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Reading Illumination for the Partially Sighted - Existent and Preferred Illumination Levels and Colours of Light

1Lindner H., 1Feyer R.-P., 2Röhl F.-W., 1Behrens-Baumann W.,
1Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg, Universitäts-Augenklinik (Magdeburg)
2Universität Magdeburg, Institut für Biometrie (Magdeburg)

Purpose: Illuminance levels and colours of light existing at private reading places and subjectively desired illuminance levels and colours of light as determined experimentally were compared in two groups of partially sighted.
Methods: I. In 84 flats of partially sighted (56 females, 28 males, average age 74.5 years), illuminance levels existing at the reading places were measured and the colours of light of the reading-place illumination determined. II. In the Low-Vision Center of the Magdeburg University Clinic of Ophthalmology, a lectern furnished with a near-vision test chart was illuminated by a reading-place luminaire with provision for electronic adjustment. A total of 180 partially sighted were requested to set what they felt to be the optimum illuminance level on the near-vision test chart, and select the colour of light which they most appreciated.
Results: The illuminance levels measured at the reading places in the subjects' homes averaged 383 lx (range 75 - 10,933 lx). Eighty percent of all reading places had illuminance levels below 1,000 lx. The predominant colour of light was a mixture of daylight and bulb light. In the experiments, the median illuminance level desired was 10,676 lx (range 1,500 - 23,000 lx). DAYLIGHT colour of light was preferred by 47% of the partially sighted, LIGHT WHITE by 37%, and INTERIOR DESIGN (warm tone) by 16%.
Conclusions: Illuminance levels existing at reading places in the homes of partially sighted were approx. 4% of the desirable levels determined experimentally, thus being much too low. The colour of light predominating was WARM WHITE, whereas LIGHT WHITE was actually desired. Partially sighted subjects should receive better consultation by ophthalmologists and opticians, and low-vision experts should assist them in selecting and fitting reading-place luminaires.

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