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Few everyday experiences:

  1. Staring at the physical paper (or any other sight in nature) doesn't cause eye strain.
  2. Staring at the LCD screen causes eye strain.

Some of the differences in properties I have isolated so far are:

  1. Refresh rate, that how often picture updates itself. For LCD like display, it is finite, but for the physical paper (viewing up, down or turning page) it is instantaneous (infinity),

  2. Most common LCD emits backlight to project image, whereas physical paper reflects light.

  3. Other effects like glare, blue light (harmful light which disturbs sleep cycle) which is absent in physical paper but present in most of the LCDs.

(3.1) The physical paper doesn't distort contrast or image quality whereas LCD can sometimes. Although I am not sure how giving an inaccurate description (which is a different problem) can cause eye strain.

So I want to ask what makes up a favourable viewing experience from a biologist perspective.

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Any task that implies an intense use of the eyes may cause eye strain. The difference between reading paper and staring at a screen may vary from the distance, pauses made when turning the page, etc...

As stated in this link, it depends on the individual. So a favorable viewing experience is any that does not require an intense effort given the particularities of the subject's vision.

"Some people, while concentrating on a visually intense task such as reading fine print, using the computer for hours at a time, or trying to see in the dark, unconsciously clench the muscles of their eyelids, face, temples, and jaws and develop discomfort or pain from overuse of those muscles. This may lead to a vicious cycle of tensing those muscles further and causing more distress. Other people attempting to do similar visual tasks may have no symptoms at all." https://www.medicinenet.com/eye_strain/article.htm#what_causes_eye_strain

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