An image of a phone against a black table.

Is Dark Mode Better for Your Eyes?

If you have a smart phone, laptop, tablet or other electronic device, you have probably been forced to make the decision between the dark and light mode screen setting. Even if you haven’t shifted your phone’s theme, individual social media apps are offering dark mode settings nowadays, too.

Well, as you know, we are all about eye health here at Rx Optical. That’s why we wanted to talk about the new dark mode option and answer the big question: does dark mode actually help your eyes?

Readability

Let’s talk about reading on screens. Black text on a white background is best, since the color properties and light are best suited for the human eye. That’s because white reflects every wavelength in the color spectrum.

The reason it’s easy to see white isn’t unlike why we recommend wearing sunglasses when there’s snow on the ground. Because of the reflection, our irises don’t need to open as wide to absorb the white light. That leaves our irises in a neutral position and allows us to see with better clarity. This is especially true when white light is contrasted against black, which absorbs wavelengths instead of reflecting them.

White text on a black background, or “dark mode,” makes the eye work harder and open wider, since it needs to absorb more light. When this happens, the white letters can bleed into the black background and cause the text to blur, which is also known as the “halation” effect.

What’s the moral of the story? For our e-readers out there, we recommend sticking with “light mode,” or dark text on a light background.

Eye Strain

The jury is still out on whether or not dark mode is better for reducing eye strain, but we can confirm a few things:

  • Dark mode can reduce eye strain in low-light conditions.
  • 100% contrast (white on a black background) can be harder to read and cause more eye strain.
  • It can be harder to read long chunks of text with a light-on-dark theme.

In essence, we recommend using a dark theme when you’re in low light or when you don’t plan to read for long periods of time.

If you do a fair amount of reading, stick to light mode. Even though black text is easier to read, it might be a good idea to try a gray background and control your screen’s brightness. Test out a dark theme at night and a light theme during the day or just experiment.

So What’s the Verdict?

You might have clicked on this blog hoping for a straight answer about whether or not dark themes are good for your eyes. Unfortunately, like we just described, it’s not so black and white. In fact, depending on how you use your device, each mode has its own advantages.

No matter what mode your device is set to, we recommend BluTech Lenses, which help to prevent excess exposure to blue light emitted off of tech devices. Despite whatever mode your devices are in, your eyes will be protected.

Also, come see us. The best way to keep your eyes safe and healthy is to get them checked regularly.