LOW VISION CENTERWinning 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
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
There are also different kinds of light, and each person tends to have a preference
for one of them. The three main kinds are incandescent, 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
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
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
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
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
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.