Purpose: Previous studies have shown that time spent outdoors is protective against myopia development in children. In this study, we examined the effects of 500 and 1000 lux of illumination to the eye on axial length (AL) and choroidal thickness (CT) changes in young adults. Methods: Fifteen participants (mean age, 21.60 years [2.16]) with a mean refraction of −0.34 D (0.37) were exposed to 500 and 1000 lux of illumination for 120 min in a dark room on two different days, using a pair of light-emitting glasses. Ocular measurements were repeated on an additional day in darkness (~5 lux). Ocular biometrics and CT were measured and analysed in the right eye before the light exposure (0 min), after 30, 60 and 120 min of exposure and 30 min after light offset to measure recovery using the Lenstar biometer and the Cirrus optical coherence tomographer, respectively. Results: Exposure to 500 and 1000 lux of illumination resulted in a significant reduction in AL at 30, 60 and 120 min compared to darkness (AL change at 120 min: darkness, +0.020 mm [0.004]; 500 lux, −0.006 mm [0.004]; 1000 lux, −0.013 mm [0.004]; p < 0.001). Exposure to 500 and 1000 lux caused a significant overall thickening of the subfoveal choroid compared to darkness (CT change across 120 min: darkness, −0.010 mm [0.007]; 500 lux, +0.006 mm [0.005]; 1000 lux, +0.009 mm [0.003], p = 0.02). Ocular changes were not significantly different between the two illumination levels (p > 0.05) and returned to baseline within 30 min of light offset. Conclusions: Exposure to mild- or moderate-intensity illumination on the eye can induce a significant short-term reduction in AL and an increase in CT in young adults. Future studies on larger cohorts with varying light intensities are needed to better understand the effects of ocular illumination on AL changes in humans.
- axial length
- choroidal thickness