Published on February 03, 2022

Light it Up

light bulb

Ambient & task lighting can help those with low vision.

Two types of lighting can help those with low vision:

• Ambient (overhead lighting)

• Task (lighting you use for reading, a project or craft activity)

You will find many different kinds of lighting in the lighting section of your local store. What I typically recommend are the LED light bulbs. They are usually long lasting and energy efficient. LED bulbs do not emit heat from the front of the bulb, so they make great lighting for tasks.

When you are talking about light bulbs, color is very important for individuals with vision loss. In the lighting section of a store, you will be overwhelmed by the options, but it comes down to these options:

• Soft (or warm) light has more of a yellow tint

• Cool (or bright) light

• Daylight (brighter white)

Daylight bulbs are typically the best for helping people with low vision see tasks better. Daylight is very bright and serves much better in rooms where you are reading and using your vision, such as kitchens, bathrooms, closets (to determine color), offices or anywhere you are needing to use your vision more effectively.

Lights with shades tend to lose some of the property of the light. It is best to use a light where you can direct or focus the light toward your task.

What do the numbers on a light bulb box mean?

The watts are not as important as the lumens. A 100-watt light bulb equals 1500 lumens. Lumens represent the brightness of the bulb. Bulbs with 75-100 watts are best for ambient (overhead) lighting. Bulbs with 40-60 watts are best for task lights.

Look at the lumens. Whereas a flashlight is typically 200-250 lumens, a 40-60 watt bulb is typically 800 lumens.