Help! Each TV Irritates My Eyes -What To Do? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 08-23-2011, 06:06 AM - Thread Starter
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My TV irritates and bothers my eyes and I suffer from something called Cluster Headaches. The headaches come and go over the years and are back. They're back...I had not had them for a couple years and then I purchased my first HDTV in May. I have had 3 different Panasonic Plasmas, a 42" ST30 and (2) 50" ST30 and now a Samsung 51" D7000. All these TV's have made my eyes feel bad when I look at them. I sit about 8 feet from the TV. I have tried lowering the contrast, sharpness,playing with the brighness and moving the couch back further etc. I have Direct TV- I've even tried lowering the resolution on Direct TV to 780 instead of 1080i. It helped a little but not enough.

I always have lights on when I watch TV at night and never watch in a dark room at night so suggesting backlights are not going to help me. That is not the issue. The TV bothers my eyes during daytime when the sun is out and the room is not dark.

What TV should I try now? LCD? Is it Direct TV HD causing this or is it that High Definition bothers my eyes no matter what form?

My Dad and my Father in Law both have TVs that don't bother my eyes. Dad's is a 780 resolution LG LCD TV through the cable company's fake High def and my Father in Laws TV is a Magnavox LCD through Uverse. Their Tv's don't bother my eyes...

By the way, I went to my Optometrist and got a new prescription for glasses, and I went to my Neurologist because my Cluster headaches have returned and he suggested for the eye irritation that I get glasses that shield my eyes from infrared. I ordered some glasses but they have not arrived yet.

What would you do if you were me? I can't give up HDTV even though my wife suggests going back to the old 32"CRT in the bedroom..Yuck!!!
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post #2 of 25 Old 08-23-2011, 07:24 AM
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Buying plasma is the problem.

CRTs worked by updating the whole screen at 60Hz. This caused a visible flicker, but your brain could tune it out after a while as it was constant.
Plasmas work by flashing the pixels on and off rapidly, at varying rates, to create shades.

Due to their larger size, and because different areas of the screen are flashing on/off at different rates, I find flickering to be visibly more distracting, and cannot watch plasma displays for long before getting a headache. Because it's constantly changing, your brain can't adapt to it.


LED screens produce a completely stable image. The screen illumination (LED lights) is completely independent from drawing the picture (the LCD panel) and so there is no flickering.

Some higher-end LED sets do use what they call a "scanning backlight" (many 240Hz+ sets use this) which does introduce a flicker, but it is at a constant rate (like CRT) however it is at a much higher rate, so there should be no perceived flicker from the screen.

With my Sony screen (HX900) changing the motionflow options can enable/disable this scanning backlight. The "smooth" options keep the backlight constant, and the "clear" options use the scanning backlight.

I feel that the picture is generally better with it on (sharper motion) but if I'm tired or feel a headache coming on, I'll disable it. There is no visible difference on the screen (though I can tell it's changed if I wave my hand in front as there's a very slight strobe effect in a dark room) but it's definitely more relaxing on the eyes.


What I must stress though, is that if you get an LED screen (don't get a regular LCD, they now strobe the CCFL tubes) you must turn down the backlight to a comfortable level for the lighting in your room. Too often I walk into people's homes and they have the picture up at full brightness and they complain about getting headaches after watching their new screen for a few hours. They think the problem is the TV, and not the fact that it's blindingly bright. Just because it can put out a bright image, doesn't mean it should.
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post #3 of 25 Old 08-23-2011, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Chronoptimist, thank you, thank you, thank you so very much! Finally a real answer to this very real problem. It's fantastic to finally find someone with a cogent answer about this eye problem. My doctors nor my internet searches have come up with any real solution. I've been on an island with this... I will probably return this plasma and go with an LED TV.

