One of the simplest ways of “improving” vision, particularly as we age, is by improving the lighting in our day to day work environment. Due to the natural aging of the lens inside our eye (it thickens and becomes hazy), the amount of light actually reaching the retina diminishes markedly over time. The initial impact will be noticed in small ways from our early 40’s when activities like driving into an underground car park will cause a noticeable “drop” in vision for a short period, particularly when wearing sunglasses. Over successive decades the amount of light required to see comfortably increases sharply; by the time we are in our 60’s we will need at least 3 times as much light to perceive the same level of brightness as a young person.

Elderly patients or anyone who is developing cataracts or other media opacities will notice the impact lighting has on their vision. Most will comment that they have no difficulty seeing in bright sunlight, but inside is a different story. One of the simplest and least expensive solutions to vision frustration during this period is to improve lighting! In fact, without good lighting, often a change in spectacles will not give the hoped for improvement in vision. Trying to read in bed in a poorly lit or dark room with the aid of a very decorative bedside light throwing all the illumination on the bedside table will confirm this!

For visual comfort as we age, good general room lighting is essential as well as ensuring work spaces like kitchen and work benches and desks are evenly and well lit without creating glare. A specific task light can make a big difference to contrast and comfort for reading and hobby work. We recommend daylight globes or lights that have the advantage of keeping objects their natural colour (they simulate outside light) with good contrast, and are very comfortable on our eyes. There are at least a couple of brands of these lights on the market; we keep a small selection in stock and they are readily available through many lighting, craft and hobby shops.