Does trying to read in the dark harm your eyes? The truth revealed along with a personal account.

Essay by yankee842 December 2003

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Does trying to read in the dark harm your eyes?

Ever since I was old enough to read I enjoyed a good book. I would sneak one into bed with me and when my parents were asleep I would snuggle up in my blankets and sneak the book out from under the covers. I did not dare to turn on the bedroom light, as they would realize I was awake. I loved reading at night. I did that for years. Now I wear glasses. Did reading in the dark harm my eyes?

I've often been told, though I didn't listen, that reading in the dark can hurt your eyesight. Every time I was caught reading without proper light I would be lectured of how I was damaging my eyes. However, this is a myth. Reading in dim light does not affect your eyes. However, having to make the effort to see words in poor light can strain your eye muscles and cause your eyes, and your head, to ache.

Often after reading I would fall asleep book in hand. I couldn't read more than one to two chapters without developing a migraine size headache. My eyes throbbed and I thought they were going to pound out of their sockets. Reading in the dark does not affect eyesight but it does have side effects. As a second grader who delighted in reading my judgment of the situation was poor. I just didn't want to go to sleep. It was a way for me to quietly rebel against my set bedtime.

Looking back I loved those "nighttime stories." For me reading at night increased the book's level of adventure. It was a secret. No one knew I wasn't asleep.

However now that I'm older I...