Since childhood, we’re told that watching television in the dark is bad for the eyes. But, most of us simply ignore the rule as we age and glued to the screen in a darkened room. The questions remain, how watching television in the dark can be damaging to the eyes.

The television

When watching television in the dark, your eyes need adjusting to the light variation. You might think that the light emitting from the television remains intact but, it keeps on fluctuating with the scenes and background effects. Here’s how to prove the fact; look at the wall opposite to the television during the show and you’ll see light flashes of different variations in successions.

Remember that each time when the scene or shot on the television changes, or when you switch channels during the commercial, there’s a big change in the way the light emits from the tube. This sudden change and variation in levels make it hard for the eyes to adjust hence you end up having an eye strain which leads to; a factor which contributes to the development of glaucoma if remained untreated.

In a research conducted by the Lighting Research Centre, it was concluded that eye strain can be reduced to a certain extent by focusing on the brighter part of the television screen or the scene that’s on-air currently. Results also revealed that there’s less visual discomfort and fatigue with such lighting whereas the brain also responds quicker to the visual cues. This particular therapy is also recommended by eye experts and is labelled as ‘bias lighting’; which balances the contrasting effect between a brighter screen and a darkened room thereby reducing the eye strain.

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Television aside, most of us are also accustomed to working on the computers in the dark as well. Such is commonly done by teenagers than any other but even the wise grownups do this most of the time. This is the reason computer screens and televisions are now embedded with technology that comes with the dark, leaving your eyes unharmed. Still, too much of everything is harmful and even these screens can have pessimistic effects if overused.


During childhood, we’re also told not to read in the dark or dim lit room which can ruin our eye forever. But the coming of e-readers and tablets put an end to the old saying as the devices are used for the purpose in the dark which eventually cause eye strain and overuse leads to dry eye syndrome due to the difference in the pixel quality and lighting. Still, newer models and improved technology allow lighting and contrast effects to adjust automatically which is gentler to the eyes yet, not 100% harmless.

While reading from the e-reader or the usual textbook, be sure there’s a secondary light source or bias lighting. You can soften the background lighting but keep it strong enough to reduce the eye strain and other harmful effects.

Have your eyesight checked after every six months and blink often during the screen time.