Trending September 2023 # Can Monitors Really Hurt You? # Suggested October 2023 # Top 17 Popular |

Trending September 2023 # Can Monitors Really Hurt You? # Suggested October 2023 # Top 17 Popular

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How Monitors Vary In Safety

First of all, let’s explain why people are concerned: Monitors, like any other electronic device, emit non-ionizing radiation. While most of this type of radiation (we’ll call it “NI” radiation) isn’t going to give you instant cancer, long-term consistent exposure to some forms of it will damage your retina and might even go so far as to damage neurons.

Of course, I would be a little bit too optimistic by saying that no monitor will emit ionizing radiation. Cathode ray tube (box-like) monitors emit X-rays.

LED/LCD monitors do not suffer from this issue since they don’t use tubes to emit light with electron guns. Instead, they just emit light through diodes (small surfaces that react to electricity by transforming it into light) and change the color of each pixel through transistors and liquid crystals.

Why The CRT Concern Isn’t That Much of a Big Deal

It might sound like I’m minimizing the whole argument that X-rays are harmful, but I’m going to start off by saying that they are indeed extremely harmful and volatile. But the danger isn’t much of a concern with any device — television or not — that emits X-rays through cathode ray tubes. Here’s why:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a code that prevents manufacturers from creating television sets (and this also applies to computer monitors) that emit more than 0.5 milliroentgens of radiation per hour at a staring distance of 5 centimeters. That means that if your face is roughly two inches (the length of your thumb) away from the screen, you’ll get a very microscopic and negligible dose of X-ray radiation.

Today, the vast majority of CRT manufacturers don’t even touch the 0.5 milliroentgen limit. Their need to be energy efficient has significantly reduced the amount of radiation emitted to far below the already-harmless threshold described earlier.

Why You Should Still Be Concerned

The radiation emitted by your monitor is negligible. That’s awesome. But that doesn’t mean that the danger is clear. People still report getting headaches and pain in their eyes when using monitors for extended periods. If radiation isn’t the culprit, then what could possibly be causing these symptoms? These people simply can’t be imagining the pain!

Your eyes are best used to look at objects that move fluidly throughout the world. Any strobe effect, no matter how small, can ruin your focus, forcing your muscles to strain. The long term effects of this condition haven’t been studied extensively yet, but it’s safe to assume that you might end up damaging your eyes in the long run.


Let’s recapitulate on what we’ve covered so far:

All monitors emit radiation.

Some forms of radiation are less harmful than others.

The radiation that monitors emit is generally harmless.

Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.

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