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7 Best Practices for Reading in Dim Lighting

Reading is a great way to end the day, but be careful not to let the lighting around you change to the point where it is causing strain on your eyes. Reading in dim lighting won’t cause permanent damage to your eyes, but it can lead to eye strain and headaches. Whether you’re a paperback book reader or an e-reader, avoid eye strain by following these best practices for reading in dim lighting.

Remember to blink

First and foremost, don’t let your focus on the words keep you from blinking. Blinking helps keep your eyes lubricated, which in turn helps you avoid eye strain.

Try eye drops 

Finding that your eyes dry out no matter how many times you blink while reading? Try lubricating eye drops! You can even ask your eye care professional for a prescription.

Use the 20-20-20 rule

Just like when working on a device, follow the 20-20-20 rule when reading. This means that for every 20 minutes of reading, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away.

Make sure you have enough reading light

Making sure you have adequate light to read by is essential, whether that means with lamps or a reading light.

Take note that if you use a reading light, place it at an angle that avoids any shadows or glares. 

Adjust your room and screen lighting

More of an e-reader? It’s important you follow the best practices for reading in dim lighting as well! When reading on a digital screen, try to make the room in which you’re reading have a similar brightness to your screen.

If you’re an avid e-reader, you can even ask your doctor about blue light glasses.

Keep your reading material close

When reading in dim lighting, remember to keep your reading material at an arm’s length to allow for easy focusing.

Ask your doctor about reading glasses

If the text is too small to read comfortably at an arm’s length with the proper lighting, it may be time to invest in reading glasses. Make sure you keep up with your regular eye exams and ask your doctor about reading glasses at your next appointment.


So, next time you are doing some nighttime reading, remember these seven best practices for reading in dim lighting. If you find yourself still squinting or feel like you may need eyeglasses, contact your local Mississippi Eye Care Clinic!

Finally, for more eye care tips and industry updates, continue reading our blogs.