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Can 4K TVs/Monitors Hurt Your Eyes?


When televisions were invented, no one thought people would have enough time to sit and stare at a box. Not really the situation today, is it? Televisions have become a significant source of entertainment in our households and at entertainment spots.

Televisions today are considered an essential component in completing a home’s interior and even a necessity in most homes. 

The concept of 4K has become the most popular TV resolution choice since its creation about five years ago. This technology provides a haven for people who can not help but binge-watch channels that broadcast 4K content worldwide.

Since more people are spending longer periods in front of the television, the question as to whether these entertainment boxes harm one’s eyesight has been a hot subject of debate. 

In this article, we will look at whether or not watching 4K TV hurts your eyes. We will also weigh in on the effects of higher resolution on your eyes and suggest ways to mitigate eye fatigue caused by displays. 

Are 4K monitors/TVs bad for your eyes?

black bars on a 4K movie

No, a 4K monitor or TV is not likely to cause harm to your eyes more than any other alternative display. 

The only time when a 4K monitor or TV will cause harm to your eyes is when there is improper positioning or excessive brightness, among other factors, but not because the screen has a 4K resolution.

Although display technology comes with a lot of benefits, continuous exposure to screens has been a cause of eye fatigue and has, over time, grown to become a social problem. 

Is higher resolution bad for your eyes?

A woman watching romantic film on TV

No. A higher resolution is not bad for your eyes. 

In fact, people with eye fatigue and other eye issues are advised to consider higher resolution displays. This is because higher resolutions make everything sharper, and therefore the eyes don’t have to strain to comprehend everything.

A display with a higher resolution means it has more pixels per inch (PPI). 

The more pixels, the more information is stored. This results in crisp images that are of high quality. Unfortunately, high resolution means icons and text on the screen will look smaller.

Resolution is calculated by multiplying the horizontal number of pixels by the vertical number. 

For instance, if your resolution is indicated as 1366 x 768, this means the screen has 1366 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

Here are a few rules of thumb for when looking for the right display resolution:

  • When looking for a monitor, consider a large screen of 21 inches or above with a 1920 x 1080 or more resolution. This is a full-HD screen with a resolution that can display high-definition video.
  • If you do not have budget constraints, then consider high-resolution screens. These deliver a high contrast ratio with True Tone technology that gives vibrant whites and deeper blacks. They are also more friendly to your eyes. 

5 ways to address eye fatigue caused by displays

A man enjoys watching TV

Long hours of exposure to television screens may affect eyesight. Eye fatigue is a common issue that affects thousands of TV addicts. Eye fatigue occurs because of focusing on a small, bright image, especially in a dark room.

The darkroom forces your iris to open wider to let more light in and thus fails to close as much as it is required. This causes a strain in the eye which results in eye fatigue.

In the section below, we have put together some measures you can take in the future to address eye fatigue. Make sure to read before you sit down to watch your favorite movie.

1. Adequate lighting and ambiance

Two kids watching TV

Watching TV in a dark room should be avoided. When you watch a bright TV in a dark room, your pupils dilate to allow more light to penetrate your eyes easily. 

The glare may overwhelm parts of your retina and cause eye fatigue resulting in an itchy feeling.

To prevent this, reduce the amount of light hitting your retina. Adjust the light output of your TV downwards or increase your room’s lighting by turning on the main light or introducing a lamp to match the brightness from the TV.

2. Break free

A woman streching

Even with the proper lighting and comfortable posture, sitting for extended periods glued to the TV is not good for your eyes. The constant staring at the TV causes a decline in the ability of your eyes to focus.

The thought of taking a break in the middle of a pulsating movie may seem impossible, but for the good of your eyes, it is worth it. 

Take a break of 10-15 minutes at least once every hour. Move your eyes up and down and look into the distance to adjust your focus. This will keep your eyes muscles fit and ease any eye fatigue.

Stand up, stretch and walk around to relieve any tension build-up. During this break, you can also use eye drops for freshness. Avoid looking at any other displays such as smartphones or tablets during this period.

If you know for sure you will not remember to take breaks, a clever trick is to use the timer function available in most of our televisions today to prompt you when it is time to break free.

3. Distance

A woman streaming film in the hotel

With many homes having large 4K TVs, distance becomes very important in preventing strain that may lead to eye fatigue. When you sit close to a large screen, the field of vision is compromised.

The distance between you and the TV display should be between 1.5 to 2.5 times the diagonal measurement of your screen. 

Below is a table with recommended distances based on your screen size:

Screen SizeRecommended Range
26”1.0 m – 1.7 m
32”1.2 m – 2.0 m
40”1.5 m – 2.5 m
46”1.7 m – 2.9 m
50”1.9 m – 3.2 m
52”2.0 m – 3.3 m
58”2.2 m – 3.7 m
70”7 m – 4.5 m

However, it would help if you considered other factors such as text size and your eyesight (short-sighted or long-sighted eyesight)  when positioning yourself in front of the TV. 

Adjust your spacing to achieve better comfort and eliminate eye fatigue if you feel too close to your display.

Here is a trick that you can use to check whether you are positioned at the proper distance from your TV display;

  • Hold up an A4-sized sheet of paper longways between you and the screen.
  • Check to see if there is enough room for the sheet of paper to fit.
  • If the size of the sheet of paper held is smaller than your screen, then you are sitting too close, and you may need to adjust your position backward.
  • If the size of the held A4 sheet of paper is too big compared to your screen, then you are seated far away, and you should move closer to avoid straining your eyes.
  • Where the A4 sheet of paper size fits your screen size, you are safe.

Once you have established the proper distance from the display, your line of sight should be slightly downward or directly ahead when viewing the screen. 

Avoid situations where you are looking up at the screen because that can also cause eye fatigue.

4. TV glasses

Pros of Dumb TVs

Glare from the sunshine or the lighting within the room may cause something resembling sunlight hitting your screen. This can throw off your focus, make it hard for you to see, and cause eye fatigue.

Television glasses that come with an antireflection coating improve visual comfort and reduce eye strain. These are especially helpful if you normally wear contact lenses. 

5. Blink more often

A woman wearing glasses watching TV

Blinking is important while watching TV. More so if staring at the screens for long periods. Blinking tends to moisten eyes to prevent dryness which contributes to eye fatigue.

Conclusion

A couple watching TV at night

4K televisions have grown in popularity for several reasons. Some of us use them as monitors in our lines of work while others just can’t get enough game time, thanks to their reputation to deliver high-quality videos and pictures.

Either way, the more time you spend in front of a display, the more crucial it is that it is designed in a way that takes good care of your wellbeing, more so your eyes.

Eye fatigue is a problem that can be prevented. You only need to play your part by taking measures even as you enjoy the quality of display delivered by 4K TVs.


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