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Is a Higher Refresh Rate Better for Your Eyes? [Answered]

You’ve likely come across gamers proudly touting their monitors’ towering refresh rates, convinced that higher rates are better for the eyes. But is there truly a visual benefit to constantly quicker speeds? Or does each Hz jump eventually yield diminishing improvements, reaching pointless excess where pricier displays waste money?

In this article, we’ll analyze the science behind refresh rates and human perception to determine the rate sweet spot: when faster no longer means better viewing, just bigger price tags. Let’s dive in!

Understanding Refresh Rate

The term “refresh rate” refers to how quickly the image on your screen updates every second. It’s measured in hertz (Hz). When a monitor has a refresh rate of 60 Hz, the image refreshes 60 times in one second.

A higher refresh rate, like 120 Hz or 144 Hz, means the image changes even faster. This makes everything look smoother, especially when watching fast-moving scenes.

The Impact of Higher Refresh Rates on Visual Experience

In a study done by the National Library of Medicine, researchers explored how different refresh rates affect our brain’s response to motion. I tried simplifying this study in the graph below, which illustrates ‘Motion Visual Evoked Potentials’ or MVEPs. These are brain reactions to moving images on a screen.

The graph illustrates a clear trend: with refresh rates rising from 60 Hz to 120 Hz, and on to 240 Hz, there’s an increase in the brain’s responsiveness to motion.

However, as you can see on the graph, the difference between 60 Hz to 120 Hz is much higher than 120 Hz to 240 Hz. That’s what we call ‘diminishing returns.’

Beyond a certain point (which is usually 240 Hz), the improvements in the brain response and visual smoothness are less noticeable. This suggests that while higher refresh rates do enhance our experience, there’s a limit to how much our brain can perceive this improvement.

At What Point Higher Refresh Rates Become Less Noticeable?

While tech companies often market their high-end monitors by touting ever-higher refresh rates, the real-world benefits of these increases aren’t always clear-cut. As the graph of “time between frames” demonstrates, the leap from 240 Hz to 360 Hz results in a barely noticeable time reduction – a mere few milliseconds.

For the average user, the visual experience above 240 Hz may not perceptibly improve. It’s the law of diminishing returns at play: the higher you go, the less you actually gain from each jump in refresh rate.

So while the numbers might look impressive on paper, the true value lies in a balance between performance and cost. Investing in a 240 Hz monitor offers the optimal mix of fluidity and value, ensuring you’re not paying extra for improvements that are hard to spot with the naked eye.

Individual Differences in Perceiving Refresh Rates

Individual Differences in Perceiving Refresh Rates

When it comes to spotting the difference between higher refresh rates, we’re not all the same. Indeed, while the graphs above show gains above 144 Hz are smaller, and those above 240 Hz are barely noticeable for most of us, it’s not the same story for everyone. Each person’s experience can vary based on how their brain picks up on these rapid changes.

You might have heard some people say they didn’t see much improvement when they switched from a 144 Hz to a 240 Hz monitor. This is because our brains don’t all process visual information in the same way. Some of us might spot the tiniest details in motion, while others might not see a change at all.


We hope this article helped answer your questions about refresh rates and your eyes. Still curious about something? Feel free to ask us in the comments – we love to chat about all things tech!

And hey, if you’re thinking about whether you should get a 1440p monitor, don’t miss our easy-to-read article on it. It’s full of cool stuff that could help you make your next big screen choice.

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Hi, I’m Abdelkader, a gamer and the founder of Gamer Around. I’ve been into gaming for the past 20 years and I love to share my passion and experience with you. Throughout these years, I managed to build a decent amount of knowledge and experience in PC hardware, but I’m always learning and improving.

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