Posted by Doug Root on 27th Feb 2019

Sensitive Eyesight: Choosing the Right Lighting Source for Visual Health

Light sensitivity can occur for a number of reasons. For some people, it's a warning sign for an oncoming migraine, or it sets in after the headache hits. It can happen when you get motion sick, when you're under the weather, or because your eyes have been affected by prolonged exposure to UV rays. The bad news is that the lights found in your office, your classroom, and the stores you visit give off ultraviolet rays. You spend more time at work than you do anywhere else. It's possible that you're surrounded by harsh, unhealthy lighting all day. Worse, you may even have damaging bulbs in your home.

Persuading the office manager to invest in higher-quality light sources might not be within the scope of your abilities, but you can do your best to change the bulbs in your own office and in your home. Switching over to soft white LED bulbs is not only better for your visual health, but it's also cost-efficient and energy-efficient. It's worth looking into for the sake of your peepers.

Banish the Blue Lights

In learning about the right lights to improve your visual health, you first need to familiarize yourself with which bulbs to avoid. The last thing you want to do is exacerbate your light sensitivity because you inadvertently filled your environment with the wrong lighting options.

As a general rule, stay away from lights with labels such as “bright white” and “cool.” Both incandescent bulbs and fluorescent lights come in those shades, which are often found in businesses and office buildings. They give off more radiation than any other bulbs. The “bright” factor also emits blue light. It's responsible for disrupting sleep patterns and affecting your mood.

Make the Switch to LED

In contrast, LEDs produce no UV rays. Zero. Zilch. None. You don't sacrifice any brightness, though. Soft white LED bulbs still give off a bright cast. Soft white is a better option because it isn't as glaring, although there are warm hues, as well. Regardless of the shade, LED bulbs are among the safest lights for your eyes. They rank highest in energy efficiency, too. In the interest of full disclosure, LED lights typically cost more than their traditional counterparts, but that only applies to the initial purchase. Because they burn longer, use less energy, and produce less waste than other bulbs, they pay for themselves in a relatively short time frame.

Experiment with Full Spectrum Lighting

Full spectrum lights help with light sensitivity by mimicking natural light. Many LED bulbs provide a full spectrum. The benefits to the health of your eyes are remarkable. Switching to full spectrum bulbs can sharpen your color perception, enhance your mood, and improve clarity and readability. That's primarily due to a balance between contrast and brightness. It has a dramatic effect on your eyes. Not only will they be less sensitive to the light, but you may experience markedly less eye strain, as well.

Upgrade to Smart Lights

Smart lights are more expensive than other bulbs, as well, but again, it's only the upfront cost. Since smart lights are also designed to be energy-efficient, they pay for themselves in the long term because you don't have to replace the bulbs nearly as often. Most smart lights are LED, as well, so you know that they aren't emitting any UV rays into your office or personal spaces.

Smart lighting is efficient in several ways, but it's healthy, as well. While you can always find soft white LED bulbs with smart capabilities, you also have the chance to experiment with colored lighting and mood lighting. You can choose from the entire color spectrum to find the hue that feels best to you. You can also get rid of blue light completely when you have control.

Try a Dimmer Switch

A gadget as simple as a dimmer switch can help you deal with brightness. That doesn't mean that you can't use LED bulbs, of course. It's just another tool to improve your light sensitivity issues. With a dimmer switch—even if it operates via an app on your smartphone—you have control over the brightness. After a long day in an office filled with harsh lighting, for example, you may want to sit in a barely lit room. In the morning, however, a dose of subtle red light or natural illumination can get you up and moving.

Avoid Inefficient Alternatives

It's worth mentioning—sort of—that warm incandescent light bulbs produce fewer UV rays than those glaring white bulbs. Compact fluorescent lights, or CFLs, do, as well. Just because they aren't as harmful doesn't necessarily mean they're healthy. Incandescent bulbs and CFLs are both energy-burners, and disposing of them is unsafe for the environment. For those reasons alone, it's smarter to cross them off the list of possibilities. Warm, colored, and soft white LED bulbs are the all-around better option.

Always Opt for Something Natural

Natural sunlight is the healthiest choice for your eyes. Being outside can impact light sensitivity, but indoors, natural light is best. Open the blinds and pull back the curtains. Failing that, go with full spectrum bulbs that mimic sunlight.

Light sensitivity can affect anyone who spends a significant amount of time under bright white, cool lights, particularly fluorescent lights. For that reason alone, you can understand the suggestion to steer clear from CFLs, too. You still have an abundance of options, but soft LED lights cost less over the long run, they're energy efficient, and you don't have to replace them all the time. What you spend upfront comes back to you within your next few power bills. Are your eyes sensitive to light? Maybe it's time to upgrade your home lighting. Atlanta Light Bulbs has an assortment of ideas and helpful tips to get you started.