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New OLED TV causes eye strain and headache

randomdiatribe

Novice Member
If anyone could help me with this it would be great. It seems that new technology in screens causes me eye strain, headaches and nausea.

I first noticed this when I had to replace my laptop. My previous Dell model caused me no problems, yet I tried two new ones in 2018 and after about 45 minutes of using both my eyes were in agony. The new one was a Dell Inspiron gaming laptop advertised as having an LED screen, whereas my old one which caused me no problems was LCD. In the end I bought an older, cheaper laptop, and all was fine.

The next time I noticed problems with a screen was when I purchased the latest iPad Pro in September 2018 as a gift for a family member. The screen on this was advertised as being "10.5-inch Retina display with ProMotion, True Tone and wide colour". Any time I tried to use it, I got the same symptoms as with the new laptop. Not an issue really as it belonged to someone else.

Now the real problem. We decided to upgrade our TV, going for the Sony AG8 55 inch with OLED screen. I can't even tolerate being in the same room as it, let alone watching the thing. Whenever it's on, the whole room appears hazy and nauseating. Even when I make a point of looking away, I get eye strain and headaches when I spend more than an hour in there. I tried turning the brightness and contrast down, to no avail. Factory settings had both on max.

I should note that I work with computers all day. On "older" screens in my home, which would include 4 TVs, 3 tablets, 4 laptops/computers and several phones, I'd have no problem looking at them for several hours at a time.

I don't know why these new screens are so intolerable to me. My fear is that pretty soon it's going to become a staple in all mid-range and higher technology, which is probably already happening if they're putting unsuitable monitors on £500 iPads.
 

thedoswells

Well-known Member
If anyone could help me with this it would be great. It seems that new technology in screens causes me eye strain, headaches and nausea.

I first noticed this when I had to replace my laptop. My previous Dell model caused me no problems, yet I tried two new ones in 2018 and after about 45 minutes of using both my eyes were in agony. The new one was a Dell Inspiron gaming laptop advertised as having an LED screen, whereas my old one which caused me no problems was LCD. In the end I bought an older, cheaper laptop, and all was fine.

The next time I noticed problems with a screen was when I purchased the latest iPad Pro in September 2018 as a gift for a family member. The screen on this was advertised as being "10.5-inch Retina display with ProMotion, True Tone and wide colour". Any time I tried to use it, I got the same symptoms as with the new laptop. Not an issue really as it belonged to someone else.

Now the real problem. We decided to upgrade our TV, going for the Sony AG8 55 inch with OLED screen. I can't even tolerate being in the same room as it, let alone watching the thing. Whenever it's on, the whole room appears hazy and nauseating. Even when I make a point of looking away, I get eye strain and headaches when I spend more than an hour in there. I tried turning the brightness and contrast down, to no avail. Factory settings had both on max.

I should note that I work with computers all day. On "older" screens in my home, which would include 4 TVs, 3 tablets, 4 laptops/computers and several phones, I'd have no problem looking at them for several hours at a time.

I don't know why these new screens are so intolerable to me. My fear is that pretty soon it's going to become a staple in all mid-range and higher technology, which is probably already happening if they're putting unsuitable monitors on £500 iPads.
first of all, sorry to hear about these issues. Sounds awful for you. Can I ask what picture mode the tv is set to?
 

next010

Distinguished Member
The usual cause of eye strain on LCD/LED displays is PWM but many displays no longer feature this and OLED does not use it either. Perhaps it is some rare kind of sensitivity in how the backlight is managed.

The iPad Pro is an IPS type LCD quite different from the OLED so that both cause problems is unusual.

rtings states about the A8G

The TV does not use PWM, so there is no noticeable flicker, but it is not flicker-free, as there a slight decrease in brightness every ~8ms, due to the TV's refresh cycle. This should not be noticeable.
Make sure motionflow is disabled on the A8G as this has a BFI (black frame insertion) mode that causes flicker.

Not sure what on the iPad is causing the headaches, try dropping the brightness down to its lowest level in iOS settings and see what happens.
 

