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Full Spectrum Lighting: The Best Artificial Light For Your Eyes

June 21, 2011

Improve your eyesight, mood and productivity with full spectrum lighting.

As an eye doctor, one of the questions I often get asked the most is whether or not certain kinds of light can have a negative effect on a person’s eyesight. With many people often spending long hours under the lights in their office or reading through paperwork under their dim desk lamp, it is an important question to ask.

The right kind of lighting can make a big difference in your vision: it can improve your reading ability, create a more noticeable difference in colors, and prevent eye strain. However, even with all of these proven benefits, many people are still using lights such as halogen and fluorescent that can be harmful to your eyes over a long period of time.

So what kind of lighting is the” right kind?” One of the most recommended alternatives to classic indoor lighting is full spectrum lighting.

Full spectrum lights, such as OttLite, work by simulating natural sunlight and providing the perfect balance of brightness and contrast. The effects can help to enhance readability, reduce glare and improve a person’s overall vision.

Less Eye Strain

A typical fluorescent light can also have damaging effects on a person’s vision through the light’s low “flicker rate.” A light flicker occurs when quick, repeated changes are made to a light’s intensity. Many people will often recognize a light flicker when a lamp or overhead light is first turned on, but flickering happens consistently when any light has power. However, many people can’t distinguish the individual flickers because they are moving at such a rapid frequency. (Think of a strobe light―if it blinks fast enough, your eyes eventually see it as one continuous light.)

While a lights flicker rate may not seem noticeable, it can still cause strain to your vision if it is not flashing above 60 flicks per second, which most office lights do not. Full spectrum lighting on the other hand uses solid state circuitry which produces a rapid flicker rate that will not create eye strain.

Better Color Perception

Full spectrum lighting is also a better source for light and color perception over typical indoor lights. Because these lights provide a full spectrum of color and are not biased towards certain colors like other light sources, many people find they are able to see more noticeable differences in colors and shades while working. This is especially important for professionals who work in a visual profession such as graphic arts, printing or design.

The natural UV lighting produced by some full spectrum lights can also have a fluorescent brightening effect on documents and textiles that have been treated with brightening agents (most white printing paper and magazine pages). The combined effect of brightness and natural light can cause words to become much more clear on a page and allow for better reading ability.

Improves Mood

Many experts also believe that because full spectrum lighting imitates the natural light found in sunlight, these lights can significantly improve a person’s mood and energy level. The UV rays found in natural light can stimulate happy, healthy feelings in a person’s mind and produce a positive effect on their mood. This may help to increase motivation and productivity in the work place.

In addition to promoting efficiency in the office, full spectrum lighting is also a great lighting alternative for students. It can help to create a comfortable environment for reading and studying, and because of reduced eye strain, reading is less strenuous after a long day.

Many people say that the first step to making a significant improvement to your overall well being starts with a simple change in your day-to-day life. Promoting good lighting throughout your work and home environment may just be one of those simple changes that can help to improve your vision in the long run.


Image source: OttLite, Jupiter Images

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