Different types of light can affect your eyes in various ways. Some types of light are harmless and actually helpful in improving your vision. However, others can have negative effects on your eyes and contribute to eye strain.
You should be aware of the different types of lighting that you’re exposed to in your daily life, from sunlight, to blue light from screens, to fluorescent overhead lighting and more.
In this post, your trusted eye doctor at Clearfinity Eyecare Optometrist discusses different types of lighting and how they can affect your eyes. We also share tips to help you reduce eye strain.
Types of Light to Avoid
Make sure that your eyes are protected from these forms of light:
- UV (ultraviolet) Light: This is one of the most harmful types of light for your eyes. Examples of this include the light emitted by the sun and fluorescent tube lighting. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), too much exposure to UV light can lead to cataracts and blindness. That is why your eyes should be protected from long-term and recurrent exposure to this type of light. To that end, always wear UV protective sunglasses when you’re outside, along with a wide-brimmed hat.
- Fluorescent Tube Lighting: This also consists of UV rays that can be damaging to your eyes. As much as possible, avoid using it in your home. If this is the type of lighting used in your work environment, consider investing in protective eyewear.
- Blue Light: is another form of light that can have negative effects on your eyes. Typically considered a form of cool light on the vision spectrum, it is emitted by TVs, smartphones, computers and other digital screens. Although blue light won’t cause blindness, long-term blue light exposure as well as extended screen time can potentially lead to computer vision syndrome (CVS). This condition is linked to eye strain, dry eyes, neck and back tension, and headaches. Furthermore, blue light can also disrupt your sleep. To avoid CVS, experts recommend minimizing screen time and taking frequent breaks by looking away from your smartphone or computer at specific intervals.
Types of Lighting That Are Good for Your Eyes
The best type of lighting for your workplace is natural light. To protect your eyes, invest in windows with special coatings that filter UV rays from the sun. Of course, natural light is only accessible during the day. So, at night or in areas where sunlight is scarce, you can opt for artificial warm lights such as incandescent bulbs and LED bulbs, which are also more energy-efficient than other types of artificial lighting. You can also opt for full-spectrum light bulbs that can imitate the warm natural light of the sun without the harmful UV rays.
The kelvin rating of a light bulb can help you determine the type of light produced by the bulb. Lower kelvin ratings usually indicate warmer, less harsh light.
Lighting Tips to Reduce Eye Strain
While softer lighting in your workplace is better for eye health, cool, bright light is more common in office spaces and in fact is often required in workspaces. As more and more jobs require employees to spend significant time on computers, complaints of eye strain have increased.
Don’t worry, though, because there are ways that you can adjust your environment in order to reduce eye strain. Here are some tips:
- Adjust Screen Brightness – Remember that your computer is a source of blue light. You can change the display settings and adjust the brightness so that it is approximately the same as your environment.
- Minimize Glare – If there is a window directly behind or in front of you, your eyes will tend to work harder than they need to because of the glare and reflections on your computer screen. You can do any of these things to ease your burden: 1) close the blinds; 2) adjust your workstation; or 3) have an anti-reflective coating applied to your eyeglasses.
- Get Rid of Fluorescent Lights – If possible, turn off the overhead fluorescent lights and instead opt for softer table lamps or floor lamps.
Lighting Tips to Improve Vision
When it comes to taking care of your eyes, proper lighting is your ally. Below are some tips on how you can use better lighting and protect your eyesight:
- Use different light sources in a room to increase the amount of light without using excessive cool, bright bulbs.
- For tasks like reading and writing, use lamps with directed light.
- Set up your workspace in a well-lit area to reduce potential eye strain due to dim lighting.
- Harness natural light in your home to brighten your living spaces. Open your blinds and curtains.
- When outside, wear sunglasses, hats and/or protective eyewear to shield your eyes from UV rays.
- Determine the best positioning for your lights and screens so that you can minimize glare.
- Reduce your exposure to blue light by taking frequent breaks from your computer screen. The 20-20-20 rule is a handy technique: after 20 minutes of screen time, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Importance of Good Lighting
Reading, writing or working in the dark won’t actually do any lasting damage to your eyes. However, it can cause headaches and eye strain. When you’re doing a task under poor lighting, your eyes have to work extra hard to see, which can lead to eye strain as well as other uncomfortable symptoms. To avoid these issues, maintain adequate lighting whether you’re writing in your workspace or preparing a meal in the kitchen.
Good lighting is even more crucial for people with low vision. Generally, your lighting needs increase as you get older and as your risk of eye conditions like glaucoma and macular degeneration grows. In such cases, it would be best to consult with eye specialists regarding the specific lighting improvements that you can prioritize to improve visibility in your home.
Clearfinity Eyecare Optometrist provides an array of eye care services including eye exams, pre- and post-operative care for laser vision correction and more. We also carry a wide selection of quality glasses and contact lenses. Call us at (703) 2935222 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We serve customers in Gunston Heights and Woodbridge, VA.