Lighting can be both friend and foe when living with low vision. Many people benefit from extra light; however, light can create a disabling glare when poorly controlled. The suggestions below can assist with making light your friend.
Thank you to Blind Low Vision NZ rehabilitation for this quick guide on how you can best use light as someone who experiences low vision.
1. Try to keep general lighting within the home even, particularly around hazardous areas such as steps. Some people find it difficult to adapt from dark to light and vice versa. Some compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs can take time to reach full strength, so avoid putting these in risk areas.
2. Wear a visor or peaked hat, plus sunglasses with side filters to control low winter sun. Some people wear light sunglasses for indoors and darker for outdoors. If you’re a client of Blind Low Vision NZ, ask for a glare assessment who have sunglasses with a range of colours and light transmissions.
3. Move your TV and computer screens to avoid reflections. Sun filter roller blinds are particularly effective at controlling glare within the home while maintaining essential light.
4. Light the path to the bathroom at night using plug-in wall lights with sensors, available from hardware stores.
5. For detailed tasks, invest in an adjustable task lamp and position it to avoid glare feedback from the bulb. If you’re a client of Blind Low Vision NZ, we can provide a task lighting assessment to help you work out which type of light source suits you best.
6. If dark cupboards are a problem, use a head torch or fit an interior light. Some light-emitting diode (LED) strips are battery operated and can “stick-on” to avoid expensive electrician bills.
7. Keep your magnifier safe—ensure it is covered and out of direct sunlight to avoid fire risk. If you do not have a case, use a sock!