Eyesight improvement tip #3
Minimize artificial light

People who are only exposed to natural light (fire is ok) have pretty regular, consistent daily fluctuations in certain hormones. One such hormone is melatonin. Its level increases at night - which helps us fall asleep and enhances the natural ability of our body to recover when we sleep.

If we look at a bright light (especially blue light) during the night, the level of melatonin drops, and we slow down natural healing processes during this night. By the way, taking melatonin tablets has some adverse effects, and I don't recommend it.

In the ideal world, you want to avoid artificial lights altogether. However, for most modern people, it's not realistic. So what to do?

Maybe you don't need artificial light in the first place?

First, before you do anything, ask yourself: "Can I use natural light right now?" Chances are you can:

  • Move your furniture closer to the window.
  • Make sure your curtains don't block too much light.
  • Open the window to allow even more light to enter the room.
  • Work on the balcony.
  • Listen to an audiobook or make calls while walking in a park.
  • Run outside instead of going to the gym with fluorescent lights.

Artificial ambient light

If you don't have an option and absolutely must be inside, your main goal with ambient lights is to imitate as closely as possible natural sunlight during this day. That means:

  • Use full-spectrum lighting when the sun is high in the sky.
  • Start reducing the brightness of your ambient lights closer to the sunset.
  • After sunset, use only dim light and "warm" color mode. Usually, it looks reddish with almost no blue light.

I personally don't use artificial ambient lights during the day and use smart light bulbs in the evening. Such bulbs can automatically adjust the color mode according to the user-defined schedule.

Avoid fluorescent lights at all costs. Those represent a major health risk on several levels.

Computer and cell phone screens and eyesight improvement

The average American spends 7 hours looking at a screen each day including 2 hours and a half of social media.

Most likely your computer or mobile device can show the statistics of your screen time. I suggest you review the numbers. You can then decide whether spending 17 hours a week on social media is something that you want to do on a regular basis.

For now, let's assume you really need all this screen time. How to minimize the risks?

Alternatives to computer screen

You can use the following approaches to reduce your screen time:

  • Use text-to-speech technology if you need to read something.
  • Use speech recognition software instead of writing.
  • Prioritize paper and e-ink screens.

Projectors are often advertised as an eye-friendly alternative to computer monitors. With projectors, the light is reflected from the wall and, in theory, is better than the light from the light-emitting screens.

Unfortunately, there's one big problem with the projectors. In order to keep a comfortable contrast level, you need to dim your room which contradicts the eyesight improvement tip #2 - Get plenty of natural light.

Use E-ink screens to reduce eye strain

E-ink screens are one of the best ways to reduce eye strain. I highly recommend you introduce them into your life.

When it comes to reading books, we obviously have e-readers. There are several decent color e-readers available on the market.

There's a couple of e-ink computer monitors. Black-and-white Boox Mira, for example, even supports video playback.

E-ink cell phones exist, for example, Mudita Pure or Light Phone II. However, these phones don't support most of the popular apps, which may be a good thing for some people.

With the exception of e-readers and tablets, unfortunately, the industry is not really interested in e-ink technology. A color e-ink display with video support from the company CLEARink Displays has existed since 2019, but it was never released to the public.

I strongly believe that color e-ink screens are the future of our digital world. The question is what company will have the guts to invest in this technology and change the status quo. It's a huge market...

LCD screens and eyesight improvement

If you still need to use a regular LCD screen, follow the same principles described above for the ambient artificial light:

  • Use full-spectrum color mode when the sun is high in the sky.
  • Start reducing the brightness of the screen closer to the sunset.
  • After sunset, reduce the brightness even more and switch to the "warm" color mode.

Some people prefer to use the "warm" mode even during the day. I suggest you experiment and see what is most comfortable for your eyes.

Luckily there are ways to adjust your screen's color mode and brightness automatically depending on the time of day. It will depend on the operating system of your device:

Android Blue light filter
iOS Night Shift
Windows f.lux
macOS f.lux

Recommended books

  • Optimal Eyesight by Esther Joy van der Werf
  • Light: Medicine Of The Future by Jacob Liberman

Eyesight improvement tips from an evolutionary point of view