Importance of lighting for people with low vision

Published on
July 23, 2022

More light is better most of the time, but it is crucial for patients with vision loss. More light is better for two reasons. One advantage is you see more contrast on whatever you are looking at. This enhances the contrast between dark and light edges. Thus, you can see the image better, even if it is magnified. Additionally, when you have more light, your pupils shrink as well, depending on what you're looking at. People always feel like they can see much better outside in the daylight. It happens because your pupils become smaller, and your natural range of focus increases. Therefore, having extra light has a double-sided advantage. There are some instances where lighting, or at least more lighting, does not work. In most cases though, the added light does help to increase the contrast and visibility.

Why is it important to visit a low vision optometrist to learn about lighting? 

With so many options of lighting available it is really important to speak with a low vision optometrist who has experience with guiding a patient with vision loss on the important aspects of lighting. 

Where does a low vision person need lighting? 

One thing that is important is to identify for the patient the places where lightning will have the most impact. For example, is the patient struggling with reading? In which case an adjustable floor lamp next to their favorite reading chair is the answer. However if the patient is struggling with mobility and bumping into things then the overall level of home lighting may need improvement. 

What kind of lighting improves color contrast? 

It is important to understand that not all lighting provides a low vision patient with the same improvements to color contrast. When looking for lighting it is recommended to find a light that is full spectrum or has color rendering index (CRI) of over 90. This will improve the quality of color that the light reflects. 

What kind of bulb should a low vision patient get? 

With so many different options to choose from it can be hard to know if you should get fluorescent, LED, Halogen, or incandescent. A low vision optometrist can guide you on the best lighting for your needs. For example LED is more adaptable with various form factors, adjustable strengths, high CRI, and less heat generation. 

Contact us!

Dr. Sarah Wolff is a residency trained low vision optometrist serving patients with vision loss from the greater Los Angeles area. She can steer you to where you can purchase these kinds of light bulbs and you can use these lighting tips to effectively function with low vision on a daily basis. We at Amplify EyeCare of Greater Long Beach will be glad to answer any questions or concerns you may have. For a low vision evaluation, please call (562) 925-6591 or fill out the contact form Book an Appointment .


I haven't actually used the optometrist side, so my review is limited to the vision therapy offered.  This office was recommended by my occupational therapist for the treatment of my double vision following a stroke.

Claire A.

Love this location. I had a brain injury accident from day one one. All the team make you feel you still important and hope in the horizon after when the medical system fell you miserably. Dr. Ikeda very professional and very understanding about your issue. Two tombs up.

Jim K.

My husband and I were immediately impressed with Dr Ikeda. I was hit by a car while cycling which caused broken bones and three brain injuries. The brain injuries caused double vision. Dr. Ikeda examined my eyes and got me started on vision therapy with his occupational therapist who specializes in vision therapy.  She (Chris) is absolutely great.  I am impressed with the array of tools used to help recover my binocular vision.  I am doing things I never thought were possible (balance boards etc).  Chris pushes me and keeps me motivated. I really enjoy my sessions with her.  The office staff is always friendly and they have a wonderful appointment reminder tool that makes it easy to keep my calendar up to date. I am happy the rehab center at Little Co. of Mary recommended them!!

Teresa S.

The Vision Therapy is handled in a separate office through a different door from the shared waiting room. Chris, the vision therapist, has a wide and varied assortment of tools, equipment and resources to best evaluate and treat most vision issues. After just a few visits, my double vision became easier to control, using exercises developed during the therapy process. It was time well-spent.

Joe M.

I have been coming here since I can remember. I love it here. The staff is so amazing and nice. They explain everything they gonna do and never make you feel rushed. Dr. Ikeda has always been my doctor and I would never want another one. He is the doctor for my whole family and is always asking how everyone is doing. I am also so crazy about picking out my frames and have to try so many and each person who helps me take the time and lets me try them all on. I would never want to go anywhere else! I definitely would recommend this office to anyone looking for a great eye doctor.

Kayla W.

This is not for the eye exam but for the frames selection portion. I brought my prescription from Kaiser here with my VSP insurance. The reception staff was very polite and professional.  Manny helped me to pick out frames and explain my coverage.  Very helpful and patient not like the individual at the other place I rated here on Yelp.  I was running late and he still helped me and was not bothered at all.  I am so glad I came here ..........very pleased.

Very professional staff and pleasant.

Daniel G.
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