How Different Kinds of Lighting Impact Your Eyes When it comes to lighting, it’s easy to overlook certain elements that are crucial to your health. One important factor of lighting that is overlooked is the impact on our eyes . Vision is important, therefore it is vital that we protect our eyes from any damage that certain kinds of light can cause. With good lighting design and a good balance of color temperatures, we can help our eyes stay healthy and strong. There are many types of lighting and they all effect our eyes differently. Fluorescent and LED lighting, for example, fall generally more towards the blue end of the light spectrum, which can often be very stimulating to the human eye. Incandescent lighting is generally a warmer light that falls more towards the yellow and red end of the light spectrum.

Different Types of Light

The light that humans can see is only a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. On one end of the spectrum is the short wavelengths of gamma rays, and on the other end is radio waves which includes radar and FM or AM radio waves. The electromagnetic waves that we see, also known as visible light, are then divided up into different colors depending on where they land on the electromagnetic spectrum. These colors include red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet light. All these colors combine to form the powerful white light of the sun. The more energetic forms of visible light include blue and violet light. Blue and violet light are made up of shorter wavelengths, which can pose danger to the human eye. UV and how it affects your eyes UV, or ultraviolet, radiation is just beyond being visible to human beings. Even though we can’t see this part of the electromagnetic spectrum, it is important we are aware of it because of how UV radiation affects our bodies. It has both a positive and negative effect on our skin, eyes, and DNA. On one hand, it provides us with necessary vitamin D nutrients. On the other, our skin and eyes can be negatively impacted by too much UV light. Because of this, it's important to monitor your level of exposure. The UV radiation that comes from the sun can damage your eyes and skin, causing various problems down the road. That is why it is important to wear sunglasses and sunscreen whenever you are spending time in the sun.

Other Sources of UV

Wherever you work, it is likely there are some artificial sources of UV light that you should be aware of. Fluorescent, LED, and incandescent bulbs all produce small amounts of UV radiation along with their visible light. At high levels of exposure, they can have some adverse effects on your eyes. Under normal use, the amount of UV coming from LED and fluorescent lighting is generally considered to be safe. Lights that you should be careful of getting too much UV radiation from include tanning booths, curing lamps, and black lights.

Artificial Sources of Blue Light 

As you are probably aware, fluorescent lighting is a very harsh form of light. This is because fluorescent lights produce a shorter wavelength of blue light. Because sunlight contains the whole spectrum, it also contains blue light. Blue light has a shorter wavelength than most other colors and usually contains more energy. This energy, in healthy doses, helps to stimulate the human mind, assisting us in concentrating on important tasks and getting more work done.

How Blue Light Affects Your Eyes

On the visible light spectrum, blue light comes in right next to UV light. Although good for our health in moderate doses, overexposure to too much blue light can lead to some health issues. Fluorescent and LED lights, as well as computer screens and other electronics often produce a bluish glow. This blue light, with its shorter wavelength, transmits more energy than a red or yellow light does. Because of this, blue light can heavily affect sleep cycles, stimulating our bodies to stay awake in the same way that sunlight does. Another issue to be aware of is what is called "digital eye strain". People also call this "Computer Vision Syndrome". Basically, this condition stems from spending many long hours staring at computer screens, tablets, or cell phones. What worries many experts in this day and age is the amount of blue light that our eyes are exposed to every single day. High amounts of blue light have been associated with cases of macular degeneration in the eyes, a condition that can eventually lead to blindness. That's why it's important for us as consumers to take preventative steps to reduce our exposure to blue light.

How to Protect Your Eyes from Blue Light

There are many steps you can take to prevent damage from blue light. One easy thing you can do is use filters on any device that gives out blue light. Many devices, such as smartphones, usually come installed with some sort of filter you can turn on to reduce the amount of blue light given out by the device. LED and fluorescent lighting, which are becoming more common today because of their energy efficiency, usually give off bluer light. The good news is that they now make both CFLs and LEDs in various color temperatures, allowing you to use them later in the day when your eyes and body will benefit from a warmer, less energetic light. Another step you can take is to invest in blue light glasses. Essentially, blue light glasses come equipped with yellow tinted lenses that help to reduce the amount of blue light your eyes take in. Of course, the best thing you can do is reduce your screen time, however, in today’s modern world this can be difficult. Many of our jobs and daily tasks now require us to look at screens throughout the day. For some of us, we might be looking at a screen giving out blue light for over 10 hours a day. It is important to be mindful of your screen time and to reduce when you can. If you must look at a screen use screen filters or blue light glasses when you can. Especially later at night when your body is winding down.

The Right Light for Your Eyes

Again, good lighting design and proper planning will help your eyes get the light they need. Combining multiple color temperatures from the light spectrum in your work space, home, and bedroom will allow you to maximize the health benefits your body gets from each kind of light. At the same time, getting healthy amounts of sun exposure will go a long way in protecting your eyes from damage. Investing in high-quality lighting makes a huge difference. If you have any questions about our lighting catalog or about which product is right for you, our team of lighting experts is standing by to help. Call 1-800-983-1315 anytime Monday through Friday, from 6 am to 6 pm Mountain Standard Time (MST), for help with your purchase. We can’t wait to hear from you!