Now on a completely unrelated issue, is there an LED without "soap opera affect?" I went with plasma technology because of the "soap opera affect" I saw on LCD's vs the movie look of plasmas. I like my movies to look like major motion pictures and not like soap videos. Any thoughts on an LED that is natural on movies?
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post #4 of 25 Old 08-23-2011, 10:51 AM
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Yes an LCD is the answer. I have sensitive eyes and I can see that the image on my plasma is not as 'stable' as an LCD, it has a weird flicker to it, but it's not bad enough that I can't just ignore it (it's not like a 60hz monitor that I couldn't stand, more like a 75hz where i can tell it's not 'right' but it's tolerable).
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post #5 of 25 Old 08-23-2011, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codyred View Post

Chronoptimist, thank you, thank you, thank you so very much! Finally a real answer to this very real problem. It's fantastic to finally find someone with a cogent answer about this eye problem. My doctors nor my internet searches have come up with any real solution. I've been on an island with this... I will probably return this plasma and go with an LED TV.

Glad I could help.

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Originally Posted by codyred View Post

Now on a completely unrelated issue, is there an LED without "soap opera affect?" I went with plasma technology because of the "soap opera affect" I saw on LCD's vs the movie look of plasmas. I like my movies to look like major motion pictures and not like soap videos. Any thoughts on an LED that is natural on movies?

That's caused by the 120Hz, 240Hz etc. motion interpolation technology.

With the Bravia I have now, I do not notice a "soap opera" effect when watching films, like there was on other screens that I have had in the past. On those sets, I had to turn the 120Hz stuff off, with this screen, I tend to leave motionflow (Sony's name for it) enabled, as motion still looks natural rather than sped-up.

I think Samsung also now have options for theirs that let you use 120Hz (for clearer motion) but let you adjust how much of a "soap opera" effect it adds. By default, they look terrible though.

Not sure about other manufacturers, haven't checked out recent models for them.
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post #6 of 25 Old 08-23-2011, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronoptimist View Post
Glad I could help.

That's caused by the 120Hz, 240Hz etc. motion interpolation technology.

With the Bravia I have now, I do not notice a "soap opera" effect when watching films, like there was on other screens that I have had in the past. On those sets, I had to turn the 120Hz stuff off, with this screen, I tend to leave motionflow (Sony's name for it) enabled, as motion still looks natural rather than sped-up.

I think Samsung also now have options for theirs that let you use 120Hz (for clearer motion) but let you adjust how much of a "soap opera" effect it adds. By default, they look terrible though.

Not sure about other manufacturers, haven't checked out recent models for them.
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post #7 of 25 Old 08-24-2011, 05:47 AM
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If the LED LCDs bother your eyes or head too then you could try buying a second hand Sony HD widescreen CRT TV like the KD-34XBR960.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=64
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post #8 of 25 Old 08-30-2011, 09:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for that suggestion homerging! I went with the Sony XBR 55929. Hoping for comfortable viewing now.
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post #9 of 25 Old 08-30-2011, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by codyred View Post

Thanks for that suggestion homerging! I went with the Sony XBR 55929. Hoping for comfortable viewing now.

Please let us know how you do. I was ill a couple of years ago and could not watch my new plasma without headaches. Traded it in for an LCD and had the same reaction - eye strain and headaches. Went back to CRT which was all I could handle at the time. When I recovered from my illness I bought the plasma again and I've been fine, thank goodness.
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post #10 of 25 Old 08-30-2011, 11:50 AM
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Also a thought, you should install backlighting on your set or make sure your room is lit when watching TV. A lot of people get headaches from eye strain because they are watching a bright TV in a dimly lit room. You obviously have other medical issues but that considered, you might think about every possible contributing factor.
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post #11 of 25 Old 08-30-2011, 12:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for your thoughts and kind suggestions, rumba and agogley. I will post again when I see how things go with the new tv.
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post #12 of 25 Old 08-30-2011, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumba View Post

Please let us know how you do. I was ill a couple of years ago and could not watch my new plasma without headaches. Traded it in for an LCD and had the same reaction - eye strain and headaches. Went back to CRT which was all I could handle at the time. When I recovered from my illness I bought the plasma again and I've been fine, thank goodness.

What was your illness if i might ask? And did you have it diagnosed by a specialist? Was there medication that helped you or did it just go away on it's own? Not trying to pry, but i'm curious about any physical affliction that could cause such an issue while watching a TV. An old friend of mine used to have such intense cluster headaches that the pain was literally driving him insane and he'd bang his head against things trying to get it to stop.

