Winning Solutions for Failing Sight
Serving Our Community Since 1979

The Right Lighting
Can Enhance Your Vision

Lighting takes on added importance for everyone as they grow older. Even normal healthy eyes generally require twice as much illumination at age 50 as they did at age 25. And for people with limited vision, lighting becomes an even more critical factor. It is important to control the intensity of light and the glare, as well as to provide contrast.

There are two types of lighting:
  • General, overhead lighting, as in the type of lighting that lights up the whole room

  • Task lighting, or lighting used for a specific activity, such as reading or needlepoint
There are also different kinds of light, and each person tends to have a preference for one of them. The three main kinds are LED, halogen, and fluorescent. Chromalux is another type of light that mimics natural sunlight. It is well worth your time to determine which type of lighting helps you most.

Below are some tips for using lighting to maximize your vision:
  • Provide light throughout the room along with additional task lighting near the activity. While the area of activity should be bright, the entire room must also be well illuminated to eliminate shadows. One should not work in a pool of light surrounded by darkness.

  • Move lamps close to your work. To help avoid glare, use an adjustable lamp and position the lamp to the side, rather than directly in front of you. Many people find it helpful to have lamps on both the right and left sides -- that will eliminate shadows.

  • When writing, to prevent shadows, place the lamps on the opposite side of the hand being used. Locate the bottom edge of the lampshade just below eye level.

  • To reduce glare, cover bare light bulbs of all types with shades. Soften bright light from windows with coverings like blinds or sheer curtains. Also, position the chair and table so you don't have to look directly at the light coming from the window.

  • To further reduce glare, cover or remove shiny surfaces such as floors and table tops. Shiny paper can increase glare, so try to use matte paper when reading or writing.

  • In hallways and stairways, provide generous amounts of light and position it so that it shines on the walls, floors, steps, and railings.

  • Keep all rooms evenly lit. It is difficult for your eyes to adjust from bright light to low light, so if you keep all rooms well lit, it will be more comfortable to walk from room to room. Try not to walk from a brightly lit room immediately to a dark one.

The Low Vision Center has a variety of lamps available for hands-on demonstrations so visually impaired people can discover which kind of light works best and how to manipulate lighting to their best advantage. Click here to review our offering of these devices.