Glossy vs Matte Screens – Which Is Better For Your Eyes?

From the computers in our offices to our televisions and laptops at home, we spend many hours of each day staring at screens. 

As magical as modern tech is though, we have to wonder, does staring at screens for this length of time affect our eyes? Glossy screens especially are made of glass that partially reflects bright light back into our eyes. So, would a matte screen be a better option?

Although it’s unlikely you’ll be able to stare at a screen long enough to suffer permanently damage their vision. The constant glare from a glossy screen can mean you’ll begin to experience some cause negative side effects such as:

  • Eyestrain
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Mental fatigue

To reduce the likelihood of these issues affecting you and your work, you might want to try switching to a matte screen, or make a few modifications to your existing glossy one.

If you spend most of your day staring at a glossy monitor and are worried about how it might affect your eyes, keep reading to learn a few tips on what you can do to reduce eye strain and keep your eyes in mint condition.

To look after your eyes even further check out our short guide on what brightness setting is best for vision.

Image by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Why do monitors have glossy screens?

Your mom may have been exaggerating when she said that you’d go blind from staring at a screen all day but there’s no denying that glossy computer screens put a lot of strain on your retinas. 

Yet, if it’s no secret and considered somewhat of a nuisance why do manufacturers keep producing high-gloss screens?

It all has to do with the aesthetic appeal of a glossy glass screen. Compared to a matte screen, glossy product shots have a fancy, high-tech, futuristic appeal that helps brands sell more products. 

In fact, they often go out of their way to make their screens as reflective as possible to attract more buyers.

Furthermore, it’s cheaper for the manufacturer to leave off a matte finish. 

Since most screens are made of either glass or a polished polymer material, manufacturers have to undertake an additional step to apply a matte coating so as to produce an anti-glare surface.

Fortunately, if you’re worried about your eyes, you can always just switch to a matte screen or make a few small modifications to your glossy screen to reduce glare and make it appear matte.

The pros and cons of glossy &  matte screens

Although there’s no denying that they are worse on your eyes, we don’t mean to completely disparage glossy screens. 

Both matte and glossy screens have their pros and cons:

Here are some pros for both types of screens:

  • Glossy screens produce a clearer, brighter image
  • Glossy screens tend to have richer colors and deeper blacks
  • Matte screens are better for long-term activities such as work or gaming
  • Matte screens work well for editing photography as long as they’re placed in a well-lit room

Some cons include that:

  • Glossy screens create reflections and glare
  • Glossy screens can distort images because of their glare
  • Matte screens produce dull, washed-out colors
  • Matte screens can produce a hazy image

Depending on your line of work, you may prefer one over the other. 

Glossy screens are ideal for graphic design thanks to their rich displays. However, matte screens are better for long office work and gaming.

How to reduce glare on a glossy screen

If you already own a glossy screen and want to reduce that amount of glare coming off of it, you can simply apply an anti-glare filter. These are thin sheets of acrylic or polycarbonate plastic applied over the surface of your monitor to help reduce glare and color-shifting.

Originally, anti-glare filters were made using a mesh material that gave your screen a nylon look. They were highly effective at reducing surface glare but they unfortunately distorted images so badly that many people decided it was better to just live with glare.

Over the years, though, manufacturers have improved their designs and now offer varieties for your PC, laptop, and even mobile devices. Instead of using a mesh material, modern matte filters are constructed from the aforementioned plastics.

They help diffuse glare, protect your screen, and create a clear matte surface whilst retaining high-quality imagery.

So which is better – glossy or matte screens?

There’s no arguing that matte screens are better for your eyes than glossy screens. 

Staring at the constant glare of a glossy screen can cause eye strain which leads to headaches, migraines, and eye irritation. However, if you’re only using your computer for short periods, a glossy screen does offer richer colors and deeper blacks.

If you work on a computer all day or enjoy extensive periods of gaming, you will likely benefit from switching to a matte screen. 

If you don’t want to switch out your monitor entirely, you can also achieve a matte surface by applying a simple anti-glare filter to your screen. This will help reduce glare without distorting or degrading image quality.

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