For many people, light is not something that they place high value on. To them, its most important contribution is helping people see at night or when inside a dark room or area. We take for granted little mechanisms that involve light, such as flipping a switch or a sudden burst of light from a certain direction.
As a matter of fact, light has a major role to play when it comes to our overall health and everyday functioning. Even more interesting is how it can impact your brain’s pathways, a phenomenon that continues to be researched by many. Natural light in particular, which comes from the rays of the sun, has been reported to be essential to eye health, as long as overexposure to it is avoided.
Good ‘ol sunshine helps the human body produce Vitamin D, which plays an important role in slowing down the aging process and improving your vision. Eyes that lack exposure to natural light tend to look dull and lifeless, not to mention develop photophobia, which is extreme sensitivity to sunshine.
While it is true that going outdoors for a prolonged period without protection from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage the skin and the eyes, there have been new developments that show how natural light can facilitate normal eye development among kids, not to mention maintain healthy biorhythms as we grow older.
Natural Light Reduces the Risk of Nearsightedness in Children
It is said that spending at least three hours a day basking in the sun can help lower the risk of nearsightedness, which is also commonly known as myopia, in children and young adults. Spending time outdoors increases exposure to natural light and stimulates the production of , dopamine, a chemical that is found in the eye that promotes normal eyeball growth.
The reason why normal growth and development is crucial for the eyes is because when an eye is overdeveloped or grows longer than expected, it would not be able to focus any received images on the retina, causing myopia. As long as kids wear UV protection and UV-blocking eyewear, they can get the health benefits that natural light offers.
Elderly People Can Benefit From Exposure to Natural Light
As people get older, the less chance they have to go outside and enjoy the warm sunshine. However, some studies show that people have a higher need for natural light as they grow older. One particular component of the spectrum of light, which is called the blue light, is known to also promote a smooth functioning of bodily rhythms.
As the lenses of the eyes start to age, they begin to lose their ability to absorb the blue light. As a result, the brain is able to produce less and less melatonin, which is essential in regulating sleep-wake cycles. The result is an increased risk for insomnia and other problems related to sleep, which could lead to more complex conditions such as chronic depression and cardiovascular disease.
So the next time you decide to stay indoors while the sun is brightly shining outside, think again. You are actually helping your eyes by staying under the sun.