Is Dark Mode Better for Your Eyes?

HomeEyeIs Dark Mode Better for Your Eyes?

The short answer is – most likely. Although all screen settings will ultimately affect you in one way or another, dark mode carries a few advantages that benefit your vision.


For one, dark mode effectively cuts the glare associated with glare. It also reduces blue light. We’ll discuss how these two factors can affect your sight shortly. Dark mode also increases battery life and may also look cuter in some instances.

Unfortunately, dark mode isn’t without drawbacks. Indeed, for some people, the doctor may advise you to avoid dark mode. Here’s everything you need to know.

What is Dark Mode?

Dark Mode (or dark theme) is a setting on most smartphone devices that displays an inverted color scheme where light-colored text and icons rest on a dark background.

Most mobile devices arrive in a default light mode where dark text and icons are superimposed on a white or light background. Dark mode is the opposite, i.e., light text and icons are superimposed on a dark background.

Since nearly all mobile devices default to light mode, you must change the settings if you wish to switch to dark mode. Once applied, dark mode takes effect for all functions, including mobile applications.

However, not all phones have a dark mode. Therefore, if you can’t find the setting on your phone, it’s possible that it doesn’t exist. Alternatively, it may exist in a different name.

Dark Mode and Blue Light

Whenever health experts mention the eyesight benefits of dark mode, they’re usually talking about the impact of blue light waves emitted from our device screens.

Blue light primarily comes from the sun. It’s what causes the blue sky. They are also what helps our brains to interpret day and night. Since blue light waves are stronger than other colors in the light spectrum, they help the brain tell it’s daylight.

Excess exposure to strong blue light can disrupt the circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin, the hormone tasked with signaling the brain that it’s bedtime.

Promoters of dark mode say that this is especially true in people who use their phones a lot right before bedtime. The standard light mode can make it more difficult to fall asleep as the signal to fall asleep is delayed as the blue light causes the brain to think that it’s still daytime. Dark mode rectified this problem by suppressing blue light. Thus, you get to sleep earlier and even longer.

Scientific studies about dark mode concerning blue light are inconclusive. However, available research findings support the theory that dark mode may affect sleep rhythm. Studies specifically on how the night shift setting on iPhone affects a person’s ability to fall asleep demonstrate that turn down the device’s brightness and simultaneously switching to dark mode can make one fall asleep faster.

These findings are consistent with recommendations from the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). AAO recommends reducing glare and brightness by changing your screen settings in addition to changing the device to dark more or night mode.

Meanwhile, a different study in 2017 shows that playing games on a smartphone right before bed can prolong the time it takes to fall asleep compared to people who use blue light filtering software.

Other Benefits of Dark Mode

Besides blocking blue light, dark mode is also believed to reduce glare and as well as minimize eye strain.

Reduce glare

Glare refers to an irritating level of contrast between the task and the glare source. With respect to phones, it’s the irritating level of contrast between the screen and the surroundings due to excessive light. Studies show that glare can be harmful to your vision. It causes light to scatter inside the eyes and makes it difficult to see sharp images. The loss of contrast is worst in dark conditions.

Switching to dark mode is one of the proven ways to reduce glare. It reduces the light from the screen, thus minimizes the contrast between the screen and the rest of the room.

Minimizes eye strain

Although the jury is still out on whether dark mode truly reduces eye strain, a few things are evident. For instance, there’s no doubt that dark mode reduces eye strain in low-light conditions, such as when using the phone in the dark. It’s also a fact that the standard white background is harder to read and may cause more eye strain.

Therefore, it may be beneficial for your vision to use dark mode in low light conditions or when you don’t plan to read text on the phone for long periods.

Key Takeaway

Dark mode can be beneficial for your vision. Although light mode works better for reading long chunks of text on the phone, dark mode reduces is the better option for night use. It improves sleep quality and reduces eye strain. It also reduces glare.

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