Your smartphone may have a "dark mode" or "night mode" setting. This alters most phone apps from black text on a white background to a black background with white text.
Though it may seem easier to read on a dark theme, it’s hard to tell if dark mode is actually beneficial for your eyes. Continue reading to learn the potential benefits and pitfalls of using dark mode.
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Many people choose to use dark mode settings in the evening time while settling down for the day. Looking at a screen with a dark background may feel more comfortable because you'll see less glare in dark mode. The night-friendly setting reduces the overall brightness output from the screen, creating less of a contrast with the world around you. Dark mode makes it easier for your eyes to adjust between dimly lit surroundings and your phone screen. This can reduce eye strain and minimize eye fatigue.
This is why car navigation systems and GPS devices switch to dark mode after sunset. It's safer for drivers to periodically glance at a darkened screen while they're traveling along dark roads, rather than a fully lit device, which would require the eyes to adjust to the brightness, then readjust to darkness when they look back at the road.
Dark mode has also been shown to help encourage nighttime melatonin production. This is because it reduces exposure to blue light in the evenings. Blue light from phones mimics sunlight, and it can delay the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin as bedtime approaches.
Individuals that tend to find themselves on either a computer, phone, or any digital device throughout the day may benefit from using dark mode. You may be at greater risk of eye strain or fatigue if you use devices for several hours every day. When staring at a text on a darker background, your eyes strain less than from the bright light background, which may help to prevent or relieve discomfort.
For people with certain eye conditions, looking at white text on a dark screen may cause a halo effect. A halo effect occurs when a blur of light surrounds the brightness amid the darkness.
The halo effect isn't exclusive to smartphones and other digital devices; any bright light that's viewed within a dark field of vision may cause this effect. For example, some people who have myopia, astigmatism, or presbyopia see halos around headlights or streetlights when they drive at night.
If you are experiencing the halo effect when you put your smartphone on dark mode, it may not be for you. You may see things more clearly if you switch to regular mode and turn the brightness down during evening hours.
If you are experiencing eye discomfort, it may be time for a comprehensive eye exam. One of our specialists will assess your eyes and form a treatment plan to suit your needs. Schedule an appointment today with the eye professionals at The EyeDoctors Optometrists.