More and more people are wondering whether or not reading in the dark damages their eyesight. It is, in fact, one of those myths that doctors and scientists often find themselves talking about just to settle the controversy. Specifically, an article based on scientific evidence from a study by American researchers published in the prestigious British Medical Journal is quite relevant, stating that reading when there is low light does not damage vision permanently.
The relationship between the loss of vision and reading in bad light conditions would seem to be not strictly connected, even if it is impossible to deny that reading with a candle or with a low-power lamp can strain the eyes, and consequently the eyesight. This happens because, to focus on words, the eyes have to strain more, leading to greater fatigue in the long run. Again, the habit of squinting to be able to see better when there is not enough light, or, again, the increased effort-induced tearing and headaches are the direct consequences of reading in the dark. Therefore in the long run there will be no permanent effects on the view but only immediate annoyances.
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Why does reading in the dark require more effort?
Answering this question is not simple, because it is necessary to explain how the eye works. When reading in dim light, the eye activates two of its main tools: the ciliary muscle, which accommodates the lens, and the rods, which help focus the letters. There is therefore a greater effort that tires the eye during the action, often leading to migraines, but nothing serious in the long run. In fact, as soon as the eye is closed to sleep, it can safely rest and recover from the effort without any permanent damage, and therefore without losing sight. Therefore, those who love to read in the dim light of a candle or under the covers with a small lamp can do it safely and without any risk; at most, it is possible to pause several times to allow the eye to rest between pages.
With age, but also due to the constant use of PCs, tablets and smartphones, it is normal to have a decrease in vision due to the difficulty of the lens to accommodate itself. In these cases, the only solution is to wear glasses designed to correct the pathology you are suffering from, for example presbyopia, but nothing to do with reading in the dark. It is therefore an urban legend, which in reality is not based on any scientific evidence but only on popular beliefs. In any case, we always recommend consulting industry professionals for more information.
The choice of glasses
To safeguard eye health, it is essential to undergo a specialist visit on a regular basis, precisely in order to identify vision loss that must be corrected with the aid of glasses. The latter are essential to be able to read in any condition without straining the eye in the slightest. The aspect to be taken into consideration is that relating to the choice of glasses equipped with certified lenses and therefore safe for the eyes and for sight. Only in this way can you be sure that you have your own health and that of your eyes at heart, because, from poor vision, further problems arise related to the perception of obstacles and to your health in general.