes for a much more enjoyable reading experience.