Skip to content

    Eye Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Reading in Dim Light


    WebMD Magazine - Feature

    Q: My daughter loves to read by a dim light at night. Isn’t it true that this could damage her eyes?

    A: Conventional wisdom claims that reading in the dark wrecks the eyes. But children everywhere who love to read at night under the covers can rejoice, because this myth is FALSE.

    Recommended Related to Eye Health

    Understanding Glaucoma -- Treatment

    Treatment of open-angle glaucoma -- the most common form of the disease -- requires lowering the eye's pressure by increasing the drainage of aqueous humor or decreasing the production of the fluid. Medications can accomplish both of these goals. Surgery and laser treatments are directed at improving the eye's aqueous drainage. If not diagnosed early, open-angle glaucoma may significantly damage vision and even cause blindness. That is why it's so important to have your eye doctor test you regularly...

    Read the Understanding Glaucoma -- Treatment article > >

    Dim light might make it difficult for the eyes to focus, which can cause short-term eye fatigue, says Richard Gans, MD, FACS, an ophthalmologist with the Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute. "But there is no scientific evidence that reading in the dark does any long-term harm to your eyes," Gans says.

    Challenging visual work, such as reading in insufficient light, can also lead to short-term drying of eyes because you blink less often, Gans adds. Again, this is uncomfortable, but it doesn’t damage the structure or function of the eyes. You can use over-the-counter lubricating drops if dry eyes are a problem.

    On the off chance that your next question is going to be, "What about sitting too close to the TV?" we have the same answer. Getting too close to the set for your favorite shows won’t harm your eyes -- "either from overfocusing or from radiation," Gans says.

    Reviewed on May 01, 2008

    Today on WebMD

    Woman holding tissue to reddened eye
    Learn about causes, symptoms, and treatments.
    eye
    Simple annoyance or the sign of a problem?
     
    red eyes
    Symptoms, triggers, and treatments.
    blue eye with contact lens
    Tips for wearing and caring.
     
    Understanding Stye
    Article
    human eye
    Article
     
    eye
    Video
    eye exam timing
    Video
     
    vision test
    Tool
    is vision correction surgery for you
    Article
     
    high tech contacts
    Article
    eye drop
    Article