HOW TO ADJUST THE LIGHTING AS WE AGE...
- Created: 26/03/2019
As we grow older, changes in our body make their presence even more noticeable. Especially common are the difficulties in vision. Already after the age of 40, we are slowly starting to have difficulty in reading the small fonts, and the light may dazzle us more than ever before. The important thing is that with small and easy changes, we can adapt lighting to our new needs and keep our daily lives in the same comfort level.
What exactly happens to our eyes over time?
• The lens of the eye becomes rigid and we have difficulty focusing on objects that are within close range. The light entering the eye decreases and the sharpness of the colors is affected, so we can see fewer shades.
• The cornea expands and becomes more opaque, reducing the diffusion of light into the eye. As a result, we feel our eyes are more sensitive to glare and need more time to adapt from light to darkness and vice versa.
• The pupil of the eye shrinks and less light reaches the retina. So we need more light to see clearly.
• The ciliary muscles gradually become atrophied, making it difficult to focus quickly and accurately. Eyes respond more slowly to visual changes, such as changes in illumination, and have reduced peripheral vision.
It goes without saying that in any such case, you need to contact your ophthalmologist directly and get reliable medical advice. Fortunately, there are many procedures and tools to improve vision.
In addition to those, you can customize the lighting of your home to cope with the difficulties of your vision and to make life easier for your own and your loved ones.
How to Customize Your Lighting
1. Increase light levels
The eyes of an elderly person, after the age of 65, usually need twice as much light as a 20-year-old. To solve this, you can increase ambient lighting and make sure that task lighting is available anywhere you may need, such as your favorite seat where you read or under the kitchen cabinets. For task lighting, select lights with a lumen level of at least 1300 - almost the brightness level of a 100 Watt incandescent lamp. Use dimmer switches to give you more flexibility in brightness levels.
2. Keep the lighting even
You want to make your space brighter, but you do not want to create disparities in the level of room-to-room lighting. Since older eyes have difficulty adapting to fluctuations in lighting levels, keeping the lighting even throughout the home makes it easier for the elderly to walk around without having to stop to allow their eyes to adapt.
3. Make the light switches easily accessible
You also need to make sure that the light switches are easily accessible at the entry and exit points of each room. Placing a dimmer switch is another great way for lighting to be suitable for any family member, for any kind of activity and every hour of the day - especially for late-night visits to the bathroom.
4. Reduce the glare
Since older eyes are more sensitive to glare, use blinds or curtains to reduce the bright light from outside, avoid glossy dyes on walls, floors and furniture, and finally use frosted glass or add semi-opaque lampshades to your light fixtures.
5. Prefer bulbs with High Definition Color Ratio (CRI)
CRI indicates how accurately a lamp displays colors in the human eye. Scaled on a scale from 0 to 100, with 100 being the best score. As the eyes turn yellow over the years, it becomes more difficult to distinguish between blue, purple and green, which reduces contrast to text and images and makes reading difficult. Therefore, ensuring a more accurate color rendering in places where it matters, such as a desk, a reading chair, a handicraft table, etc., will make it easier for the older members of your family to distinguish different shades.
6. Highlight critical points
If your vision is severely declined, you can help yourselves highlighting important points such as doors, stairs, bathrooms, bedrooms and corridors, with LED strips or rope lights. This will help you reduce the risk of falls and will make the night safer.