Lately, I’ve been researching what kinds of lighting work best for various tasks for those with low vision. A definite fall out from the death of a florescent light in a floor-length, goose-necked lamp my sister gave me years ago. That wonderfully-bright light bulb finally flickered its last bit of life before a pall came over my bed.
It will take months for me to track down the correct type, re-order it and have my life back on kilter. I guess I thought it would magically last a lifetime. I never once took measures to order another so that I could simply change it and allow my life to continue without disruption.
No, that’s not my way.
Just call me Light-for-Life Amy.
If only these Low Vision suppliers sold an Aladdin’s Lamp that I could rub. A genie would come out and blink three times and I’d have that light bulb replaced in an instant.
But I didn’t so I began to research, and checked with other vision impaired friends as well to get their scoop on what worked best. I figured I might as well make some other changes while I was at it.
1. Florescent Lights
Immediately after my blind friend moved into his new apartment, I started receiving updates on the modifications he had made to his place. One of the first changes was the florescent lighting he added. “It makes me see better,” he said. “Somehow it’s easier on my eyes, too.”
That’s for sure. Same for me. Natural lighting and certain types of fluorescent lighting don’t tax your eyes as much. Plus, vision-impaired people need roughly 3 times the amount of light that people with normal vision use to complete the same task. I found this and other helpful information in an article about lighting .
2. Directional Lighting
I also need the brighter light to spotlight whatever I am doing. For example, at the computer, I need a light to shine on the computer screen and keyboard. When I’ve gone to other places and haven’t had that light, I found that I can’t really function well on the computer. If I’m cooking, I need it right over my cookbook. If I’m in the bathroom putting on make-up, I need it right there on the mirror.
My dad made sure to have the electrician install some track lights for me in the kitchen, which we placed over the sink area. I love them! Now the lighting in this kitchen [right] would be a dream. If only I could have all these small lights! But I have something almost as good – lots and lots of natural lighting.
3. Natural Lighting
Before I moved back home from the Middle East, my dad was hard at work preparing my granny flat. I didn’t even need to tell him how much I struggled with lighting. He must have known that it was important for someone with low vision to have so he made sure to put in at least six windows in to provide ample natural lighting to help me see better.
The windows make my place bright and airy – very cheerful!
I asked the friend who’d just moved if his new place had much natural light. “That hurts my eyes,” he admitted. “It gives me a terrible headache. I can’t stand it!”
4. Black-out Curtains
For him, black-out curtains were key. He spent several days shopping for black-out curtains to block out the light. He tried to describe what he wanted to several people, without success.
Curious myself, asked, “Are they like the really heavy kind they used in London during World War II?” I asked. “You know, the kind they used so that fighter pilots didn’t bomb their houses.”
He said he used the black-out curtains to cut the glare from the window. Since that time, I’ve heard other vision impaired individuals mention the benefits of black-out curtains as well. Creating a comfortable environment for those with low vision means using different adaptations, including black-out curtains, if needed.
5. Rope Lights
One day, I received a new text.”Got my rope lights today and I had some help stringing them around the bottom edges of the walls.”
“Hey, they sound like Christmas lights. I guess you’ll be celebrating all year round!”
“They are pretty much like that,” he responded, “But these come with an insulation around the lights so you don’t have to worry about fire. They act as reference points for me and give me some depth perception and are extremely helpful. They do also help liven up the atmosphere.”
I never thought about string lights. They would probably help me on the stairs and definitely in my laundry room, which I can’t see at all after dark because the kind of lighting I have is so high. At least I have several night lights around the house that serve me well but string lights is something to look into.
These 5 types lighting have given me some great ideas to play around with. I also meet with a low vision specialist soon and maybe she can suggest some more ideas.
In the meantime, I think I’ll try to find a replacement for the burned out bulb.
You have just read, “Spotlight on Low Vision Lighting” bv Amy L. Bovaird. Copyright July 16, 2015. Please leave a comment and don’t forget to share it with your peeps!