Nuances of lighting for ageing eyes

As we get older, our visual ability naturally declines. For instance, from the age of 40 many people will experience a noticeable and sometimes life changing nuances in eyesight. More so, this visual decline can cause a number of problems such as everyday task like reading but can also be a safety hazard such as driving.

As the eye ages, a number of visual nuances can occur:

  • the ability for our eyes to adapt quickly from light to dark can slowdown;
  • we can lose our peripheral vision resulting in a term called tunnel vision;
  • the lens in our eyes become less clear, which in turn reduces contrast and colour saturation;
  • sclera becomes thicker, resulting in a yellow tinge which reduces the ability to see blue tones;
  • a condition called Presbyopia, which can affect how the eye sees objects at close range;
  • pupil size decreases, which ultimately reduces the ability to see normal light levels

As well as the above complaints there are also other factors that come with old age and eyesight such as cataracts and glaucoma to name just a few. This deterioration in sight can significantly affect how we live our lives as we get older. Nonetheless these days there are lighting schemes that when installed correctly and producing the correct ambience can really help the natural changes of our eyes.

Increase the level of light in a room

The most obvious way to help with the nuances of ageing eyes is to strengthen the level of ambient light in a room as well as increasing the amount of task lighting. For instance, replacing your bulbs for a bulb with a whiter light will increase the brightness when angled towards an object such as a page on a reading book. We recommend changing your incandescent bulbs to a halogen or LED equivalent, such as a 60 watt incandescent for a 75 watt Halogen bulb. Another way of increasing the level of light is to swap your bed side table lamps and reading corner lamps for a task lamp. Ideally one with either a flexi or adjustable neck, so you can position the lamp head closer to the page you’re reading.

Whilst the increase level of light is necessary for ageing eyes you should take care not to create glare which comes from a naked bulb. Looking directly at a naked bulb can be damaging for the eyes. This can also be the same problem if there are any shiny surfaces in the room as glare can reflect onto these types of surfaces. You can prevent this problem by introducing lighting with diffusers and lamps shades. For instance, choose a drum shade ceiling like that is fitted with a diffuser.

Keeping the level of light consistent through all rooms

Ageing eyes struggle to adapt to intense changes in light. Such as moving from one room that has brilliant white light to a room that has been dimmed with a subtle glow. We recommend you try and keep the level of light consistent through all rooms of the house to allow for an easier change in visibility. For the older generation, the change in lighting in a room can cause trips and falls as the eye will take longer to adapt.

Use Lighting Cues

One of the main nuances we experience with ageing eyes is that we become more susceptible to trips and falls. This is a common problem that comes with the natural process of ageing. But insufficient lighting can be a contributing factor to this problem, especially at night time. Studies show that using LED strip lighting and low level Linear LED lighting used as a guiding light between rooms in the dark was more beneficial than a standard night light. LED lighting creates a stronger spatial cue when used through strip lighting particularly around a door frame. LED lighting is also beneficial from a cost perspective, this type of lighting offers a higher energy output without any extra electrical cost.