Back when home computers were really out there the people who knew about such things had sage advice regarding those chunky cathode ray tube monitors that occupied most of a desk. These came with a choice of just two on-screen colours; white or green, and the geeks went with green – it was, they all said, more restful on the eyes.

bq 1Then Apple came along and monitors were flooded with colour. One of them was Microsoft’s famous blue screen of death and the standard IT joke was about a Microsoft keyboard with just three keys; control, alt and delete.

Now it has been confirmed that blue is indeed the demon colour.

BenQ, a company that makes lots of computer monitors, is warning against too much blue. And quite coincidentally it has released a couple of LBL (that would be low blue light) monitors.

Now anyone can tell you that sitting in front of a computer all day can lead to headaches, as well as eyestrain. BenQ calls this CVS (that would be computer vision syndrome) and says it’s widely believed by ophthalmologists that even more serious conditions can result. It’s all about the blue light that computer monitors emit.

This BLH (that would be blue light hazard) is thought to lead to retinal problems that can lead to age-related macular degeneration, BenQ assures. The obvious solution is to filter out that evil blue light. Just so happens this is exactly what LBL monitors do.

Martin Moelle, BenQ’s Australian managing director said LBL technology is being phased in across the company’s range with the EW40 series being the first to feature “our unique eye care promise”. That promise seemed a bit vague to me, except that you’ll have a ‘healthier’ time in front of your computer.

Exactly how healthy is up you, because you can choose between four levels of blue light reduction. The company suggests the following:

For viewing of multimedia, blue light should be reduced by 30 per cent (which could make movies like Deep Blue Sea look a bit shallow). Web surfers need to reduce their blues by 50 per cent, office workers by 60 and those who do a lot of on-screen reading by 70.

Am I sounding a tad cynical? I’ve been through lots of scary tech issues in my time – I can remember when compact discs were all going to be rendered eventually useless by their labelling ink. And, well I noted that while BenQ’s media material quoted its managing director it didn’t quote any concerned ophthalmologists.

I’m no eye expert but I’ve been around tech a long time and my completely uniformed guess is that while there are doubtless people somewhere who are affected by blue light, the vast bulk of us will struggle on undisturbed.

Excuse me, I have to break news of the blue menace to my wife. It’s her favourite colour.

What: BenQ LBL computer monitors
Price: $249 to $309
Tech Talk verdict: Keep calm and carry on.

Published March 2014


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