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Is reading whilst lying down bad for your eyes?

Settling down with a good book is one of life’s simplest pleasures, but is reading whilst lying down detrimental to your vision?

Eye strain

Whilst lying down our posture creates an additional strain on the eyes. A healthy reading distance is about 15 inches, whilst the optimum reading angle is 60 degrees. For wearers of bifocals, this will be slightly lower. Your eyes have to focus upwards when you read lying down and reading at this angle can cause severe eyestrain when it happens over a sustained period of time. This leads to a condition called asthenopia.  Asthenopia causes symptoms such as fatigue, discomfort in or around the eyes, blurred vision, headache and sometimes double vision.

Reading whilst in a horizontal position causes a strain on the muscles around the eyes.  The strain is particularly felt by the extraocular muscles that are responsible for eye movement.

The fatigue caused by reading when lying down can mean that you’re taking a little longer to read each page.  More noticeable symptoms can include; a burning sensation, redness, irritation, dryness, and headache.

Thankfully the eye strain caused whilst reading when lying down will not result in permanent damage, but it is still good to be aware of eyestrain if you read like this for prolonged periods.  Be aware of the symptoms of eye fatigue, react to what your body is telling you and take a break from reading when the symptoms occur.

The best way to ensure your eyes are at their optimum health is to have an eye examination every two years.  A comprehensive eye test with Optical Express will identify early signs of eye disease, such as glaucoma and cataracts, as well as checking for a number of other general health conditions. Early diagnosis can prevent or delay more serious damage. Your optometrist will advise you on how frequently you should have an eye test, but for most people, it's every two years.

After your eye examination, you’ll receive your free iScan report after the test.  This report includes details of the health, prescription and diagnostics of each of your eyes.

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