Does Reading in Dim Light Hurt Your Eyes?

Lonely Men In Shirt-sleeves
Lonely Men In Shirt-sleeves

According to Dr. Jim Sheedy, there is no evidence at all that reading in dim light, even reading an iPad in the dark, has any effect upon vision. Genetics, genetics, genetics – that is what matters. That and money, I guess. 

Mom always told us we’d go blind if we read in the dark. Does science back her up? Jim Sheedy, a doctor of vision science and director of the Vision Performance Institute at Oregon’s Pacific University, sets his sights on the truth.

Turns out, our parents were wrong. “There is no reason to believe nor evidence to support that any long-term damage to the eyes or change in the physiology to the eyes can be caused by reading in the dark,” Dr. Sheedy says.

…The lack of light will cause the pupils to dilate, resulting in a smaller depth of field—the distance between the nearest and farthest object that the eye considers to be in focus. Dr. Sheedy says the added effort to change focus (called the eye’s accommodative system) and the effort to change the angle of the lines of sight between the two eyes (called the vergent system) will likely make your eyes feel tired and your body spent. …Seeing Clearly Dr. Sheedy says he assures his students that there isn’t enough evidence to argue that what you do with your eyes leads to myopia (nearsightedness): “The predominant determinant of myopia is genetics.” No link to long-term damage has ever been conclusively shown, says Dr. Sheedy. “It’s an old tale, a ploy used by moms to get kids to go to sleep when they wanted them to,” he says.

Reading on a tablet device won’t damage your eyes, Dr. Sheedy says. His team has studied various fonts, computer displays and pixel resolutions, and found the difference in effect on the eye between reading e-ink and the printed word to be negligible.

(click here to continue reading Burning Question: Does Reading in Dim Light Hurt Your Eyes? –

Invasion of the Bookshelf
Invasion of the Bookshelf

Of course, this is just one scientist, and thus not the same weight as everybody’s mothers’ opinions, but I’ll sleep better tonight.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.