Can Reading a Kindle Give You a Headache? (The Facts With Studies)

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Curling up with something nice to read so entertain you for hours. With thousands of books in an easy-to-carry device, Kindles have made reading anywhere convenient for anyone and everyone. But is reading your Kindle giving you headaches?

Reading a Kindle may give some people a headache because reading puts a lot of strain on the eye muscles as they constantly move and re-align when reading, especially if the eye muscles have become weak or due to pre-existing stress. However Kindles use e-ink a paper technology that mimics ink on a page causing the same stress on the eye as normal ink.

Reading for long periods can cause headaches regardless of how you are reading, see this study by the headache journal.

It doesn’t matter if you use a Kindle, a printed book, or even something with a liquid crystal display (LCD) like a smartphone or computer, although on devices without e-ink technology the eye strain will be worse.

If your using an E-ink Kindle it is not necessarily the root cause of the headache.

Read on to determine whether Kindles give you headaches, if Kindles are better for headaches than books, why reading gives you headaches, and what you can do to prevent headaches after reading.

Your Kindle is good but how about making it even better? Whether your looking for a new case, a stand or a stylish cover Amazon have the best selection of Kindle add-ones. Make your Kindle your own for an even better reading experience , take a look at your best options here.

Do Kindles Give You Headaches?

Reading on Kindle reduces your chances of having headaches compared to reading on other devices by using special E-INK technology. Reading E-INK is similar to reading normal ink far less eye-strain than LSD screens and are better for reading in every type of every type of situation.

It is possible that using a Kindle could reduce the chances of having headaches compared to other options. However, there is no definite evidence that reading from Kindles with E Ink technology is more beneficial than devices with LCD screens.

However, I can tell you from personal experience, my new Kindle paper white which you can get for a bargain on Amazon puts WAY less strain on my eyes than looking at my phone or iPad, it isn’t even close.

clinical trial found that 64% to 90% of people who regularly use computers for work complain about symptoms such as eyestrain, headaches, dry eyes, double and blurred vision, and ocular discomfort. They also experience neck and back pain after prolonged use of computers or other electronic devices.

Tablets, smartphones, and computers tend to use backlit screens with LEDs constantly shining at your eyes from behind the screen. It’s not ideal when reading for extended periods. The glossy screens that LCD devices have also render them useless when you’re trying to read by the pool or at the beach on your vacation

Another experiment comparing the effects of E Ink vs. LCDs found that it is not the technology itself that is decisive. Instead, it is the image quality that is more important. Visual display units have improved greatly today compared to cathode-ray tube devices widely used in the 20th century.

So the chances of having headaches from Kindle are very small. Even people with migraines do not complain about getting headaches from Kindle.

Thinking of upgrading your Kindle but not sure if it’s worth it?

I’m an avid Kindle reader but I only started reading again when I bought the latest Kindle Paperwhite. I can tell you it is 100% worth the upgrade, especially if you came from an older kindle like me, to learn more see my helpful post full of photos on why the upgrade is worth it.

Are Kindles Better for Headaches Than Books?

In general, Kindles can be better for headaches than books. It’s because the line spacing and font size in Kindles are consistent. This consistency of the image certainly helps reduce migraines. You can also increase the font size or use other accessibility features in the settings for a better reading experience.

Many people may argue that books are better than Kindle, which raises the question: why not just read books then? Of course, we have already addressed the convenience of having multiple books packed into one lightweight device. But beyond that, Kindles have benefits for eyes and headaches.

You can see in this blog post, how a women who used to get constant migraines from technology and other e-readers bought a Kindle to fix the issue.

For a month, I read on my new Kindle in bright light and no light. Out under the glaring sun, in dimly lit restaurants, and everything in between. No migraines

Granted, I wouldn’t read anything if I had one brewing before I started reading because that would be silly but this was great! I could read late into the night without keeping the animals up (and making them restless) and not burning my eyes

Austine Decker

I can feel the same way, I used to get bad migraines from playing my Xbox 360 four hours when I was around 14, I have NEVER got migraines from my Kindle.

With a Kindle, the line spacing and font size are consistent from one book to the next. Plus, if you find the text difficult to read, you can increase the font size or use other accessibility features. The consistency of the image puts less strain on your eyes.

With books, publishers sometimes print very small fonts for long books to make it profitable, a good example of this is Andrew Roberts fantastic biography of Winston Churchill which you can find on Amazon.

The font is SUPER small, to someone who bad eye-sight it would be impossible or very uncomfortable to read without causing headaches, if you bought the E-book version? No problem you could change the font to a comfortable size.

Have you ever used your Kindle where its cold? Using your Kindle is bad conditions can damage the device, to discover what is the safe operating temperature for your Kindle you can read my guide.

Why Does Reading Give You Headaches?

In general, if the line spacing is smaller than the text, reading would give you headaches as the lines blur into each other or shimmer and flicker on the page despite not moving at all. Conversely, if the line spacing is bigger than the text, you will find it easier to read.

This optical illusion called “Visual Stress” explains how reading can cause headaches with eye strain. The extent to which the illusion works depends on the distance between the lines. Enlarging the image makes it easier for your eyes and brain to parse the different strings.

It’s comparable to the issue that your eyes have while reading. Imagine the black bars are the text you are trying to read, and the white is the gap in the line spacing. If the spaces were bigger, the text would be easier to read.

What Can I Do to Prevent Headaches While Reading?

To prevent headaches while reading, take a break by following the 20-20-20 rule which for ever 20 minutes of reading take a 20 second break by looking at an object at least 20 feet away, Also make sure you are reading in good lighting, maintain a good posture, use magnifiers if needed, and don’t forget to blink.

You can use visual aids to reduce headaches while reading. Here are some ways you can prevent or reduce your headaches while reading:

  • Take a break: The Royal National Institute of Blind People recommend following the 20-20-20 rule. It involves taking at least 20 seconds, for every 20 minutes of reading, by looking at an object at least 20 feet away. I literally just looked out my window to try this, and already I feel my eyes are better
  • Good lighting: Never read in dark or improperly lit rooms, unless you have an e-reader with a warm comfortable light
  • Use a guide: There are purpose-built guides, or you can use a ruler. It’s very primitive but helps with the blurring of lines.
  • Maintain good posture: Make sure you are at eye level with the reading material while your back is upright.
  • Magnifiers: It doesn’t have to be a Sherlock-style round handheld magnifying glass. Some magnifiers are optimized for reading and even card-shaped options that fit your wallet.
  • Electronic magnifiers: These devices are held before your reading material to get a magnified view.
  • Blinking: We do this subconsciously anyway but if you struggle with dry eyes, make a conscious effort to blink to keep the eyes moist.

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