There are multiple causes of eye strain, ranging from an outdated lens prescription to improper lighting while reading, working on the computer, or watching TV. Taking the necessary steps to ensure proper lighting for your eye health can prevent headaches, make you feel more energized, and reduce physical sensations of eye strain.
5 Steps To Proper Lighting For Your Eye Health
You can take several steps to reduce eye strain daily, including taking breaks every 20 minutes when reading or working on computer screens. Even taking the time to do eye exercises or give yourself an eye massage can refresh your eyes, making you feel more alert and comfortable.
Implementing proper lighting sources at home and work is another crucial step for your eye health.
Protect your eyes from harmful light sources
Some lighting sources harm the eyes and increase the risk of permanent damage or unavoidable eye strain. This includes:
UV rays. The sun is the most powerful daily source of harmful UV rays, which is why you should always wear sunglasses and a hat when spending time outdoors.
You should also be mindful of sitting directly in front of windows. While a view outdoors is nice to look at, direct sun glare may cause eye damage or unnecessary strain. Instead, place your desk or chairs parallel to, rather than facing, windows to benefit from natural sunlight while minimizing eye strain.
Fluorescent lighting. Fluorescent lights are also a source of UV light rays. While not as powerful as the sun, prolonged daily exposure at home, the office, or school threatens long-term vision and eye health. We recommend speaking to your optometrist about customized, protective lens coatings designed to protect the eyes from UV and blue light (more on that below).
Fluorescent lighting may be energy efficient but wreaks havoc on the eyes. While your brain may not consciously realize it, the rapid flickering of fluorescent lights creates significant visual and mental strain (your children may also be suffering from fluorescent light sensitivity without knowing it. Read the Medical News Today post about fluorescent lights and their correlation to headaches, eye strain, and migraines.
If fluorescent lights illuminate their classrooms, consider providing protective eyewear to support their comfort, focus, and eye health. If they don’t need glasses, you can look for clear lenses with the right coatings to be worn under fluorescent lights.
Blue light. Blue light emanates from screens, which include TVs, computers, smartphones, and tablets. Studies show that blue light strains eyes. We have protective coatings to minimize blue light absorption or purchase blue light blockers online.
Opt for indoor lighting that supports eye health
There are several healthy forms of light that are easier on the eyes and recommended for daytime and nighttime vision.
Natural lighting. While UV rays may be harmful in large doses, natural daylighting from the sun is the best form of light for your eyes. Most contemporary window manufacturers include UV protection in their panes. If you are replacing windows, ensure new ones have adequate UV-blocking features. If the interior of your home lacks natural light, consider installing solar tubes or skylights to increase natural light sources during the day.
LED lights. LED lights are the healthier, energy-efficient lighting option. They can have a harsh, bright light, so look for LED options that advertise warm lights. The kelvin rating of a bulb is another guideline – the lower the kelvin (K) rating, the warmer the light, and the better for your eyes.
Incandescent lights. Incandescent lights may be the best option for specific locations if you or a family member is particularly sensitive to eye strain. While not as energy-efficient as LED bulbs, warm incandescent lights are better for the eyes.
Always look for bulbs that advertise “full spectrum” technology, which is the closest thing to mimicking natural light.
Minimize direct sun or light glare
Your eyes can be strained from too much glare. Typically, this means a too-bright light is directly in front of or behind you. If you can change the angle of your workstation, do so. Otherwise, alter the angle of blinds or shades to diminish sun glare. If a light is too bright, replace the bulb with one that has a lower wattage or kelvin (K) rating.
Experiment with different screen brightness levels
The bright light from your screen could be the problem. Most people find that factory screen settings are brighter than they need to be. Experiment with different screen brightness levels to see which is the most comfortable for your eyes.
If your children use screens at school or home, help them find the brightness level most comfortable for their eyes for day and nighttime settings.
Change the direction of the light
Overhead lighting can be too direct. That is especially true for overhead fluorescent lights. If you don’t have the ability to remove and replace overhead fluorescents, skip them altogether and use different light sources.
We recommend working with more adaptable and adjustable light sources whenever possible, including floor, table, and desk lamps. By playing around with different window blinds/shade angles and positioning lamps, you can customize proper lighting for eye health and comfort.
Atlantic Eye Institute Can Help You Determine The Best Light For Your Eyes
Are you struggling to determine the best lighting solution for your home or workspace? Let us help you out. Schedule your annual eye exam with Atlantic Eye Institute.
In addition to ensuring your lens prescription is accurate, we’ll work with you to determine which light sources and types make your eyes happiest. We can also upgrade existing eyeglasses with coatings that protect your eyes from UV and blue light sources.