5to1

Well-known Member
Backlighting... works wonder
Yep, or drop the brightness/OLED light down.

I used to get similar when I was using my laptop with the screen too bright. Especially in the evening with the lights off because Mrs is asleep or watching a film. My eyes were essentially becoming fatigued from constantly contracting/relaxing due to big differences in light levels. It was akin to shining a torch at my eyes then constantly moving it away. I'd get some blurry vision followed by headaches if I didnt stop.

Dropping screen brightness significantly (it didnt need to be that bright) or adding some ambient light helped.

I dont get it so much watching TV with the lights off, but I'm sitting further away and don't have the TV too bright in the evening. And I'm not focussing as much or using it for as long with the lights off.

Ofcourse OP's issue may be different, but this is quite commonly the cause, so try ambient light or lowering brightness.
 

tigertimtim

Well-known Member
get some of them anti glare type glasses for computer use and turn oled light down to around 25 for night time viewing
 

randomdiatribe

Novice Member
Thanks folks for all the responses. I turned down brightness significantly a couple of days ago, because it had been at max beforehand. It hasn't really helped. I tried turning off motionflow tonight and again no joy.

I can't fault the picture on the TV at all, it looks so clear. That was the thing about the new laptop I got which was unsuitable, the quality of the picture was so much superior to the one I'd had prior. Tonight I've been sitting in the room where the TV is for about an hour, motionflow off and brightness 25 out of 50, and my head is already throbbing. And this isn't even from watching the television continuously, I'm typing on my laptop and taking an occasional glance up at it. Even if I make a point of consciously facing the opposite direction from the television, I still feel unwell. It's like the room is full of light with which I'm completely unfamiliar, and makes me unwell.

It's baffling because I don't know what to do next. There has to be a common theme between the iPad, laptops and this TV, which wasn't present in literally any screen which I encountered from 2017 and prior. I tried everything with the laptops before sending them back (screen colour filters, brightness and contrast to minimum, reducing flicker rate etc) and it didn't help. It's particularly upsetting because there's no possible way I could have known whether or not a TV would be suitable for my home from looking at it in the shop, laid out in a row surrounded by 50 other similar televisions.
 

next010

Distinguished Member
It's baffling because I don't know what to do next. There has to be a common theme between the iPad, laptops and this TV, which wasn't present in literally any screen which I encountered from 2017 and prior. I tried everything with the laptops before sending them back (screen colour filters, brightness and contrast to minimum, reducing flicker rate etc) and it didn't help. It's particularly upsetting because there's no possible way I could have known whether or not a TV would be suitable for my home from looking at it in the shop, laid out in a row surrounded by 50 other similar televisions.
Only other thing I can suggest is try contacting the guy who runs TFT Central either via twitter or the forum on his site, he knows better the fundamental inner workings of displays and might be able to tell you what is the root cause of this.
 

SOUNDVISION

Active Member
Maybe you need your eyes tested, might need glasses
Headaches usually when eyes are getting strained so I would go to opticians, eye drops help too
 

Andy98765

Distinguished Member
I would strongly suggest an eye test. I used to suffer with computer screens, I had glasses for reading, but what I got in the end is what they used to call computer glasses, They were a varifocal for basic reading and looking at screens, I still do not need glasses for distance like TV's through. A huge amount of people do not realise they need glasses till they have been tested.
 

aoaaron

Well-known Member
If you struggle with eye strain, it could just be that you'd be better served with a different technology.

I rarely suffer from eyestrain but if I do, it's always my Panasonic 902B TV, mostly in HDR mode but it can be with SDR content too.

I find the only technology which has never given me eye strain is a projector. Its simply the most comfortable way for my eyes to watch something, I could watch it all day. I suggest you see if you can measure up and accomdate one as it seems your eyes are just a bit sensitive.

The advice to go to an optician isn't a bad one if your prescrption is off, but sadly some people just don't have the highest tolerance to screens.
 

Ron Hilditch

Active Member
Thanks folks for all the responses. I turned down brightness significantly a couple of days ago, because it had been at max beforehand. It hasn't really helped. I tried turning off motionflow tonight and again no joy.