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post #13 of 25 Old 08-30-2011, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by RandyWalters View Post

What was your illness if i might ask? And did you have it diagnosed by a specialist? Was there medication that helped you or did it just go away on it's own? Not trying to pry, but i'm curious about any physical affliction that could cause such an issue while watching a TV. An old friend of mine used to have such intense cluster headaches that the pain was literally driving him insane and he'd bang his head against things trying to get it to stop.

Thanks for asking Randy. I had carbon monoxide poisoning and it created this horrible syndrome where I was ultra sensitive to everything - magnetic fields, bright lights, spicy foods - you name it. A true nightmare. I couldn't even get on a computer for awhile. Oxygen was my therapy. Thank God it passed.
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post #14 of 25 Old 08-30-2011, 08:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Interesting rumba, since oxygen is recommended and what I use regularly during a cluster headache attack as an abortive. Unfortunately, I'm sure I'll have to use it sometime during the night since I'm in the middle of these attacks these days. Breathing Oxygen beats taking medication. About the TV, I hooked up the XBR 929 this evening with great hopes but I'm experiencing some eye irritation from it too. Not as much as with the plasma I just sent back, but I hoped this time there would be no eye irritation. But as soon as I first looked at the screen I immediately felt a bit of that oddness in the eyes. I'm so frustrated.. I do have the backlight turned way down low and lowered the picture (contrast setting) as well.. Damn this, I wonder if I'm meant to have high def television at all! But I'm not giving up yet. I'll see how my eyes feel and what if anything with them improves over the next few days and weeks. By the way, I never ever watch TV in a darkened room at night. I know better. I always have a fairly bright light on near the TV. I sure don't want to think about buying someones cast off used Sony High Def CRT TV as was suggested to me.
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post #15 of 25 Old 08-31-2011, 08:44 PM - Thread Starter
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The Sony bothers my eyes too. My gosh.... Could it be that the common thread in all these TV's irritating my eyes is the DirecTV HDTV? If new plasmas from Panasonic and Samsung bother my eyes and a new LED (Sony XBR55HX992) does too what is the answer? I thought the change to LED would be an answer after Chronoptimist provided this solution. Chronoptimist any thoughts? I've got everything turned down, picture contrast, backlight, and brightness. Should I try dumping Direct TV and going with something that is not so High Def? Uverse? Cable?
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post #16 of 25 Old 09-01-2011, 08:51 AM
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Let me say that I have a similar issue and i'd like to know if anyone has any help?

I have a 65 inch pansaonic plasma VT25 in the living room. I have had it since november and never had any eye strain or anything. The viewing distance is about 10 feet.

About 2 weeks ago I buy the panasonic s30 for my bedroom and from day one I get eye strain. Kind of odd. I found some other people on this forum and others having the same issue with that TV. The lighting is the same in my living room and bedroom. I attempted adjusting all the settings on the tv several times and still get eye strain. I only have another week to return the tv so I need to figure something out quick.

It's a 42 inch and sits about 12 feet away from bed.
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post #17 of 25 Old 09-01-2011, 10:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Giacona that's plenty of distance for a 42" you should definitely have no problems. But you do. I sympathize. I don't know what I call my eye problem. It does not feel like strain but maybe it is. I know I can be looking at the blank screen before turning the tv on and as soon as so as the screen is turned on I immediately get the feeling almost like a very very slight burning irritation that is undeniable. I have had 3 plamas and now an LED, 2 Panny 50"ST30's, a Samsung 51" PND7000, and now a 55" Sony XBR929. They all make my eyes feel irritated as soon as my eyes view the screen. Now, I've got to return the Sony too!!!

