Can Reading While Laying Down Be Harmful to Your Eyes?

If you’re a person who enjoys reading in bed, well-meaning folks may have warned you against the practice. “I read an article that says you can destroy your eyes that way,” they cautioned. Do you really need to put a stop to reading while lying down, or is that just an old wives’ tale?

The truth of the matter lies somewhere in the middle. It’s correct that reading while you’re lying down can put a strain on your eyes. The practice won’t rob you of your vision, however. Even still, when it comes to reading in bed, keep in mind the following eye health tips.

The Problem
When you lie flat on your back and hold a book on your chest, your eyes fall on the page at a strange angle. Your Raleigh eye doctor recommends holding your reading material at a 60-degree angle to your eyes, but you can’t do that well when lying down.

Plus, you may have to hold your reading material closer to your face than you would in a sitting-up position. Normally, you should keep a book about 15 inches from your eyes. In order to read at the extreme angle necessary in bed, you will probably have to move it much closer to your face.

The Condition
Holding your reading material in an uncomfortable position can strain the muscles around your eyes. The official name for this condition is asthenopia.

It won’t permanently damage your eyes or cause you to go blind, but it doesn’t feel good either. Symptoms of asthenopia include:

  • Eye pain and discomfort.
  • Blurred or double vision.
  • Headaches.
  • Light sensitivity.
  • Dry or watery eyes.
  • Neck discomfort.

If these symptoms are affecting your eyes, consult an optometrist in Raleigh.

The Solution
This doesn’t mean that you can never read in bed. However, you should keep some eye health tips in mind.

First of all, consider changing your position when reading in bed. Prop yourself up so you can read at a more natural angle.

Also, limit the amount of time that you spend reading while lying down. You’ll notice fewer symptoms if you do it for only a few minutes instead of a few hours.

Finally, for optimal eye health, schedule regular exams with an optometrist in Raleigh. Call our Raleigh eye doctor office to book your appointment.