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The Proper Lighting for Reading

proper lighting for readingHaving the proper lighting for reading will help you maintain the health of your eyes. Ensure that the type of light
you use, the angle of the light fixture, and the brightness of the light allow you to read without straining
your eyes.

Effects of Inadequate Lighting

Reading in improper lighting can give you headaches, cause your eyes to feel strained,
and even cause vision to deteriorate. Harsh lighting, such as fluorescent lighting, causes
some people to suffer from migraines. These problems can get worse over time.


Using a personal lamp with a bendable neck will help you to read more comfortably. A
flexible lamp allows you to angle the light to exactly where you need it, while reducing
glare. It usually provides better lighting than overhead lights, while also conserving
energy by not requiring you to light up the entire room. Many experts agree that most
people should use a 100-watt lamp for reading. If this feels uncomfortable to you, ask
your eye doctor what may work better.

New Technology

NASA played a role in developing a new bulb to provide better reading light, says the
article "Save Sight with More Light" on the PsychCentral website. It has a frosty finish to
minimize glare, and scientists believe it may help to alleviate some eye problems such as
macular degeneration, says the article. This bulb, called the Eye Saver, provides 40
percent more surface light than the standard incandescent bulb, the article notes, helping
to prevent potential eye problems as well.
As LED lights are becoming more popular for their longevity, many people are using
them as reading lamps as well. These types of lights come in many different strengths, so
test them to find out what works well for you. Be aware that their light may gradually
fade over time, and replace the batteries when the light starts to grow dimmer.

What to Avoid

Fluorescent lights are the worst form, Leo Angart says in his book, "Improve Your
Eyesight Naturally: Easy, Effective, See Results Quickly." They put forth a distorted
spectrum of light (producing less red and blue violet) and often flicker. Even if you work
in an office with fluorescent light, says Angart, you can reduce strain on your eyes by
using an incandescent or halogen desk lamp.
Also, reading from a computer, or any screen with a glare, can give you what doctors
now term Computer Vision Syndrome, says the Total Vision Care website. The constant
shifting of pixels on the screen strains your eyes, says the website, which provides
information about addressing this condition. You may want to avoid reading from a
computer whenever possible during your leisure time as well.


No matter how old or young you are, or whether you currently have any vision problems,
ensuring the best lighting conditions will keep your eyes as healthy as possible. You'll
make reading more enjoyable, too, by minimizing the strain on your eyes.

By Valerie Madison

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