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Light for the Aging Eye

As people grow older, less light reaches the back of the eye. Natural changes associated with aging result in reduced vision and increased glare sensitivity. Not only can this be frustrating and debilitating, but it can also lead to additional problems, such as an increased chance of falling. Also, reduced light on the retina allows the body's circadian rhythm to get out of sync, which may disrupt the sleep cycle.

By using good lighting design, seniors can see better, avoid falls, and sleep better.

Tips on lighting for the aging eye:

  • Provide extra light: Paint walls a light color to increase reflected light, provide flexible task lights, use undercabinet lighting, install fixtures over work areas and place table lamps near reading chairs and beds.
  • Avoid shadows: Locate a desk, table, or floor lamp to the left of a right-handed person and to the right of a left-handed person. Lighting from the side reduces glare and minimizes shadows on the task.
  • Avoid glare: To avoid glare, do not install bright fixtures near glossy surfaces, avoid using clear glass fixtures, and shield bulbs from direct view.
  • Provide orienting information: Use nightlights, glowing switches, and lights along pathways and around doors to help seniors orient themselves to avoid falling. Use contrasting colors to make objects more visible (such as a dark baseboard next to a light color floor).
  • Provide lighting that better entrains the circadian rhythm, including higher levels of light during the morning and lower levels in the evening and at night.

Additional Information