It is important to take care of your eyes while reading, and one of the most important of all eye care tips is proper lighting.
Consider your lighting. While proper, scientific lighting is available today for everyone, an overwhelming number of people regard their lighting fixtures from the viewpoint of their decorative value rather than of their value to the eyes. There is no reason why a light cannot be both decorative and useful, but it is not common sense to select it primarily for its decorative value.
The lighting companies frequently offer free services in analyzing your proper lighting needs and there are many free pamphlets which provide the same service. Good light is essential to eye health, and bad light affects the eyes as surely as bad air affects the lungs.
In planning lamps to meet your reading needs there are three essentials to keep in mind:
1. There must be enough light.
2. There must be no glare.
3. There must be good general illumination in the room. That is, the room should be about as bright as the page you are reading. So don’t use a reading lamp and turn on no other lights.
Research has just begun to make clear to us the vital effect of lighting on vision and on the general health. Matthew Luckiesh, in Light, Vision and Seeing, pointed out the far-reaching effects of proper lighting in offices and factories:
“Among the tangible and intangible benefits,” he writes, “arising from high see-levels and good seeing conditions in general are:
1. Increased rate of performance of useful work done which results in decreased costs.
2. Increased accuracy which results in better work and less waste of materials, thereby decreasing costs.
3. Increased ease of seeing which results in the conservation of human resources, such as eyesight, energy and time, through the reduction in eyestrain, nervous tension, eye-fatigue, general fatigue, annoyance and mental fatigue.
4. Increased safety through quick, certain and easy seeing which reduces the enormous material and human losses due to preventable accidents.
5. Increased morale resulting directly or indirectly from the foregoing and from other psychological factors such as cheerful surroundings which are an inevitable result of good seeing conditions.” Reading under a pool of light in an otherwise darkened room seems to be a widespread practice with attendant strain.
This is one of the least known eye care tips. Not only should the room itself be adequately lighted but, for eye ease and for maximum light, it is a great help if the walls themselves are light in color. Dark colors absorb light while light colors reflect it. The darker your walls, draperies, and the upholstery of your furniture the more light you are losing.
As glare causes eyestrain, always sit so that the light comes over your left shoulder and falls directly on the printed page. Never read facing a light.
When reading by artificial light, a tall table lamp with a 150-watt bulb is recommended. Place the lamp on the table to the left of your chair. In order to avoid reflected glare on the printed page, try this simple test: Place a small pocket mirror in the center of the page. If the light bulb is reflected in the mirror, move the lamp until there is no place on the printed page where your eyes can see the light in the mirror.
People who have a pet chair in which they like to read overlook the fact that there may be no adequate light near the page. People start to read by bright daylight, become engrossed, and do not notice that as twilight falls, the light grows dimmer and dimmer, until they are straining to make out the words on the printed page.