Science Says Reading Outside Is Better for Your Eyes
Whether you opt to leaf through a good book in a park or next to the pool, getting outside to read in general can actually do wonders for your eyes. According to the Daily Mail, a new study from State University of New York College of Optometry researchers explained that reading a hardcover book in the great outdoors enhances light contrast levels, which means you're able to see letters on each page more clearly.
"The amount of light is continuously changing in our visual world. Our work demonstrates image brightness changes our sensitivity to light and dark contrast to efficiently extract information from natural scenes," Dr. Hamed Rahimi-Nasrabadi, the study's lead, said. "Findings from the investigation conclude you can now feel good when you decide to read your favorite book outdoors. You can say it is scientifically proven visual contrast increases outdoors and, therefore, reading under bright light stimulates your visual brain more effectively, allows you to see the letters better, and helps your eyesight."
As part of their study, the researchers conducted tests on cats and humans to measure how their visual neurons would react to dark or light squares. Each test subject used EEG, formally known as electroencephalography, which are skullcaps that analyze brainwaves. Their findings? The visual contrast was greater outside, which means bright lights help spark your visual brain. Plus, the luminance response, which is the difference in light intensity when light enters your eye and goes through its structures in comparison to your surroundings, changed with the dark and light squares in the study experiment. This explains why darker letters are seen easier than gray ones on white pages in a book.
"The opposite shifts of dark and light contrast with light intensity can be demonstrated in neurons of the visual cortex, natural scenes, and appear to be well preserved across different species of mammals," Dr. Rahimi-Nasrabadi said. "The new findings can be also used to improve current algorithms of image processing and metrics of visual contrast."