We spend a great deal of time staring at screens of all sizes and shapes these days. Whether on our laptops, tablets, or our phones, our days are full of black mirrors. In conjunction with the natural aging process, this is a terrible combination for our eyes.
Considering how strained our eyes can be from all the screens, it’s a surprise that so many of us don’t invest in enough lighting. Here’s why that’s a problem.
The Effects of Poor Lighting & Screen Glare on Eyes
For those of us who work and play with screens, the constant shifting of pixels and glare can do a number on our eyes.
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), there are several symptoms of computer vision syndrome—eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, and neck pain. For children, computer vision syndrome leads to reduced attention span, irritability, and poor behavior.
As we get older, the amount of light we need increases each year. While reading under dim light may not seem to have long-term effects on your sight, the discomfort can make you less productive. Additionally, failing to have enough light can aggravate existing eye problems like cataracts and retinal issues.
How to Choose a Good Desk Lamp
One way to avoid the perils of bad lighting and screen glare is to invest in a desk lamp. The goal of every good desk lamp is to alleviate symptoms of eye strain by reducing the contrast between your screen and the dimness surrounding it. Here are some tips on choosing the best ones for you.
A good desk lamp is easily adjustable in terms of both height and direction. It should also fit the proportions of your desk or work area. Desk lamps should function as auxiliary lighting for dimmer areas surrounding your screen, not directly lighting it.
There are six basic types of desk lamps that you can choose from—adjustable, gooseneck, clip-on, magnifying, or banker. In general, a lamp with a swivel or a flexible stem is ideal for the most mobility.
Type of Bulb
There are three types of light bulbs for every lamp—LED, Fluorescent (CFL), and Incandescent. While there are pros and cons to each type of bulb, LED bulbs are ideal because of their long life span, efficient energy use, and dim features.
Ideally, LED bulbs of 5 to 10 watts are suitable for most workstations. For task lighting, cool lights at around 4000K are better for illumination, causing less eye strain.
According to Benq, about 90cm both to the left and right of a screen should be a suitable illumination range. As most standard desk lamps have an illumination range is 30cm to 50cm, you should consider more than one lamp if you are working over several screens. When choosing a desk lamp, avoid choosing flickering bulbs which induce a strobe-like effect causing dizziness.
Keep the Light On
When it comes to working long days and late nights, having a lamp is an essential tool. Not only is it necessary for your productivity, but it also good for your overall health as well.
Other than adding a desk lamp or two, you can help keep your eyes healthy through other means. For example, you can use dark or eye strain reduction mode on your devices or lowering screen brightness. Alternatively, you can simply try to lessen screen time altogether.
The right kind of lamp takes trial and error. As our eyesight change with time, so does our various needs. While it may seem like a lot of work to pay attention to, it is well worth the effort to find the perfect lamp for yourself.