According to a study performed by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), seniors in their 60s need approximately 2 to 3 times more light than younger individuals in order perceive the same level of details. Unfortunately, most homes do not accommodate this need since lighting guidelines are often catered to adults in their 30s.
Reduced visual acuity
Increased sensitivity to glare
Gradual decline in depth perception
Poor contrast sensitivity
Changes in color perception
Requiring more time to adapt to changes from light to dark
Fatigue in eye muscles (seeing activities like driving and reading become more tiring).
The following are some smart design elements that can be helpful for aging eyes:
Increase light in workrooms and high-risk areas such as stairs or change in floor inclines. Make sure that kitchen counters, stovetops, and sinks are well lit and do not cast shadows. Install floor lamps to illuminate dark corners to avoid collisions.
Minimize glare. While it’s true that seniors need more light to see details, older eyes are more sensitive to glares. Decrease glare by exchanging glossy surfaces for matte finishes and shielding all light fixtures. Drapes should also be used to minimize glare from natural light.
Install dimmers. Aging eyes require more time to focus from dark to light. Older homeowners can use dimmers to provide the right level of lighting for the tasks at hand. Dimmers are also great in bathrooms as they can add illumination to navigate dark mornings or nights without blinding the eyes.
Accent contrasts at surface edges, corners, entryways, halls, and stairways. After the age of 40, adults gradually lose their ability to distinguish contrast and struggle with depth perception. Therefore, maintaining distinct color contrasts is key especially when navigating stairs and differentiating furniture from the floor.
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