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How can better lighting help our eyesight as we get older?

eyesight and lighting

Lighting can help you protect your eyesight as you age, and we’ve got some tips to share with you.

None of us likes to think too hard about getting older, but it’s an unavoidable fact of life. One day you’re running around with all the energy in the world, spotting something you want in a shop window from the opposite end of the high street, and then the next you’re making weird noises as you get off the sofa and you can’t get in the shop because you can’t see where the door handle is.

Okay, so maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you know what we mean. Someone who’ll remain nameless patted the cat at the end of their bed this morning, but it was actually their tracksuit bottoms. We’re not saying who it was. It definitely wasn’t me.

Anyway, moving on quickly…

How our eyesight ages

After the age of 40, you may notice your eyesight beginning to deteriorate and your eyes feeling more strained. It won’t happen overnight, but you might catch yourself squinting as you try to read a text on your smartphone or focusing on objects up close will be challenging. It’s annoying but it’s usually nothing to get unduly worried about, although it’s a sensible idea to get your eyesight checked as soon as you notice the changes. This disturbance in vision is generally caused because the lens inside your eye is losing its flexibility, which decreases the amount of light entering your eye and makes it more difficult to focus. Your ability to accurately see colours may be affected too.

This process is called presbyopia, and the bad news is that it generally becomes more advanced as we continue getting older. Suppose you’re prescribed reading glasses or contact lenses. In that case, you might find the prescription changes more frequently, or you’ll need one pair of eyeglasses for ‘occupational’ tasks and another pair for day-to-day activities like housework or watching tv.

Other sight changes might include:

  • Focusing your eyes becomes harder and slower because the ciliary muscles that support the eye are gradually losing strength.
  • Less light reaches the retinas because the pupils start to shrink.
  • The light entering your eye becomes more scattered, which is caused by the thickening of the cornea.

On average, by the time we reach the age of 65, most of us will:

  • Require more light to see clearly.
  • Become more sensitive to glare.
  • Respond more slowly to lighting changes, such as stepping from a dark environment into a bright one.
  • Notice a gradual loss of peripheral vision.

How lighting can help

Increase the light levels in your home and office

Because older eyes usually need twice as much light as younger eyes, make sure that task lighting of at least 1300 lumens is available in the areas you’ll need it most (i.e. desks, worktops, under cabinets.) Increase the ambient lighting and use smart lighting or dimmer switches to easily adjust the brightness.

Avoid lighting discrepancies

Because older eyes find adjusting to light changes difficult, keep the light level as smooth and unfluctuating as possible between room to room.

Make light switches clearly accessible at all entrances and exits

This is especially important in areas of the house that older people may be using late at night (i.e. bedrooms, hallways and bathrooms.)

Keep stairs, hallways, landings, and entryways well lit

Plug-in LED night lights, LED strips, rope lights, and overhead spotlights are excellent for this and will minimise the risk of trips and falls. For obvious reasons, never use extension cords in these areas and keep extensions safely tucked out of harm’s way in other parts of the house.

Choose light bulbs with a high CRI

A light bulb’s Colour Rendering Index (CRI) tells you how accurately it displays colours, so that the colours can be perceived more easily by the human eye. Older eyes tend to have a problem distinguishing between spectrums of blue, purple, and green, so bulbs that are between eighty and one hundred on the CRI scale are more efficient for work, study, and crafting spaces, and anywhere it’s important to see different hues (i.e. when painting a room).

Unfortunately, getting older is something we can’t avoid, but making even small adjustments to your lighting will make the process of getting older a lot easier. That’s where Oliver Lamps will always be here to help because all the different types of lighting and appliances mentioned in this blog – from CRI LED’s and dimmer switches to plug-in LED night lights, worktop lighting, desk lamps and everything in between – are currently available online and (when the lockdown eventually ends) directly from our shop. If you’d like to find out more, give us a call on 01328 855028, drop us an email at [email protected], or check out the catalogue on our website. Please remember, the catalogue only features a small part of what we stock, so get in touch if you’ve got any questions. We’ll be delighted to assist you.

Stay safe, and we’ll see you again soon!

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