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Reading on LCD vs e-Ink displays: effects on fatigue and visual strain.

Abstract

PURPOSE

Most recently light and mobile reading devices with high display resolutions have become popular and they may open new possibilities for reading applications in education, business and the private sector. The ability to adapt font size may also open new reading opportunities for people with impaired or low vision. Based on their display technology two major groups of reading devices can be distinguished. One type, predominantly found in dedicated e-book readers, uses electronic paper also known as e-Ink. Other devices, mostly multifunction tablet-PCs, are equipped with backlit LCD displays. While it has long been accepted that reading on electronic displays is slow and associated with visual fatigue, this new generation is explicitly promoted for reading. Since research has shown that, compared to reading on electronic displays, reading on paper is faster and requires fewer fixations per line, one would expect differential effects when comparing reading behaviour on e-Ink and LCD. In the present study we therefore compared experimentally how these two display types are suited for reading over an extended period of time.

METHODS

Participants read for several hours on either e-Ink or LCD, and different measures of reading behaviour and visual strain were regularly recorded. These dependent measures included subjective (visual) fatigue, a letter search task, reading speed, oculomotor behaviour and the pupillary light reflex.

RESULTS

Results suggested that reading on the two display types is very similar in terms of both subjective and objective measures.

CONCLUSIONS

It is not the technology itself, but rather the image quality that seems crucial for reading. Compared to the visual display units used in the previous few decades, these more recent electronic displays allow for good and comfortable reading, even for extended periods of time.

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  • Publisher Full Text
  • Authors+Show Affiliations

    ,

    Institute for Research in Open-, Distance- and eLearning, Swiss Distance University of Applied Sciences, Brig, Switzerland. eva.siegenthaler@ffhs.ch

    , ,

    Source

    MeSH

    Adult
    Asthenopia
    Data Display
    Fixation, Ocular
    Humans
    Liquid Crystals
    Male
    Microcomputers
    Middle Aged
    Pupil
    Reading
    Surveys and Questionnaires
    Task Performance and Analysis
    Vision Disorders
    Young Adult

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article
    Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    22762257

    Citation

    TY - JOUR T1 - Reading on LCD vs e-Ink displays: effects on fatigue and visual strain. AU - Siegenthaler,Eva, AU - Bochud,Yves, AU - Bergamin,Per, AU - Wurtz,Pascal, Y1 - 2012/07/04/ PY - 2012/7/6/entrez PY - 2012/7/6/pubmed PY - 2012/12/10/medline SP - 367 EP - 74 JF - Ophthalmic & physiological optics : the journal of the British College of Ophthalmic Opticians (Optometrists) JO - Ophthalmic Physiol Opt VL - 32 IS - 5 N2 - PURPOSE: Most recently light and mobile reading devices with high display resolutions have become popular and they may open new possibilities for reading applications in education, business and the private sector. The ability to adapt font size may also open new reading opportunities for people with impaired or low vision. Based on their display technology two major groups of reading devices can be distinguished. One type, predominantly found in dedicated e-book readers, uses electronic paper also known as e-Ink. Other devices, mostly multifunction tablet-PCs, are equipped with backlit LCD displays. While it has long been accepted that reading on electronic displays is slow and associated with visual fatigue, this new generation is explicitly promoted for reading. Since research has shown that, compared to reading on electronic displays, reading on paper is faster and requires fewer fixations per line, one would expect differential effects when comparing reading behaviour on e-Ink and LCD. In the present study we therefore compared experimentally how these two display types are suited for reading over an extended period of time. METHODS: Participants read for several hours on either e-Ink or LCD, and different measures of reading behaviour and visual strain were regularly recorded. These dependent measures included subjective (visual) fatigue, a letter search task, reading speed, oculomotor behaviour and the pupillary light reflex. RESULTS: Results suggested that reading on the two display types is very similar in terms of both subjective and objective measures. CONCLUSIONS: It is not the technology itself, but rather the image quality that seems crucial for reading. Compared to the visual display units used in the previous few decades, these more recent electronic displays allow for good and comfortable reading, even for extended periods of time. SN - 1475-1313 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/22762257/full_citation/Reading_on_LCD_vs_e_Ink_displays:_effects_on_fatigue_and_visual_strain_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-1313.2012.00928.x ER -