Why does my laptop screen make headaches worse, but not my phone?

Post date: 2023-09-26 12:37:50
Views: 12
I have chronic daily headaches. And like lot of people, laptop screens make the headaches worse after a short amount of time. But my iPhone screens doesn't seem to have the same effect. I really want to figure out why!

Like it says above the fold, I have chronic daily headaches / migraines. I have an entire medical team to help me manage them; i'm not looking for medical advice. But I've noticed, unsurprisingly, my headaches get worse with laptop screen time. But it's not nearly as noticeable with my phone. I need to figure out why... if i can replicate the phone screen in a laptop that doesn't affect my headaches as much, it would be a huge quality of life improvement!

I switch between two laptops (work and home).

One is a 13" Macbook Pro from 2020 - the last one on Intel chip. Google says the screen is 3.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display with IPS technology; 2560-by-1600 native resolution at 227ppi.

The other is a 2021 14" MBP with M1 chip; Google says its 14.2-inch (diagonal) Liquid Retina XDR display;1 3024-by-1964 native resolution at 254ppi.

The phone is a iPhone 14 Pro; google says its 6.1‑inch (diagonal) all‑screen OLED display 2556‑by‑1179-pixel resolution at 460 ppi

So.. given i really dont know much about monitor tech at all, my guess is the higher ppi might be less headache-inducing? I'm also curious about refresh rates, but the 2021 MBP and the iPhone seem to have ProMotion technology with adaptive refresh rates up to 120Hz. The smaller size is the only other variable i can think of.

I also feel like the headaches are worse with the older MBP, but that might be confirmation bias; i haven't kept those types of stats. Anecdotally I also feel like it was worse when i had a monitor attached but again, i'm not sure i can trust that and I dont have the monitor specs anyway except to say it was the cheapest 4k monitor i could find 5 years ago.

I know i can futz on my phone for literal hours and often be ok (for my definition of ok), but 60-90 min on the laptop and i'm done.

Any other thoughts onto why this might be? How can I test the theory? As far as I can tell, there are no monitors (or iPads) with the same ppi as the iPhones, if thats even the differentiating factor.

(If I knew it would help, I would find the $$ for an expensive monitor... I guess I could buy one and return it if it didnt help, but that feels kinda icky. And there's no guarantee I could make my macbooks get the right resolution/refresh rate anyway)
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