I can't fault the picture on the TV at all, it looks so clear. That was the thing about the new laptop I got which was unsuitable, the quality of the picture was so much superior to the one I'd had prior. Tonight I've been sitting in the room where the TV is for about an hour, motionflow off and brightness 25 out of 50, and my head is already throbbing. And this isn't even from watching the television continuously, I'm typing on my laptop and taking an occasional glance up at it. Even if I make a point of consciously facing the opposite direction from the television, I still feel unwell. It's like the room is full of light with which I'm completely unfamiliar, and makes me unwell.

It's baffling because I don't know what to do next. There has to be a common theme between the iPad, laptops and this TV, which wasn't present in literally any screen which I encountered from 2017 and prior. I tried everything with the laptops before sending them back (screen colour filters, brightness and contrast to minimum, reducing flicker rate etc) and it didn't help. It's particularly upsetting because there's no possible way I could have known whether or not a TV would be suitable for my home from looking at it in the shop, laid out in a row surrounded by 50 other similar televisions.
It could be the refresh rate, which is faster on modern sets. The refresh rate on older sets is likely to be 50Hz. You said it affects you just being in the room not facing the TV. The flickering light would be reflected off the room's other surfaces and visible.
 

mikecorp

Member
as Ron said, it has something to do with refresh rate and fps. My brother has that problem, he has complete motion sickness, nausea and even felling to vomit. Once the oled starts panning around aprox 60fps he is done.
 

Jim Di Griz

Distinguished Member
It would be a nightmare I would imagine but maybe try going to a big showroom with loads of TV's and try and see which ones don't cause the problem and then obviously go for one of those?
 

Ron Hilditch

Active Member
The only thing I can think of is, look for a Pioneer Plasma set, second hand. A friend has had one for many years and the picture is stil up to scratch. If you go for a modern set with a 50Hz refresh rate, the picture is going to be pretty basic. That's if you can find one with a 50Hz refresh rate?
This may sound daft! Try putting a lamp with an energy saving lamp in it, near to the TV. Energy saving lamps are low pressure Mercury vapour lamps. Although an old fashioned fluorescent lamp would be better. They flicker at a different rate than any TV. Different flicker rates tend to cancel each other out!
 

toodeep

Well-known Member
I think that it would be useful for the OP to state what their previous TV was that didn't cause nausea, etc.. PWM is a well known culprit and my guess is that previous set was a LCD with a compact fluorescent bulb rather than strobing LEDs.
 

anotherhoward

Novice Member
Ron here puts me in mind of this: could there be interaction between screen refresh (or partial flickering) and the cycling of household LED or CFL lighting at a slightly different frequency in the same room? The brain can derive a low difference frequency from what would otherwise be innocuous. Photic drive, I think it is called.
 

Ron Hilditch

Active Member
Ron here puts me in mind of this: could there be interaction between screen refresh (or partial flickering) and the cycling of household LED or CFL lighting at a slightly different frequency in the same room? The brain can derive a low difference frequency from what would otherwise be innocuous. Photic drive, I think it is called.
Whenever we installed large scale fluorescent lighting systems, in offices and factories. Each adjacent row of luminaries was connected to a different phase. Obviously repeated every three rows. Each row flickering at a slightly different time. It was essential for two reasons. The flickering illumination could have induced an epileptic seizure in some people and to nullify the stroboscopic effect of this type of luminaire.
 

anotherhoward

Novice Member
Ah, okay Ron. Yes, a phase delay so the 'gaps' get filled in. Ingenious. Must have been difficult to wire up!
When there's co-location of video equipment and mains lighting, the very low difference frequencies that may disrupt the brain will vary according to the mains frequency. That does fluctuate according to national load (at least in UK) whereas TV and video remain crystal controlled. Just another challenge!
It's good that LED lamps with integral psu often have a very high refresh rate (maybe even DC fed?) where once they were very raw indeed - 25 or 50 Hz, or 30/60 outside UK. Really strobey, those, and a poor light for work involving rotating machines.
 

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