The jury is still out on this one. The act of reading from a screen (or from paper for that matter) is not in and of itself bad for your eyes. What does cause strain is not blinking for extended periods of time and continually focusing at a single distance. So for eye health, it is important to readjust your focus and blink (!) while reading from whatever medium.
It’s hard to say, under certain situations everything strains the eyes. E-ink is great – especially outdoors. But in darkness it will hurt your eyes more as it does not emit light. It is also claimed that in some situations, a normal paper isn’t perfect either, and can provide an inferior reading experience than a digital display.
The main differences from reading on the screen vs. reading from paper is the light source. When we read from paper, light is reflected from the surface of the paper. When we read from the monitor, the light comes directly from the monitor and it’s the glare from the monitor that causes discomfort. A few ways to mitigate this negative effect is to get an anti-glare screen for your monitor or simply adjust the light on your screen or the light in the room to be at similar levels. Another problem with reading from the screen is that we tend to blink less often, which causes dryness.
Still, I think the main problem is the amount of time we spend staring at a screen. Many of us have our eyes focused on a computer screen all day at work, and then spend a couple of hours on our home computers. I imagine reading a printed book for 10 hours or more each day wouldn’t make our eyes too happy either!
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