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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.

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.

Un éclairage approprié est important pour la lecture

Que ce soit un livre de poche, une livre numérique ou une tablette, il est essentiel de comprendre pourquoi utiliser le bon type d’éclairage dans votre environnement de lecture a de l’importance.

Si la lecture dans l’obscurité ne peut pas causer de dommages permanents aux yeux, elle peut tout de même engendrer des effets à court terme qui pourraient être évités sous forme de maux de tête ou de fatigue oculaire. Dans cette optique, voici quelques astuces pour votre environnement de lecture que vous devriez prendre en considération pour vous-même ou vos enfants.

  • Soyez attentif à la luminosité que dégagent les écrans numériques par rapport à votre environnement de lecture. De nos jours, les livres de poche sont délaissés pour les livres numériques – y compris dans le cas des manuels scolaires –, et il est donc important de se rappeler que l’éclairage d’une lecture devrait être d’une luminosité égale ou supérieure à celle de votre appareil numérique. Par conséquent, évitez de lire dans des endroits sombres. Lire sur un appareil numérique dans une pièce sombre peut être une source d’inconfort au point que vous soyez moins concentré, voire désorienté puisque vos yeux doivent s’ajuster constamment à la luminosité de l’écran et à la faible lumière ambiante. De plus, une pièce sombre ne fournit pas assez de clarté pour lire un livre de poche.
  • Prévoyez un meilleur éclairage pour les tâches à la maison. On entend par là un éclairage artificiel qui facilite une activité comme la lecture. Selon Graham Strong, de l’école d’optométrie de l’Université de Waterloo, la plupart des habitations sont tout à fait sous-éclairées, ce qui fait que vos yeux peuvent se fatiguer bien plus vite. Pour des tâches comme la lecture, la source d’éclairage devrait être disposée de manière à rayonner directement sur les pages et non au‑dessus de vos épaules pour prévenir l’éblouissement.

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Reading glasses: How will I know if I’m ready?

When you pick up a book or your smartphone, do you need to stretch your arm and hold it further away from your eyes to see the words? When you go grocery shopping, do you need to take a step back from the shelves to read the ingredient lists? These are all signs of presbyopia – a common and normal age-related vision condition – which means it’s probably time to get reading glasses.

Blurry close vision is a clear sign to visit our friendly Ottawa, Ontario, eye doctor, at Bastien & Prizant for an eye exam. We’ll check your sight for near and distance to prescribe the best eyeglasses to give you 20/20 vision.

Signs that you need reading glasses

  1. Over age 40 – while everyone’s eyes change at a different pace, most people develop presbyopia (a normal part of aging) in their forties. This common vision condition makes it hard for your eyes to focus on nearby objects.
  2. Computer work tires your eyes – do you experience fatigue and heavy eyelids when working at your computer or any type of detailed work? Untreated presbyopia can strain your eyes. In addition to blinking more and taking breaks to let your eyes rest, the right pair of bifocal/multifocal eyeglasses or reading glasses can boost your eye energy.
  3. Halos appear around lights – when your lens can’t focus light properly onto your retina, it can cause fuzzy vision, especially when looking at lightbulbs or headlights.
  4. You need brighter light to read – if you always feel that the room is too dim, it can also be a sign that you need reading glasses. Older people tend to need more light to achieve 20/20 vision.
  5. Headaches – straining your eyes can lead to headaches, especially the type of pain that you feel right behind your eyes. Painful vision is a sign that you need to visit our Ottawa, Ontario, eye care center for an eye exam.

Still not sure you need reading glasses? Schedule a comprehensive eye exam!

Dr. Harry Prizant will check your vision and eye health thoroughly to issue your precise vision prescription for eyeglasses or reading glasses. We’ll also inspect the health of your eyes to make sure your symptoms aren’t due to another problem; such as eye disease. Remember, eyes and vision change with age, so regular follow-up eye exams are essential!

At Bastien & Prizant, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 613-800-5950 or book an appointment online to see one of our Ottawa eye doctors.

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