Guess what. Pink is good for eyes. It’s true. After listening to a Seminars@Hadley presentation by Dr. Elaine Kitchel on low vision and lighting, I learned about the effects of light on eyes. The best light for retina cells: reds.
Most of us know about the damaging effects of UV rays. Macular degeneration and cataracts are fast friends with those bad beams. UV light includes a range of wavelengths, and studies show exposure to the blue light, prevalent in electronic devices and LEDs, kills off retinal cells. As of 2016, there’s no reviving those dead retinal cells. Yikes.
So, how do you know if your lighting is within the harmful blue wavelength or in the safer red wavelength? Look for the kelvins. Store packages show codes, according to Dr. Kitchel, the last two digits reveal this information. Others list alpha codes like CW (cool white), D (daylight), FS (full spectrum), all bad for retina cells. Items labeled warm white or soft white are acceptable. Here’s a link to a bit on Lumens.com about Kelvin Color Temperature for more info.
These facts sent me to tour around my whereabouts checking light bulbs. Bedside table lamp: good. Lighting above the kitchen table: bad. Office fluorescent lighting: unknown.
If you’re tired in a particular environment, it may have nothing to do with your sleep habits, but more about how your retinas and hypothalamus react to the lighting. In places you can’t control the lighting say the workplace or public spaces, minimize blue light exposure. Wear a hat. Wear sunglasses. Place a UV filter film on screens. Build a barrier for eye health.
With all that in place, lighting is not the only thing catching our eyes. Paint colors and decor cause physiological reactions, too. There’s a reason some places are painted pink and it’s not for an old-fashioned love of John Mellencamp. A particular shade, Baker-Miller pink, reduced aggression and stress temporarily. It makes me want to paint every hyperactive kid’s room and every distracted office mate’s cubicle cotton candy or magenta or pale raspberry. It also makes me begrudgingly realize maybe my mom is on to something with her interior go-to of pinks and peaches. Don’t worry Dad, I’m not going to advocate for the new kitchen to be changed to shades of salmon and creamsicle. Next visit, I will be checking your light bulbs though. For the eyes, think pink.
Have you heard about the the damaging effects of blue light? What places wear you out? Would you ever paint rooms in your house pink? Tell me about it.
Note: for more on damaging blue light, check out my post about light pollution.