Have you ever experienced a headache or eye fatigue after spending hours on your laptop or phone?

Well, you’re not alone. According to the CDC, eye problems in the US are soaring, and they will cost about $373 billion by 2050.

Of course, lighting contributes significantly to this, as almost every American home has access to it.

In this article, we’ll compare the types of lighting and explain which are the most and least harmful to your eyes. Keep reading!

Which Lighting Is the Least Harmful to Your Eyes?

The least harmful lighting for your eyes is warm light, which primarily consists of red, orange, and yellow tones.

Of course, the best warm light source is filtered natural light, but incandescent bulbs and LED lighting also provide warm light.

Maintaining good eye health is crucial if you want your vision to stand the test of time. Luckily, lighting is something you can control to prevent vision problems.

You just need more of this light in your home.

Natural Light

Natural light is undeniably the cheapest and safest way to light your home.

In addition, investing in natural lighting methods like skylights and large windows reduce the need for artificial lighting during the day.

a newly renovated dining room with grey chairs around a wood table
Natural lighting like this makes all the difference in sparing your eyes from pain and strain. In our second netzero home here, we did the best we could with natural daylight bulbs, high CRI (color rendering index), and then making sure to keep blinds open and natural light pouring in from outside.

Unlike direct sunlight, natural light does not contain as much UV radiation as the windows filter it.

When you’re at home during the day, draw your curtains to let in as much natural light as possible.

Incandescent Warm Light Bulbs

These are the traditional bulbs that most homes used before fluorescent lights and LED bulbs flooded the market. They give off a yellowish glow that is less strenuous for the eyes.

Unfortunately, they consume more energy than their successors, LEDs, hence their reduced popularity.

However, you can install them in rooms that do not require constant lighting, like bathrooms.

This way, incandescent bulbs consume as little energy as possible while protecting your eyes.

LED Bulbs

LEDs are the most energy-efficient light sources on the market. They’re relatively expensive, but understandably so, because they do not emit UV rays.

Besides, their availability in different colors makes them a flexible choice. You can make things interesting by using red or blue bulbs for your bathroom, balcony, or bedroom.

a hand in the middle of the picture holding up a lit up LED light bulb with a garden in the background
LED bulbs are better for your eyes and very energy efficient to boot.

For places like your kitchen requiring maximum visibility, yellow or white bulbs could do the trick.

If you want to control the brightness level in your home, you can invest in dimmable LED bulbs.

Full Spectrum Lighting

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding full-spectrum lighting and how to identify it.

Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to detect whether the bulb you bought has a full spectrum from observation alone.

Instead, you need special photometry equipment. As a result, several brands have claimed their products are full spectrum when they aren’t.

Full-spectrum lighting simulates the spectral energy offered by natural light.

These light sources have the same color and appearance as natural daylight. As a result, they offer similar advantages, especially in terms of eye health.

Additional benefits include:

● Improved mood and ambiance

● Better color perception

● Enhanced readability

Three Light Sources You Should Avoid for Better Eye Health

Identifying light sources harmful to your eye health is just as important as knowing which are best.

Some types of light emit UV rays which degrade the eyes, making them more susceptible to medical problems like cataracts, corneal damage, and macular depreciation.

Here are some such types of lighting.

Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs)

These bulbs emit fewer UV rays than the standard fluorescent tubes but more UV rays than LED lights and incandescent bulbs. This is because they have a phosphor coating that converts UV rays into visible light.

However, if there’s a crack in the phosphor coating, UV rays leak out. This creates a harmful environment for the eyes.

It’s difficult to tell when the UV rays leak out in such a situation without inspecting the bulb. This issue with CFLs earned them a position on this list.

Standard Fluorescent Tubes

These bulbs emit the most UV rays compared to other sources, making them the most harmful to your eyes.

Sometimes, it may be difficult to avoid this type of lighting, for instance, in a work setting.

In such a situation, you can wear protective eyewear to reduce the damage to your eyes.

Prolonged and repeated exposure to UV rays may cause cataracts and, in extreme cases, blindness. Therefore, try to reduce the usage of standard fluorescent tubes as much as possible.

In places where you control the lighting, like your home, opt for alternative sources like LED lights and incandescent bulbs.

Blue Light

Woman sitting in a blue room wearing a pink t-shirt looking at her phone and squinting from eye strain
Blue light is all around us yet is terrible for our eyes!

Blue light, like white light from standard fluorescent tubes, is an example of cool light.

As the name suggests, cool light is opposite to warm light as it is harsh on the eyes.

Blue light possesses a lot of energy and is usually emitted by smartphones, computer screens, tablets, and TVs.

Spending too much time on your devices can cause eye strain, headaches, and pain in your neck and back.

Additionally, extended screen time, especially before bed, can interfere with your sleep.

You can take screen breaks to reduce the effects above and substitute some of your device hobbies, like computer games, with other pursuits that do not require your computer, TV, or smartphone.

The Top 7 Lighting Tips to Improve Your Eye Health

  1. Draw curtains and open blinds to improve the natural lighting at home and work. If you’re in a position to choose the type of windows for your home, ensure they’re made from UV-resistant glass to block out harmful rays.
  2. Wear sunglasses when going outside during the day. This protects your eyes from UV rays emitted by direct sunlight.
  3. Opt for warm light bulbs instead of cool lighting to reduce eye strain. You can combine different types of lighting to achieve an effect as similar to natural light as possible.
  4. Use directed lighting like lamps for tasks such as reading. Ensure the light bulbs you use for this are warm for the least amount of UV radiation.
  5. Work in well-lit areas to avoid eye strain caused by dim lighting. If you want to save energy, you can use dimmable lights that allow you to adjust the brightness depending on your needs.
  6. Avoid using your devices (smartphone, tablet, TV, and laptop) in darkness to reduce eye strain. If you prefer to watch your TV in the dark, place an ambient backlight behind it to reduce eye fatigue.
  7. Get your eyes tested regularly. Seeing an eye specialist once or twice a year for checkups can help you discover any eye problems as they develop. Your ophthalmologist can also advise you on how to keep your eyes healthy.

Final Word

Vision is an essential part of overall health that requires special attention. Understanding the effects of different lighting types helps prevent eye problems caused by light.

Warm light sources like incandescent bulbs and LED lights have been proven to be the least harmful to the eyes as they are similar to natural daylight.

Cool lighting like fluorescent tubes and blue light from devices damage the eyes and can cause issues like eye strain.

Opt for warm light sources in your home and wear protective eyewear when exposed to UV rays to keep your eyes healthy.

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