Eye pain may actually be your TV’s fault. Here’s what you can do about it

Your HDR Television could be the cause of your eye discomfort if you happen to

Your HDR Television could be the cause of your eye discomfort if you happen to be watching it in the darkish. 


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Nearly all modern televisions are suitable with significant dynamic assortment video. Whilst that won’t suggest they all complete the identical, several HDR TVs are brighter than their more mature, non-HDR counterparts and innovations like mini-LED make them even brighter. Some of the brightest TVs we’ve reviewed are also some of the very best TVs, including the Samsung QN90A, the TCL 6-Series and the eye-watering Hisense U8G. Their shiny, colorful images are a surprise to behold. Brighter isn’t going to necessarily suggest far better, but it can make the TVs simpler to watch in a brilliant area and it will make the highlights of HDR really pop. 

Higher-high quality motion pictures and Tv exhibits are best savored in a darkish area, nevertheless, to minimize reflections and assist raise distinction. And with the lights down very low, the severe brightness of numerous of these TVs can trigger eye exhaustion and in some conditions even irritate your eyes.

There are a handful of things you can do about this, but it is not fairly as straightforward to deal with as you may well envision.

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What is HDR and why is brightness an “concern”?

Higher dynamic range, or HDR, is the newest Television tech. It truly is out there on PlayStation and Xbox game consoles and streaming companies including Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video clip and Hulu. Virtually TVs and streaming devices that have 4K resolution also cope with HDR. Mid- and increased-stop TVs provide substantially much more brightness when looking at HDR content. For example, the solar or a streetlight will be noticeably brighter than the encompassing scene. This is great, as it will make an impression that actually pops in a reasonable way.

Nevertheless, if you are observing Tv set in a dim space, which we remarkably endorse for any higher-high quality movie working experience, these scorching highlights may seem way too vivid, producing your eyes to come to be sore or scratchy. If you’ve got at any time stared at your cellular phone in a darkish room, you have probably expert this.

I place “concern” in prices for this portion since the exact exact matter can occur with non-HDR content. Any Television set that’s as well shiny in a dark space can induce eyestrain. Modern TVs are so a great deal brighter than more mature TVs that even at decreased backlight settings they can nonetheless be eye-searingly bright.

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The highlights of HDR information on HDR TVs are a great deal brighter than “ordinary” regular dynamic vary TVs (Graphic for illustrative purposes only. Real HDR on an HDR Television set will be physically brighter).


Dolby/Geoff Morrison

Why your Tv set might be hurting your eyes

An individual shining a flashlight in your eyes at evening is frustrating, suitable? But standing in a place with the lights on just isn’t. Your eye adjusts to the common volume of mild hitting your retina. A dark space with a shiny Television is however, on typical, dim. So your iris is wide open. But the sections of your retina getting strike by the light from the Tv are confused. They get fatigued, resulting in the fatigued, scratchy emotion. 

In general, the way to avoid this is decreasing the regular amount of money of light-weight hitting your retina. You can do this by turning down the all round mild output of the Tv, or, counterintuitively, increasing the mild in the home.

How to view Television set without the need of the distressing eye strain 

1. Get a greater Television set, or sit closer.

Want an justification to get a bigger Tv set? This is a great one particular. 

A small, vivid object in a dark place confuses your eye. The “ordinary” amount of light is low, your irises open up up, and the bright “pinpoint” of gentle strains aspect of your retinas. A more substantial Television set, or sitting down nearer to your existing Television set, will fill a bigger proportion of your field of perspective. With additional of your eye stuffed with mild, your irises will agreement, so a lot less light-weight all round is hitting your retinas. Frequently this will imply less eye exhaustion. 

Individually I am a admirer of projectors, which create even bigger visuals and aren’t as vibrant as TVs. Way easier on the eyes.

2. Turn down the TV’s gentle output.

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Modifying the backlight can assistance, though not always.


Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

However the obvious alternative, this is just not always the most excellent. Quite a few TVs routinely set their backlights to greatest to exhibit HDR information. Turning the backlight down (or turning down OLED Light-weight on an OLED Television set), can effects how the Tv set shows HDR material. It’s feasible the impression may well seem odd. How odd is difficult to say — it will rely on the Tv set. 

This isn’t really the exact same as the Contrast or Brightness controls. These controls ordinarily have nothing to do with how vibrant a Television set is. 

Study more: Want far better Tv set? Transform these 9 Tv photograph options currently (you will thank us later)

Most HDR-capable TVs will have many HDR presets. These may possibly be evident in the photo options menu, and they could possibly not be. These could be labeled, for example, Dolby Eyesight Vibrant and Dolby Eyesight Reference, or HDR Bright and HDR Normal. In these conditions, Vivid would be intended for brighter rooms, though Reference/Typical is improved for dark rooms.

Your Television could possibly not have these modes, or the lower setting could possibly however be as well vivid. If so, there are other fixes.

3. Add a strategically put lamp.

Turning a light-weight on is a further option, but of system, this can create reflections (or even worse, be a distraction in your eyeline). Once again, you could not care about either of these two disadvantages, but I am hoping to enable you find the most excellent remedy for your setup.

Perfect lamp placement is somewhere not in your eyeline to the Television, and not someplace it causes a reflection. This might have to be somewhere out of the everyday, like driving a sofa.

Dimmable recessed ceiling lights may possibly work way too, but of system, it is dependent if they result in reflections on the Tv. A Tv set mount you can move or pivot could possibly assist with reflections, also.

The position is, including more gentle to the home raises the “ordinary” amount of light-weight in the space, earning your irises close a bit, letting much less light in, and most likely producing significantly less eye exhaustion.

4. Include a bias light.

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A bias mild, like this laptop shown over, is a neutral-white gentle that brightens up the home a tiny. 


Taylor Martin/CNET

One step more than a lamp is a bias gentle. These neutral-white lights increase a bit of gentle to the room, they never negatively effect the image on the Television set, and they reduce eye pressure.

The coloration is important simply because whatever shade the lights are, that coloration is “subtracted” by your brain from the color you see on monitor. So if you have a blue light-weight powering the Television, the Television set will glance pink. The appropriate color for bias lights is a neutral white as close to the D6500 colour temperature normal as attainable.

Base line

This is just not a new situation. TVs have prolonged been significantly brighter than vital for the average room. HDR does potentially make the dilemma worse, considering that they are, on the entire, a lot brighter than more mature, “SDR” TVs. If you experience eyestrain with HDR or other content, with any luck , our fixes can aid.

Take note (9/2021): This write-up was to start with published in 2017 but has been current with new one-way links and facts.


As effectively as masking Television set and other screen tech, Geoff does photo excursions of cool museums and areas all over the entire world, including nuclear submarines, massive aircraft carriers, medieval castles, airplane graveyards and additional. 

You can observe his exploits on Instagram and his vacation video collection on YouTube. He also wrote a bestselling sci-fi novel about metropolis-sized submarines, along with a sequel