Why isn’t dark mode better for your eyes?

Contrary to popular belief, dark mode is not better for the eyes than light mode, quite the contrary.

For several years now, dark mode has become essential on smartphones and tablets. More economical for the battery, better for the environment, the black background (not to be confused with the night mode and its yellow filter) would also protect our eyes from too much blue light, offering a more comfortable reading and better readability, especially in the dark.

The clear mode meanwhile, did not arrive by chance on our computers. At the time, the commercialization of the first consumer computers was a challenge for the industry, which was trying to create the most fluid experience possible, bringing its aesthetic closer to what everyone knows: paper. Today, habits have made their way, and the dark mode is no longer just for developers. On applications, browsers or even video platforms, the option has become widely democratized. If its impact on our battery is undeniable on an OLED screen, it is however far from unanimous.

We read better in black on white

Contrary to what one might think, the dark mode is not better for our eyes. The explanation comes first from the fact that our organism is made to live in the light of day. We perceive dark shapes on a light background much more easily. In a darker environment, our pupil dilates, so it has more difficulty focusing. A problem that can also be linked to visual aberrations: by looking at a street lamp in the middle of the night, our eye is confronted with phenomena of “luminous halos“, which distort the light. It’s the same thing on a document written in white on black: the text represents a direct light source, which will come interfere with general readability with this dispersion effect.

To stay focused on a text, our eye will tend to tire more in dark mode. If you want to be more productive, the light mode remains the best option. Good news, however, according to studies conducted on the subject, the dark mode would not have any significant influence on the health of your eyes. Only the reading fatigue and speed would be impacted.

Especially since the dark mode does not only have drawbacks: beyond the matter of taste, it also allows you to consume up to 40% less battery per compared to light mode, which is far from negligible. In the evening, it also helps to avoid the profusion of blue light which blocks the secretion of melatonin and prevents falling asleep. In short, it will be better to adapt its use according to the time of day, and its productivity objective.

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