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November 3, 2014

When Bright Light is Too Bright

We all know not to stare at the sun. After all, it only takes a few minutes to cause permanent retinal damage. Lasers and bright industrial lights can also cause retinal damage in a very short amount of time. Exposing your eyes to light that is too bright can have a negative impact on your vision, so taking the proper eye care measures is essential to your eye health.

Given the dangers of very bright lights, it is possible that long-term exposure to moderately bright light can be just as damaging. However, normal use of commercial fluorescent or incandescent lights in the workplace or in school shouldn’t cause any permanent harm, as long as you are not staring at the lights. A good rule of thumb is to never stare at anything that hurts your eyes.

Over-illumination can occur when the light intensity is higher than needed for a specific activity. According to the healthfitnessportal.com, such excessive use of light can produce fatigue, stress, anxiety, hypertension and even decreased sexual function. Excessive light has also been linked to causing migraine headaches. Some adverse outcomes are most common for workers subjected daily to intense fluorescent light, poorly matched to the natural spectrum of light. This is because health impacts have as much to do with using an artificial spectrum of light as with the level of illumination itself.

The easiest way to protect against possible retinal light damage from bright light outdoors is to wear sunglasses, preferably sunglasses with a dark tint. When indoors, be sure to use only as much light as necessary to read and work. There’s no reason to exceed this amount with very bright lighting. Light bulbs with “warm” reds and greens are safer than lights using “cool” blues. (brightfocus). Since too much bright evening light can inhibit the release of melatonin and throw off our natural sleep cycle, it’s also wise to limit the use of bright light close to bedtime. Use natural sunlight whenever possible, or light that more closely matches the color spectrum of sunlight.

In short, remember that all good things in life are best enjoyed in moderation, and that goes for light too. If you feel your health has taken a toll from over-illumination, give us a call at 877-871-1684 to schedule an appointment with an eye care specialist.

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