Given the possible role of spectral composition of light and myopia, this study aimed at investigating the variation in the spectral composition of ambient light in different (a) outdoor/indoor locations, (b) time of a day and (c) seasons.
The spectral power distribution (SPD), categorised into short (380-500 nm), middle (505-565 nm) and long wavelengths (625-780 nm), was recorded using a handheld spectrometer at three outdoor locations (‘open playground’, ‘under shade of tree’ and ‘canopy’) and three indoor locations (‘room with multiple windows’, ‘closed room’ and ‘closed corridor’). Readings were taken at five different time points (3-h intervals between 6:30 and 18:00 hours) on two days, each during the summer and monsoon seasons.
The overall median SPD (IQR [25th-75th percentile] W/nm/m ) across the three outdoor locations (0.11 [0.09, 0.12]) was 157 times higher than that of the indoor locations (0.0007 [0.0001, 0.001]). Considerable locational, diurnal and seasonal variation was observed in the distribution of the median SPD value, with the highest value being recorded in the ‘open playground’ (0.27 [0.21, 0.28]) followed by ‘under shade of tree’ (0.083 [0.074, 0.09]), ‘canopy’ (0.014 [0.012, 0.015]) and ‘room with multiple windows’ (0.023 [0.015, 0.028]). The relative percentage composition of short, middle and long wavelengths was similar in both the outdoor and indoor locations, with the proportion of middle wavelengths significantly higher (p < 0.01) than short and long wavelengths in all the locations, except 'canopy'.
Irrespective of variation in SPD values with location, time, day and season, outdoor locations always exhibited significantly higher spectral power than indoor locations. The relative percentage composition of short, middle and long wavelengths of light was similar across all locations. These findings establish a foundation for future research to understand the relationship between spectral power and the development of myopia.

© 2023 College of Optometrists.