A survey commissioned by Panasonic and undertaken by researchers at a Munich University has found that plasma televisions cause less eye strain than an LCD at a similar brightness level. 

The researchers sat 31 people - male and female - down in front of a series of different types of content displayed on alternate plasma and LCD televisions and recorded their eye movements, both around the eye and the size of the iris. They watched a 45 minute compilation of a series of adverts, a clip from an action film, and a clip from a calmer movie.

The team found that less pupil diameter variation was seen when watching plasma televisions than watching an LCD of similar brightness, with the result achieving statistical significance at the 95% level. The difference was particularly noticeable when watching adverts and the action movie.

Plasma watchers also saw less eye movement than LCD viewers while watching the action movie though the results were similar for the other content types. This result achieved statistical significance at a 99% confidence level.

You'll want to take the results with a pinch of salt, however. While we're not doubting the ethics of the researchers behind the project, the fact that one of the world's largest plasma television manufacturers bankrolled a survey where plasmas came out on top should raise a few eyebrows. We wonder if the company would be publishing the results if LCD displays proved less straining.