Indoor and Outdoor Lighting: Q&A
By Diane McMillan, Manager of Low Vision Clinic
May 13, 2020

How important is lighting when you have low vision?

Lighting is very important. Anyone with low vision will tell you what a difference the right lighting can make in your environment.
What are the different types of indoor lighting?
There are two types of indoor lighting: area lighting and task lighting. Area lighting, like ceiling lights and lamps, light up a single room. Task lighting is specific to smaller projects, like reading and crafts. A cone-shaped goose neck lamp provides light directly on the material you want to see. The bulb should be placed six to eight inches from the material and below eye level. 
What is type of bulb is best to use for low vision?
Different bulbs may be used indoors. LED and full spectrum light have too much ultraviolet (UV) or blue light in them. While, halogen lights are very hot and a fire hazard. GE’s Reveal®, or incandescent bulbs, are the preferred choice. It is a warm light and easier on the eyes. Also, three-way bulbs project more light and allow you to adjust the brightness to your needs.
How can I improve my vision in the outdoors?
Too much light can be a challenge. A quick solution is to wear sunglasses and a large brim hat. Be sure to wear sunglasses that block UV rays in the front, top, and on the sides. These type of sunglasses are often difficult to find in mainstream retail stores. Your local low vision agency, like AVRE, should have a good selection. UV blocking sunglasses come in different tints. Be sure that the sunglasses are dark enough for eye comfort but light enough for you to see efficiently. When you’re outdoors at night, carry a high-quality LED flashlight to help you see in the dark.