When researching monitor reviews, you may have noticed the reviewer mention backlight bleed or IPS glow.
It’s easy to confuse these two issues because the effect looks very similar but they’re not the same.
In this article, I’ll explain the differences between backlight bleed vs. IPS glow and how you can reduce the effects.
Understanding the difference is important because one is a defect while the other is a normal issue.
Backlight Bleed vs IPS Glow
Backlight bleed is a defect that occurs on ageing LCD monitors which looks like the light is creeping around the edges of the display.
IPS glow is an issue unique to IPS panels. It looks like certain areas of your screen are glowing white, usually in the centre or corners. IPS glow can also change depending on your viewing angle.
Backlight Bleed vs IPS Glow Comparison
|Backlight Bleed||IPS Glow|
|Affected by Viewing Angles:||No||Yes|
|Appearance:||Edges or sides of the screen||Usually in the center and corners of the screen|
|Visible on New Monitors:||If noticeable, a refund is recommended.||Yes. Normal on IPS displays.|
Backlight bleed is a defect with LCD displays and it’s usually permanent. Unfortunately, it’s very common, and it gets worse with time.
It happens as the liquid crystals in a display start to break down and can no longer filter colours from the backlight.
The speed of deterioration depends on the quality of the panel and how often it’s used.
You may notice severe backlight bleed on old laptop screens, TVs, monitors, and even phones. It can range from barely noticeable to extremely noticeable.
You can only slightly reduce the effect by lowering the brightness of your display. Adjusting viewing angles won’t affect the backlight bleed issue.
The good news is backlight bleed doesn’t mean your monitor is nearing its end of life.
A display can continue working for many years with backlight bleed. It’s mostly a distracting visual defect, clustered around the edges of the screen.
To test if your monitor has backlight bleed, open an image that is a solid black colour.
If your monitor has a backlight bleed, you’ll notice certain bright spots on the edges of your screen. Naturally, if you drag something into the corners, the colours will look very faded.
Of course, backlight bleed should not be noticeable on a brand-new monitor.
If your monitor has a significant amount of backlight bleed, I recommend returning it for a replacement.
You can also use this Backlight Bleed Test website.
IPS glow is not a defect. IPS glow is a unique issue to displays using IPS panels and it’s unavoidable.
It looks similar to a backlight bleed and is most noticeable with a black background.
However, the glowing clusters around the corners of the display are affected by viewing angles. It looks more like clouds or splotches of white.
In other words, if you look at the monitor from different angles, the glow will disappear.
If the glow does not disappear, it’s likely backlight bleed.
Unfortunately, every IPS panel will have some level of IPS glow. IPS glow will be less noticeable on high-quality IPS panels than on budget panels.
It’s one of the sacrifices the IPS technology makes in order to deliver high-quality colours.
IPS glow is more noticeable when your monitor is in a dark room and cranked to the highest brightness settings.
Can You Fix Backlight Bleed?
Most of the time, you can’t fix the backlight bleed. The only way to fix the backlight bleed is to have the entire LCD panel replaced.
Unfortunately, that is often more expensive than buying a brand-new monitor.
How to reduce the backlight bleed effect:
- Reduce the monitor’s brightness (around 20-30 % brightness seems to be the sweet spot)
- Keep a light on
- Install LED lights behind your monitors to distract you
- Slightly loosen the screws on the display (the backlight bleed could be caused by uneven pressure)
- Issue an RMA if under warranty
- Gently rub the affected areas with a microfiber cloth (similar to fixing dead pixels)
Does Backlight Bleeding Get Better?
An old monitor with a backlight bleed that is long passed the warranty window won’t get better with time.
In some cases, the backlight bleed effect on new monitors can get better.
There are several reports from people who swear the backlight bleed on their monitors got better with time.
One Reddit thread describes the situation in detail.
The reason for that could be because the pressure on the panel is highest when it’s fresh out of the factory.
Monitor manufacturers may have tightened the screws too much, creating uneven pressure on the panel, leading to backlight bleed and distortion.
Over time, with regular use, the heat generated from the monitor may reduce the pressure and eliminate backlight bleed.
You could also slightly loosen the screws on the monitor panel. However, some monitors have complicated panels that are difficult to remove.
There’s also a risk you can make the problem worse. Not to mention tampering with the screws will void your monitor’s warranty.
For your peace of mind, it’s usually better to request an RMA on a new monitor that has a significant backlight bleed.
Can You Fix IPS Glow?
No. IPS glow is an issue with the IPS technology and cannot be fixed.
The only solution is to try to reduce the effects by lowering the monitor’s brightness, installing ambient lights, or changing the viewing angle.
If the IPS glow on your IPS monitor is too intense, I recommend swapping the monitor for one that has a different panel.
Are you looking for a new gaming monitor? Take a look at our best monitor panels for gamers.
How to Reduce IPS Glow
- Reduce Brightness
- Install Ambient Lights or LED lights behind your display
- Adjust brightness, colour, and gamma using software (e.g. Nvidia Control Panel)
Does IPS Glow Go Away?
No. IPS glow is permanent and unique to IPS panels. The good news is it usually won’t get worse with time like blacklight bleed.
The Bottom Line
To summarise, backlight bleed and IPS glow are not the same. Backlight bleed is a defect with LCD panels and gets worse over time. IPS glow is unique to IPS panels and there’s no avoiding it.
Before buying a monitor, it’s a good idea to test the monitor with a black background to see the level of IPS glow in person.
If your brand new monitor has blacklight bleed, consider requesting an RMA on it. It’s considered a defect.