Why Proper Lighting is Important While Reading

Whether reading a paperback, e-reader or tablet, it’s important to understand why the right type of lighting is important for your reading environment.

Last Updated: March 18, 2023

While permanent damage to our eyes cannot be caused by reading in the dark, it can lead to short term effects which are completely avoidable – such as headaches and eye strain. With that in mind, here are a few reading environment tips to take into consideration for children and yourself.

Be mindful of the brightness of digital screen vs. your reading environment

As many books are now switching from paperback to digital – including student textbooks – it’s important to remember that the lighting of the area you’re reading in should be as bright or brighter than your digital device. Therefore, avoid reading in dark rooms. Reading from digital devices in a dark room can cause discomfort, leading to lower concentration and disorientation because your eyes are constantly adjusting between the brightness of a screen and your dimly lit surroundings. Additionally, dark rooms will not provide sufficient lighting if you’re reading a paperback book.

Increase task lighting in your home

Task lighting refers to artificial light that increase illuminance for activities, such as reading. Most households are significantly under lit,  says Graham Strong from the University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry, which can cause your eyes to tire out much quicker. For tasks such as reading, light should be positioned to shine directly onto the page and not over your shoulder to avoid any glare.

To ensure your child’s eyes are kept in good health for reading and other developmental activities, make sure to book regular appointments with a local doctor of optometry.

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