Growing up, you probably heard a few admonishments from your parents to stop reading in dim light, or staying up with a flashlight. “It’s bad for your eyes!” And many of us have probably heard something about the strain that staring at screens can put on your eyes. But what about fluorescent lights? LEDs? CFLs? You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Take a look at some of these light sources, and what they’re really doing to your eyes.
Bulbs to Buy, or Not.
First, let’s take a look at the type of light you should ideally have in your office or at home. There are a number of different options out there, but there are a few that you should avoid. Generally speaking, you want to skip any “cool” or “bright white” fluorescent bulbs. These bulbs may emit a slightly bluish light, and they’re often used in offices and schools. Here’s the thing, an Australian National University study found that these light bulbs increase risk for several different eye problems like cataracts and pterygia.
Why’s that? It’s because these lights emit an excess amount of UV radiation, which can damage your eyes. It’s the same reason that we recommend you wear sunglasses outside, especially during the summer, but in this case the UVs are coming from your light bulbs, not the sun.
So what should you buy?
Traditional incandescent bulbs are fine, but many people are looking for a more energy efficient option. Luckily, “warm light” CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lights) are okay for your eyes, as well as being much more efficient. They do emit UV rays, but a much smaller amount. You can also use LED bulbs or halogens. Remember that LEDs are not as good at emitting light in all directions, however, so you’ll have to think strategically about where to place them.
What You Can Do
Even if you’ve replaced your bulbs with options that emit fewer UV rays, what’s the next step? Although it may seem counterintuitive, you best bet is to get more natural light. We know what you’re thinking, and yes, the sun does emit the same UV rays we just warned you about. But many offices and even homes have UV resistant glass windows installed, which means the light peeking in through the blinds is actually okay for your eyes. And it’s much better for your health and well-being than, say, the fluorescent light in your office.
Also, remember to pop those sunglasses on when you go outside, even if it’s cold and wintry. If the sun is shining, you should be protecting your eyes.
At OCLI, our goal is to help you stay aware of the risks to your eyes, and keep you informed about the best ways to maintain healthy vision. But if you are worried that you might need cataract surgery, or any other eye surgery, than you should give us a call as soon as you can. We’ll schedule a consultation and figure out the best option for you. So don’t wait, contact us today.