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Research on the benefits of Full Spectrum Lighting
Citing American Optometrists Association figures, Dr. Sheedy noted that eye-related complaints are the “number one” problem cited by computer users.
Studies found that more than 10% of workers complained of sore eyes every day. More than 50% suffered sore eyes at least once a week. (OHM issue No. 93)
Research shows that the physiological and psychological effects of artificial lighting are significant and quantifiable. The amount of light is important, but the composition of quality of light is perhaps the most important factor, affecting health, temperament, and the ability to see clearly.
Under broad spectrum lamps versus cool white lamps, humans have increased oxygen intake, reduced heart rate, increased ability to absorb vitamin D and calcium, and improved muscle utilisation. (Hughes,1986) (Neer,1984)
“The results support the conclusion that artificial lighting simulating natural light (broad spectrum lamps) is perceived as significantly more pleasant, natural, bright and stimulating. Subjects felt more relaxed, less fatigued and as having greater eye comfort under the simulated natural light. Additionally, they rated their work as being more distinct, easier and satisfying.” (Hughes. 1986)
The research of Aston and Bellchambers, followed by that of the Naval Submarine Research laboratory, concludes that fluorescent lamps with superior colour rendering result in a visual clarity that is 40% greater than typical cool white lamps.
In 1973, Dr. Ott used four windowless, first grade classrooms in Sarasota, Florida to test the effectiveness of full-spectrum lighting. Two classrooms received installations of full-spectrum lights while two classrooms kept the standard cool-white fluorescent lights. The level of behaviour improved considerably in the classes with the full-spectrum lighting, while the overall academic level of the children in those classes rose considerably.
Here in Australia, we unwittingly persevere with the use of cool-white fluorescent lights. Yet the same light has been legally banned in Germany at a Federal level, largely due to the work of Doctors Ott and Hollwich.
Human Resource interests are being prioritised in progressive companies and businesses today. Full-spectrum lighting provides many benefits that are of immediate relevance to our Occupational Health considerations. These physiological and psychological advantages, combined with sustained quality performance, represent the future in work place illumination.
“There’s more to light than meets the eye”