Barry Marks of the Kindle Korner List, a long-time ebook fan and TeleRead commenter, has just shared a few tips for eyestrain reduction.

Among other things, he says his Galaxy S5 with a high-definition AMOLED screen lets him “read about twice as long without a break” as LCD phones do. But what else can ebook-lovers do? Here are 11 tips—some familiar to you possibly, others maybe not. So keep reading. These ideas work for me. I myself can read ebooks without interruption for just as long as I can paper ones. Let us know your own experiences with the tips below.

  1. Keep in mind your environment. Eyestrain may be less of a problem if you’re reading in a bright room. Position your phone, tablet, or dedicated ereader to avoid glare from the lighting.
  2. Consider the use of a frontlit E Ink reader, like the most Kindle models or the Kobos, so the light from the screen isn’t glaring directly at you. Instead, the rays from the front lights bounce off the screen just as they would off paper. Yes, this is old stuff for TeleRead regulars. But it might not be for your friends who badmouth ebooks without familiarity with all the options. Educate ’em!
  3. Realize that not all front lighting is the same. The Kobo Aura One and the new Kobo Aura H20 let you vary the color to filter out blue rays—which, in addition to causing eyestrain, can interfere with sleep if you’re reading just before bedtime.
  4. Experiment with boldface. It won’t just make text more readable for many people on E Ink machines, it will also allow you to crank down the backlighting or front lighting. Along the way, you’ll save battery life.  Recent Kindles offer a boldface font, and Kobos even let you vary the extent of bold on different phones. iPhones and iPads provide for bold within certain apps by way of the San Francisco font. On Android phones, you can select bold within the Kindle app. If you’re reading a book on your laptop or desktop with a Chrome browser, consider the High Contrast plugin, which not only can bold text but also invert colors. Just the ticket for white on black, if that’s what you like.
  5. If you own a recent iPhone or iPad or Mac, try the Night Shift option, which filters out blue light. The just-linked page points you to the instructions.
  6. If you use an Android tablet or phone, think about the Twilight app. Android, Mac, Windows, and Linux users may benefit from f.lux. F.lux works great on my Windows desktop. I use it not just for reading but also for writing, and I can easily turn it on and off from the icon in my taskbar at the bottom of my screen.
  7. If you own an Amazon Fire tablet, use the Blue Shade feature.
  8. iPads, iPhones, and some other devices can automatically compensate for different levels of ambient light—try this! In fact, my iPad Pro can even factor in the tone of the light for better contrast via True Tone. Often during the day, not just at night, I simultaneously use Night Shift with the automatic adjusters for ambient light level and color tone.
  9. Keep in mind the bottom line. It’s not to make your ebooks look like paper. It’s to be as comfortable as possible while getting the most out of them in every respect. So don’t be shy about weird screen colors.
  10. Consult with an ophthalmologist or optician about the possibility of glasses to filter out blue light.
  11. If all else fails, take breaks and try blinking.

So those are Barry’s thoughts and mine on eyestrain issues. What are your own?

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