Is Reading On an iPad Bad For Your Eyes?

Last Updated on September 19, 2023 by Ernests Embutnieks

The iPad is the most popular consumer tablet to date. Many individuals use it as their primary reading device or consume some sort of content in the text on it. This begs the question, will reading on the iPad hurt your eyes?

Yes, reading on the iPad will hurt your eyes if you do it for an extended period of time. The iPad emits blue light, which, when exposed to it for long durations, may lead to eye strain and discomfort.

In this article, we’re going to go over exactly how you can prevent your iPad from straining your eyes, whether a paper is better than an iPad, and if you should choose a Kindle over an iPad strictly for reading. 

Tips For Reading On iPad

If you really like reading on the iPad and you are worried about your eyes, here are a few tips we’ve concocted that’ll help ensure you reduce the amount of strain your eyes get when reading on the device:

  • Take Breaks: It’s extended use of an iPad that really causes your eyes to dry out and strain. Therefore, take a breather every 30 minutes, and you’ll be able to read for much longer.
  • Use A Blue Light Filter: You can use a Blue Light Filter or the Night Shift option available on the iPad to help reduce the blue light your iPad emits at any given moment. This, too, helps reduce eye strain.
  • Reduce Brightness: Try not to read at maximum brightness, but don’t go too low, either. Instead, find a sweet spot that feels comfortable to your eyes, and don’t be afraid to adjust your brightness depending on the changing ambient light of your environment. 

How Far Should Your iPad Be From Your Eyes?

How far should your iPad be from your eyes?

To avoid eye strain, you should hold your iPad about 17 inches away from your eyes when reading. If you feel the need to bring your iPad closer or are squinting your eyes, then we recommend increasing the font size of the text being displayed.

If you feel immediate strain when using an iPad, reducing your brightness or enabling Night Shift are common solutions. Besides that, I’ve also found that matte display protectors tend to rule out glare by a significant margin as well.

Is It Better To Read On iPad Or Paper?

Reading on paper still remains the best way to enjoy your favorite novel or book. According to research published in Optometry’s Meeting, students read much faster on paper than they do on their iPads. 

Paper Advantages

In terms of pure health benefits, the iPad isn’t meant to be read on for long periods of time. For starters, it emits Blue Light, commonly referred to as white glare, which can cause strain for elongated periods. Don’t get us wrong, the iPad can act as a reading device, given that you don’t read on it for long durations.

Moreover, unlike a book, the iPad requires charging. So, you won’t be able to enjoy the new novel that you just purchased if your iPad batteries die out. Plus, I’ve always found there to be something special about flipping pages off a real book and consuming content that way. Give a better reading vibe.

In fact, multiple studies have concluded that there seem to be some underlying implications for children who read more on tablets / iPads rather than books. It has caused some cognitive issues in some cases. However, further research needs to be conducted to understand the true extent of the issue. 

iPad Advantages

There’s only one reason why you should prefer reading on an iPad vs paper: portability. The fact that you can carry an almost unlimited amount of books and read them at a moment’s notice is what you can never achieve with just paper.

But, even with that advantage in mind – eReaders like the Kindle are still much better for reading than the iPad and also offer the same portability alongside better battery life. So, in essence – for the strict purpose of reading, paper, or a Kindle for that matter, is much better.

Check out: Kindle vs iPad For Reading – Which Is Better?

We’ve gone deep into the topic which is better for reading Kindle vs. iPad, so make sure you read it if you are on the fence.

Is a Kindle Better For Your Eyes Than a Tablet?

A Kindle is much better for your eyes when reading than an iPad given that it uses an E Ink display. Since there is no backlight used in an E Ink display, but rather, the natural ambient light present in your room is used (exactly like paper), the better the lighting of your room, the better the display looks.

Here’s a quick example:

Traditional iPad LCD to the left, E Ink display in the middle, paper in the right. Credits: E Ink

A Kindle Paperwhite, for instance, uses an E-Ink display that takes most of the strain that Blue Light emits out of your eyes. Moreover, when it comes to a Kindle, it is not just about the display. But, the ecosystem that Amazon has built around the Kindle brand also plays an important role.

For instance, the Kindle has stellar battery life – one charge can last you about 5-6 weeks with 2-3 hours of reading every day. Moreover, you can download thousands of books right on your Kindle with the added benefit of getting them for much cheaper compared to a physical copy.

I’ve been using a Kindle Paperwhite for a while now, and the display, while not exactly like paper, feels very similar in terms of ease. For an optimal experience, having the backlight off and instead relying on the ambient light of your room helps reduce eye strain while allowing you to read to your heart’s content.

Do note, though, that for anything other than just reading – the iPad trumps the Kindle. For instance, the Kindle is not able to display color, it doesn’t run an operating system capable of rendering video, playing games, or doing any strenuous task.

So, treat your Kindle like an eReader. It doesn’t do anything much beyond that. Do note, though, that if you purchase a Kindle that has an LCD, it is not any different than an iPad in terms of reading. So, before you opt for a Kindle device, ensure that it has an E Ink display and not an LCD. 


Is Reading On an iPad Bad For Your Eyes?

It turns out that extended use of the iPad, with its blue light emissions, can indeed lead to eye strain and discomfort. However, we’ve got some helpful tips to reduce eye strain, like taking breaks, using a blue light filter, and adjusting brightness levels for a more comfortable reading experience.

Additionally, we’ve compared reading on an iPad versus reading on paper, and it seems that good old paper still holds some advantages in terms of health benefits and the joy of flipping physical pages. Yet, we can’t ignore the portability of the iPad, making it a great choice for those who love carrying numerous books with them.

When it comes to e-readers, the Kindle stands out as a better option for reading due to its E Ink display, which reduces eye strain. The Kindle ecosystem, with its extensive collection of books and impressive battery life, adds to its appeal as a dedicated eReader.

So, there you have it! For a delightful reading experience without hurting your eyes, consider giving a Kindle a try. But if you’re looking for a versatile device that goes beyond reading, the iPad might still be your go-to choice.

How do I protect my eyes from my iPad screen?

If you are feeling a strain on your eyes use a matte screen protector on your iPad, it will rule out glare by a significant amount, and we also recommend using night shift and reducing the brightness on your screen.

Related Articles:

Best iPad For Students
Best eReaders – The Ultimate Buying Guide 


  • Ernests Embutnieks

    I love tech and all about it. I'm interested in finding ways how they can make my life more productive, and I share my knowledge with my blog readers. I'm an iPad Pro, iPhone, MacBook, and Apple Watch user, so I know a thing or two about these devices and try to write helpful content around these topics.