This dark mode on our smartphone is common, but it's not always better for the eyes

This dark mode on our smartphone is common, but it’s not always better for the eyes

Dark mode is becoming more and more popular with websites and apps. Instead of the classic black letters on a white background, the text in “dark mode” is white and the rest of the page is dark. Where does this popularity lie?

Stan Van Pelt

Most of the major tech companies now offer a dark mode option; From Facebook and Whatsapp to Apple and Google. Many people are excited about such a night mode. After all, a dark background is much quieter for those who are sensitive to bright light, states, for example, Google. It will also result in a better night’s sleep than daytime sleep if you want to catch up on the news before you go to bed. But to what extent are these claims true?

There is no doubt that spending too much time in front of screens can lead to health problems, such as double vision, headaches or dry eyes (due to lack of blinking). computer vision syndrome, in technical terms. In a 2016 American Vision Council study of 10,000 adults, 65 percent reported experiencing these types of symptoms. However, it remains to be seen if the black wallpaper helps in this matter. Extensive scientific research has not been conducted on the dark mode.

No clear answer

“There is no one-size-fits-all answer,” says Victor Lamm, a professor of cognitive neuroscience who specializes in visual perception. He says on the phone that people with eye problems like glaucoma or macular degeneration may benefit from a night or dark mode. “They are more likely to perceive something white on a black background than the other way around.”

For others, color settings are less important. Sure, he says, a dark screen reduces bright light, but lowering the intensity of the light on your phone has a similar effect. “It is especially important to adapt the amount of light to the environment. This way, your pupils will not have to change size all the time.”

eye comfort

The professor says that the dark mode can be counterproductive to your eye comfort. In low light, your pupils dilate to catch as much light as possible, just as the aperture of a camera should be wide open in the dark. The disadvantage of this is that it becomes more difficult to focus, which strains your eyes. Lamme: “Surely if you look at a computer screen for a long time, it’s better to use a white background.”

At night it’s a different story. Too much light may provide clearer vision, but at the same time it disrupts our biological clock. “It disturbs your sleep. In light of this, your body simply thinks it is daytime,” says Marijke Gordin, a chronobiologist at consulting [email protected] The production of melatonin, a hormone that acts as a kind of sleep signal, is then inhibited, especially with blue light.

Whether screen light itself has a significant effect on sleep is still a matter of debate. Curtain: “The light from your phone alone is seldom much.” Dark mode seems to make little difference, leave a little space study From 2019. People who turned on Apple’s Night Shift produced the same amount of melatonin as the group that used the daytime mode.

moreover, Research It indicates that daylight during the day can offset the harmful effects of blue light at night. However, it is wise to generally make it dark in the evening, Gordon advises. So: turn off the room lights, turn on dark screen mode, lower the light intensity and don’t bring the screen too close.

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