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 we age. Even normal healthy eyes generally require much more illumination at age 50 as they did at age 25. 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. 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.

  • To help avoid glare, use an adjustable lamp and position the lamp to the side, rather than directly in front of you.

  • When writing, place 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.
    • Position your chair and table so you don't have to look directly at the light coming from windows
    • 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 it shines on walls, floors, steps, and railings.

  • Keep all rooms evenly lit. It is difficult for your eyes to adjust from bright light to low light

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.