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Improving low vision conditions with daylight lighting

Why is lighting important?

Everyone needs good levels of light and as we get older these needs increase. Light entering the eye is focused on the retina at the back of the eye, which transmits the visual image to the brain. As your eye ages, less light reaches the retina. Most people aged 60 need three times more light than when they were 20. Most people with sight loss need and benefit from enhanced lighting. However, some eye conditions cause people to experience glare problems in normal light levels, which could be uncomfortable or even intolerable for them. Light entering an older eye is more “scattered", which can make objects more difficult to see because contrast is reduced. For example, the edges of steps may be hard to see, and colours may not be as clear as they used to be. Some eye conditions can make this scattering worse. Sometimes your eyes need more time to adapt to varying lighting levels within your home. Some people find when they go from a bright room to a dark room it may take several minutes for their eyes to adjust to the new levels. Having consistent, even and controllable lighting levels throughout your home is important.

What difference can better lighting make?

Good lighting can make the most of sight by increasing contrast and clarity, making it easier to carry out everyday tasks. It can help you stay independent, move around your home easily and safely, continue with, or take up hobbies and interests and help you stay involved with life around you. General lighting should give even illumination, avoiding shadows and dark areas. Brightness levels should be similar in adjacent rooms to avoid your eyes having to adjust when moving between well lit and significantly darker areas. Good lighting can make your home safer too. Poor lighting on steps and stairs can lead to falls, slips and trips. Simple improvements in the kitchen, especially over work surfaces and cookers, can reduce the risks of cuts, scalds and burns. And in the bathroom, appropriate lighting can make all the difference with personal hygiene and care.

Making changes

Lighting can be improved by simply: • plugging a table, desk or floor light into existing sockets • fitting bulbs that give more light (technically called lumens) • changing shades and fittings to increase light levels or change the direction of light to reflect from white surfaces • fitting shades that don't shield light (but do prevent glare). More work will be needed to fit bathroom lights that are safe in moist and wet areas (such as over showers and near basins) or to increase lighting levels in the ceiling over stairs and steps. But most improvements can be made without affecting decorations or furnishings. There is also a wide selection available from specialist electrical suppliers that we use. Different types of light Natural daylight Daylight is important to us all and making the most of it can improve the environment in our homes, although sometimes it needs to be controlled. It may cause glare if it shines directly into your eyes; window blinds can help control lighting degree and direction. Daylight levels vary with the weather, time of day, season and distance from the source. It may seem obvious, but it is important to have enough electric light to make up for the times when daylight is limited.

If you would like some help with your lighting needs please call us or email and we will call you back.

Find out more

  • Are you nightsafe?
  • Find out more about the Macular society?
  • Improving low vision conditions with daylight lighting
  • Lumie for SAD find out more.