I sit about 12 feet from my TV
I never watch in a darkened room/ tv even bothers my eyes in daylight
I have the contrast (picture), brightness, backlight turned way down
I went to the optometrist and got a new eyeglass prescription

1. Could it be the HDTV signal via Direct TV?
2. Could the TV be too big for my room? 12X18X8
3. Is it the HDTV technology -plasma/LCD vs CRT (CRT was never a bother to my eyes but the largest set I had was 36")
4. Am I stuck with buying a used Hi Def CRT
5. Since I bought my first HDTV in May my Cluster headaches returned so there seems to be cause and effect. I had not had them for a couple years. Now I have them every night and had to go see my neurologist for meds
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post #18 of 25 Old 02-27-2012, 09:04 AM
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Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but I think it's important for those who find this by a Google search.

I need to correct several bits of advice in this thread. For those having issues with eye strain, an LED television is NOT NECESSARILY the answer.

We bought a 55" LG LED backlit television and both my wife and I started having problems with eyesight. Buzzing eyes, fatigue, inability to focus on small text, that sort of thing. We eventually realized that the onset of these symptoms coincided with the purchase of the television a month earlier. So I did a search online, and talked with a few people about it.

As opposed to TURNING DOWN the LED backlight (suggested in this thread), you actually have to TURN UP the backlight, then turn down the brightness and adjust the contrast.

The reason? LED's simulate "dimness" by turning on and off at a certain rate. The lower the rate, the more "flickering" your brain will see. If you put the backlight at 100%, it will keep the LED's on constantly and eliminate the flickering that is most likely causing your eye issues. Then use the brightness and contrast settings to get your TV to a comfortable level for the room.

I hope this helps.

I am not allowed to post URLs in my posts yet, but if you do a Google search for "Eye strain from LED backlighting in MacBook Pro" you will find the appropriate thread that helped me discover a fix for the issue.

Personally, I'm turning in my LED (am just within the 30 day return window) and going back to LCD.
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post #19 of 25 Old 02-27-2012, 09:15 AM
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Quote:


I'm turning in my LED (am just within the 30 day return window) and going back to LCD.

Your LED display is an LCD.

LEDs are pulse width modulated in the 10's of KHz in order to adjust intensity.
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post #20 of 25 Old 02-27-2012, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by SAM64 View Post

Your LED display is an LCD.

That topic should be a thread of its own (maybe it already has been).

It drives me nuts when people, especially TV sales reps, talk about LED TVs as if they are not LCD. I always correct sales reps on this issue.

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post #21 of 25 Old 02-28-2012, 07:47 PM
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I get headaches and eye strain from certain types of TV shows; nothing to do with what kind of display I have.
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post #22 of 25 Old 02-28-2012, 08:25 PM
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I get headaches and eye strain from certain types of TV shows; nothing to do with what kind of display I have.

1. I agree with this. The big displays with lots of action and the brain wants to take it all in and cannot. And if your brain is tired, even worse.

2. In connection to #1, I think our brains need to "learn" how to watch these big bright displays in low ambient light.

3. I think a new TV needs a few hundred hours (maybe more) to "settle down." Just let that TV run and run and in the case of plasma, give the pixels and phosphors a chance to get broken in. Rack up 1000 hours and see if things change (I think they do).

* I believe all of the above has reduced the eye strain I now experience when watching a 50" plasma from 10 feet. Still, if I am very tired and try to watch with just a small light on in the room, my brain and eyes hurt and I try to convince myself to go to bed (hard for night owls).

Is it more fun to use the equipment or talk about it on AVS?
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post #23 of 25 Old 02-28-2012, 10:57 PM
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I know the OP said not to bother suggesting a bias light, but my experiences are that I get less eye strain in a darkened room with a bias light than in a well lit room (or a dark room with no bias).

Might be worth a shot for anyone that is having issues? And certainly its more noticeable with a bigger screen.
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post #24 of 25 Old 08-24-2012, 01:18 PM
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Yes, it's LCD, but it's LED backlighting (well, side-lighting).

Just a follow-up. Our eye issues totally disappeared when I turned in the LG LED for an older model Sony LCD of the same size (55"). Night and day difference. Totally same environment, relatively same picture setup (can never be sure it's exactly the same). For some of us, it seems LED sensitivity is a lot higher than in others.
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post #25 of 25 Old 08-25-2012, 09:34 AM
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Perhaps the original poster may want to try out a projector, too. Projected images on a unity gain screen appear less harsh to my eyes compared to a TV.

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