Daylighting and Your Eyes: Why Natural Light is Better Than Artificial For Your Vision

Why Natural Light is Better Than Artificial For Your VisionIs there anything more relaxing than spending time in the summer sun? Scientists now believe that exposure to natural sunlight has benefits beyond fighting against bacteria and common illnesses. Spending time exposed to sunlight, although not in dangerous levels, is now believed to enhance your vision.

In a new study called The Association Between Time Spent Outdoors and Myopia in Children and Adolescents, researchers found a link between spending time exposed to natural light and reduced risks of near-sightedness. Spending three hours every day exposed to sunlight stimulates dopamine and regulates eyeball growth.

This is particularly important for young children and adolescents, as many vision problems develop in childhood and during puberty. Since dopamine regulates the amount of growth that occurs in the eyeball, it prevents near-sightedness, which is caused by eyes growing too long (from front to back) to focus on images.

The negative effects of artificial light on vision

While the scientific link between exposure to natural light and enhanced vision is relatively new, researchers have known for decades that excess exposure to light from artificial sources can cause serious damage to your vision.

Remember the old saying: “Spend too much time in front of the television and your eyes will become square?” While it may not be exactly true, the ideas behind this saying are true. Spending too long in environments lit artificially and the rate of vision problems that could affect you progressively increases.

According to VisionAware, spending too much time in buildings with fluorescent lighting can cause headaches and eye strain. This is because of the flickering that occurs with fluorescent lighting.

Other forms of artificial lighting aren’t free of health consequences. Incandescent light – the most popular form of lighting in homes – can also produce serious eye issues. Because incandescent bulbs produce areas of bright light, focusing on one source of light can lead to eye strain for people whose eyes can’t easily adjust.

Then there’s the heat issue. Many forms of artificial lighting, particularly halogen and incandescent lights, produce a massive amount of heat. Halogen lighting, in particular, produce so much heat when used for extended periods of time that a number of local governments consider them a fire hazard.

For your vision and for your health, natural light is best

It’s not just young people that benefit from exposure to natural light. Elders need more natural light than young people, according a new study printed in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, in order to fight against cataracts and establish healthy natural biorhythms.

Beyond these health issues, there are a wide range of general health benefits that are associated with exposure to natural light. Swiss researcher Mirjam Münch has studied the relationship between natural light and health, concluding that spending more time in naturally lit environments raises mood and increases energy levels.

Exposure to healthy natural light starts at home

You don’t need to visit the beach or walk in the park to enjoy the health benefits of natural light. By switching from artificial lighting to natural daylighting at work, or even at home, you can benefit from the health benefits of light exposure without having to make any changes to your lifestyle.

In addition, you can enjoy the financial benefits of energy efficient daylighting. This small change to your home or office’s infrastructure can produce significant savings in your monthly energy bill. For your vision, your productivity, and your finances, make the switch to natural daylighting for your home or workplace today.

“Image courtesy of Tom Merton/”

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