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Why dark mode isn’t necessarily good for your eyes

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From smartphones to tablets to computers, dark mode is everywhere. It is often favored by users for its many benefits. On the other hand, we talk a little less about the negative effects it can have on our vision.

Dark mode is used by many people, especially on PCs and smartphones. For example, it limits glare and reduces the blue light emitted by our screens. But in some cases, it can cause some vision problems… We take stock.

What is Dark Mode?

Let’s start with the basics by recalling what dark mode is. This is a parameter available from the software interface of PCs, smartphones, tablets, etc. It allows you to invert the colors. Once the dark mode is activated, the white background on which the dark texts and icons stand out gives way to a black background with lighter texts and icons.

All modern products are equipped with it. Depending on the device, this dark mode may have different demonization, but the principle remains the same. It has become more popular with the arrival of OLED screens, for a reason that we will mention a little below.

An IBM 5150 PC from 1981 – © IBM / Wikipedia

Dark mode is nothing new. Indeed, it was the standard when the first personal computers were released. The latter had monitors using phosphor which gave the screen its dark color. The electrons ignited the phosphor when the keys on the keyboard were pressed. Items that appeared on the screen were often displayed in green.

Why use dark mode?

It’s not an urban legend, dark mode has many advantages. The best known is undoubtedly that it allows you to extend the autonomy of your devices equipped with OLED screens.

Indeed, this technology has the particularity of turning off the pixels to display the color black. These are all elements that are not backlit and do not consume energy. A feature used by smartphone manufacturers to offer the mode Always On which has been around for years and which has recently landed on the iPhone 14 Pro.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max has an always-on screen.WF News – Thomas Remilleret – The iPhone 14 Pro Max has an always-on screen.

The other advantage, we have already mentioned, is that it reduces the glare that can be caused by the light mode, especially when you are in a dark environment. You can also manually reduce the screen brightness according to your feelings.

It also reduces exposure to blue light which prevents us from falling asleep quickly when we look at screens before going to bed. Blue light would also cause problems related to eye fatigue such as dry eyes or blurred vision.

Whether you choose light mode or dark mode, you can improve your protection against blue light by using the dedicated functions on your devices, such as “eye comfort” mode. A denomination that also changes according to the devices.

When is dark mode not recommended?

Without minimizing the advantages we have just mentioned, the dark mode is not a silver bullet either. Indeed, it forces your pupils to dilate. Your vision then becomes less clear, which can make focusing on the screen more difficult. On the contrary, your pupils constrict when you look at bright light, which has the effect of sharpening your vision.

Thus, some people find it difficult to see details well when using a dark screen. If you are nearsighted or astigmatic, dark mode can also cause a light halo impression which causes a blurring effect. This can result in white text that tends to “bleed”, making it harder to read.

If you recognize yourself in some of these problems, the best option for you is still to leave the light mode on, while lowering the brightness of the screen and activating the option to filter out blue light.

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