how light affects visionWhen you were a child, it’s likely you were told that reading in the dark could harm your eye health.  While many might attribute this cautionary wisdom as an old wives’ tale, it turns out those crafty wives might have been on to something.  In fact, researchers have pointed out that light can impact our eye health and pathways within the brain.

A team of researchers recently spoke on the importance of light in health and vision at the Environments for Aging Conference.  These findings will later be published in the Health Environments Research and Design Journal; however, the keynotes at the conference hinted at the fact that light is critical in preserving the health and vision of older patients.

These researchers argued that as the eye ages, it becomes thicker, which makes it difficult for light to get through.  This impacts a critical receptor in the eye that connects the hypothalamus in the brain, which is responsible for managing our mental and emotional health.  This is why patients who suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) often need the light from a sunlamp in order to minimize the effects of this common disorder.

To help get as much light as possible into your life, it’s recommended that you take the following steps:

  • Get outside as much as possible, especially at times when sunlight is the strongest.  Even going for a 30-minute walk can provide you with the sunlight you need to combat depression, vision disorders, and other conditions that often occur due to a lack of vitamin D.
  • Ensure that you have plenty of lighting in your home.  Make note of places where you commonly read or go on the computer, and ensure that you have enough lighting to support your eyes during these leisure times.
  • Ensure you’re sleeping in total darkness.  Even the smallest amount of light can disrupt your REM cycle, resulting in an increased risk for a multitude of health and vision problems.
  • If you work or live in a place where the lighting is poor, insist upon your right to better lighting.  You shouldn’t have to sit in a dim place – and you need to vocalize this right.

To help maintain your health and vision, it’s also important to schedule regular check-ups with your ophthalmologist.  Visit Dr. Jacqueline Griffiths at NewView Eye Center in Reston, VA today. We serve the Washington, DC metro, as well as all of Fairfax County and Northern Virginia. Schedule your consultation today by filling out the form in the top right corner or calling 703-834-9777.