Expert adviceMagnifiers and Low Vision
Everyone needs good levels of light and as we get older these needs increase. Light entering the eye is focused on the retina at the back of the eye, which transmits the visual image to the brain. As your eye ages, less light reaches the retina. Most people aged 60 need three times more light than when they were 20.
Most people with sight loss need and benefit from enhanced lighting. However, some eye conditions, such as cataracts, can cause people to experience glare problems in normal light levels, which could be uncomfortable or even intolerable for them. Light entering an older eye is more “scattered”, which can make objects more difficult to see because contrast is reduced. For example, the edges of steps may be hard to see, and colours may not be as clear as they used to be.
Sometimes your eyes need more time to adapt to varying lighting levels within your home. Some people find when they go from a bright room to a dark room it may take several minutes for their eyes to adjust to the new levels. Having consistent, even and controllable lighting levels throughout your home is important.
Good lighting can make the most of sight by increasing contrast and clarity, making it easier to carry out everyday tasks. It can help you stay independent, move around your home easily and safely, continue with, or take up hobbies and interests and help you stay involved with life around you. General lighting should give even illumination, avoiding shadows and dark areas. Brightness levels should be similar in adjacent rooms to avoid your eyes having to adjust when moving between well lit and significantly darker areas. Good lighting can make your home safer too. Poor lighting on steps and stairs can lead to falls, slips and trips. Simple improvements in the kitchen, especially over work surfaces and cookers, can reduce the risks of cuts, scalds and burns. And in the bathroom, appropriate lighting can make all the difference with personal hygiene and care.
Click on the link below to open up a helpful PDF document on how to improve lighting in your home, written by the RNIB and the Thomas Pocklington Trust. It contains more information on the importance of lighting and provides advice on the different types of light bulbs and lighting available, choosing lighting and how to create a safer home and stay as independent at home as possible.