Reading in the dark or in low light is sure to do. When you were a child, your parents might have warned you not to force your eyes to read in the dark, because they think it will damage your eyes. However, if until now you think that the warning is only a myth, maybe you are wrong and maybe also true. When you dig a little deeper and look at some of the following scientific evidence, the myth about reading in the dark will become something more complex.
The relationship between light and eye health
The human eye is designed to be able to adjust to different light levels. If you try to read in the dark, your pupils will enlarge to take in more light through your retina lens. Cells in your retina, called stem cells and cone cells, use this light to provide information to the brain about what you see. If you are in a dark room, for example when you are just waking up, this process allows you to gradually get used to it from a pitch black to a glowing state. It looks when you turn on the light, you will feel a light that is so bright that the pupils eventually adjust.
The same thing happens if you force your eyes to read in the dark. Your eyes will make adjustments, but for some people it will cause headaches. Likewise when you see something very close, like reading a book or sewing, which requires a lot of eye adjustment. Muscles extend the area known as the vitreous space (gelatin from the eyeball that lies between the lens and the retina.
What is the effect on the eyes when reading in the dark?
Unfortunately, there are no studies that have examined the long-term effects of reading in the dark. So, we have to look at studies that examine different factors and try to gather information. Much of the research and debate on nearsightedness has focused on the effects of seeing things at close range, compared to the effect of reading in low light.
As explained above, Howard Howland, an ophthalmologist at Cornell University, says that in low light, your pupils must open wider to allow enough light to see. That changes the location where the light touches the retina, so the image will look blurry. So, the eye gets a signal to grow longer, so the image will touch the right place on the retina. And that will eventually cause farsightedness.
According to Richard Gans, MD, FACS, an ophthalmologist at the Cleveland Clinic of the Cole Eye Institute, said that low light may make it difficult to focus the eye, which can cause short-term eye fatigue, and there is no scientific evidence that reading in the dark has a long-term effect long.
“Challenging visual work, like reading a book without enough light, can also cause short-term eye drying because you blink less frequently,” said Gans. However, all that does not damage the structure or function of the eye. If dry eyes are the problem, you can use over-the-counter eye drops.
The influence of genetics
Dr. Jim Sheedy, an ophthalmologist and director of the Vision Performance Institute at Oregon’s Pacific University, witnessed that there was not enough evidence to suggest that what you were doing would lead to myopia ( nearsightedness ). “The main determinant of myopia is genetics,” said Dr. Sheedy. “This is a mother’s strategy to make her child go to sleep soon.”
The best thing we can do right now is that outdoor play seems to benefit the eyes and maybe children should learn in bright light to avoid fatigue in their eyes. For adults, this study was conducted on children whose eyes are still developing, so if you still want to read in a dark room, then that won’t affect anything. Of course, now you are old enough to decide on your own bedtime, so you don’t have to worry about being warned by parents for reading in the dark.