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Can Reading in the Dark Ruin your Eyes?

You may have heard "don’t read in the dark. It is bad for your eyes." Hearing this you may have been scared that the action itself could ruin your eyes and vision. While it is already hard enough to see the words on a page of a book in the dark, is it also bad for your eyes to even try to read in a dark environment?

The truth about reading in the dark

Reading in the dark can cause strain in your eyes. This means blurred vision and fatigued eyes. It may even lead to headaches. However, all of these symptoms are temporary. Do not worry something bad has happened. Your vision will not become permanently affected by reading in the dark or in other dimly lit settings that make you read a word twice because of the difficulty in seeing. Your eyes themselves, meaning the health of your eyes, will not be affected by reading in the dark either.

Why read in the dark???

If you do not have to, why read in the dark or even in poorly lit areas? Simple answer is don’t. Though the “side effects” of reading in the dark are mild, the environment you read in is more important as you grow older. Reading in the best light conditions is especially more and more important as one becomes older. Because aging reduces one’s vision, better lighting is even more important to read comfortably and place less strain on the eyes. Reading in the dark or other dimly lit settings makes reading harder and more ineffective. You cannot read as fast as you would like to if you do not have good lighting to see the words on a book or a piece of paper.

To read or to not read in the dark?

Don’t read in the dark. It wastes time when you are straining to read the words on the page. The best conditions to read in for fun may be in the morning when the sun and the light shine through the window for you to read in. But if you do read in the dark, don’t worry too much about your eyes.



Does reading in the dark really hurt your eyes? SHARP. 2018 August 2.

Eye Care Myths: Will Reading In Dim Light Ruin Your Vision? OCLI Vision. 2012 January 19.


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