Surely as a child each of us heard the phrase “don’t read in this dark, you’ll ruin your eyesight” and learned that reading in semi-darkness is dangerous to the eyes. How true is that? Our eyes are constantly adapting, including adapting to different levels of light. For example, when the curtains are pulled sharply apart in a dark room, the light from the window seems unbearably bright, but then we get used to it and do not feel uncomfortable.

Does Reading in Bad Light Damage My Eyesight?

A few years ago, a study was published that found the common belief that dim light is bad for the eyes to be incorrect. The authors of this publication analyzed numerous studies that have linked poor vision and reading, and concluded that any changes in visual function are only temporary. Reading in low light is really quite uncomfortable because of the tension of the eyes, they are tired, it is much harder to focus, there is dryness and you may have a headache. But all the unpleasantness disappears as soon as you go back into the light, or stop reading and go to sleep, for example. This is the case for adults with healthy eyes. The authors did not find any studies that could confirm a direct link between reading in the dark and refractive disorders.

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But, it is important for children and adolescents with myopia to read in bright light, as lack of light can lead to progression of myopia.

Lamp for reading

Why Shouldn’t You Read in Low Light?

If you believe the findings of scientists, reading in dim light is safe for the eyes. On the other hand, ensuring the comfort of the visual organs when reading in such conditions will be difficult. Trying to focus, the eyes are under increased strain, which puts a lot of strain on the eyes. It can provoke fatigue, headaches and other discomfort.

Thus, overstretching the eye muscles when reading in the dark indirectly affects vision, because it can provoke an increase in intraocular pressure and increase the risk of glaucoma.

Also, low light affects the eyes with dryness. When trying to look at small print in semi-darkness, a person blinks less frequently. As a result, the eyes are poorly wetted, the tear film is not renewed, and there is a burning sensation and discomfort.

Even if your vision is not affected by poor lighting, there are other reasons to reject the dim lamp.

There are other reasons not to read in the dark. Poor lighting decreases productivity and impairs perception of information. A recent study showed that dim light is bad for the brain and impairs attention, memory, and other important human cognitive processes.

So even though there is no direct evidence linking reading in the dark to poor eyesight, it is better to take the risk of reading in good light.  This will avoid unnecessary strain, eye fatigue, will ensure high performance and well-being.

What Lighting is Considered Optimal for Reading?

Thus, we can conclude that it is not necessary to read in a dark room. Even if the vision after this does not deteriorate, the eyes and the body as a whole will experience discomfort.

Optimal for reading is considered natural lighting, which allows you to avoid straining the eye muscles. In this case the light should not be direct, which blinds the eyes, and a soft, diffused.

Read also: What Color Light is Good for Headaches

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