As we age, our ability to see clearly becomes more challenging, our eyes have to work twice as hard in order to perform at the same level, causing our eyes to become fatigue. In order to avoid discomforting the eyes, it is often recommended that a person over the age of 55 use twice as much light than a person in their 20’s.
Eyes become more sensitive to glare, which causes discomfort and temporary visual impairment. This is often the result of lighting that is directly beaming down at the eyes. In addition, it becomes more difficult to distinguish fine details and differences in colours when there is a lack of lighting in the room. It also takes longer for the eyes to adapt to changes in light levels from one space to another, such as when you first enter a dimly lit house after being in direct daylight.
Consider the position and material used for the fixtures that might create or reduce glare. Avoid positioning fixtures where you can see directly into the lamp, which requires some preliminary planning and consideration of what the space is generally used for. Some fixtures have frosted white glass or have built in diffusers, which provide softer illumination than fixtures with clear glass that can cause glare.
Consider portables and fixtures that provides more direct lighting to help with detail oriented tasks, and that help with identifying differences in colour. For instance, task lamps can be used in social areas such as living rooms to assist with knitting, adjustable arm sconces can be used in the bedroom to assist with reading, pendants can be used over a kitchen island to help identify if food is thoroughly cooked, and directional lighting can be used in the laundry room to help distinguish differences in dark blue and black clothing.
Relying on a single light source might not provide enough lighting for various tasks, and placing a high wattage bulb in a lower wattage fixture (overlamping) to gain more light can potentially cause glare and can be hazardous. Layering lighting, or using more than one light source, offers the right amount of light and flexibility to adjust the light level in order to create a mood or help with task specific activities.
Dimmers can help with transitioning the eyes from one room to another by adjusting the lighting levels to be consistent with light levels in another room. In addition, the light levels can be adjusted to suit different needs, such as if more lighting is needed for task specific activities or if it is needed to create a mood. In addition, dimmers help reduce glare, which is ideal for individuals that prefer the look of clear glass fixtures.
Lastly, remember the right lighting will always depend on personal preference. What might work for one person might not necessarily work for you, which is why it is important to discuss your options with a Lighting Specialist.
For more information, stop by our showrooms, our ALA Lighting Specialist are always happy to help!