Natural sunlight contains all the colors of the visible light spectrum with each color radiating at equal intensities. It’s natural light which adds benefits to our health and well-being. Exposure to natural light influences our moods and emotions, helps regulate our natural sleep cycles, and is an essential component in our bodies ability to synthesize vitamin D.
It was not that long ago our ancestors planned their activities around the rising and setting of the sun. Today, our schedules are far less reliant on natural light. We spend a significant portion of any day surrounded by artificial light, with little benefits. Most of our office buildings, schools, shopping centers, and homes are illuminated by the harsh, glaring light of fluorescent bulbs.
While fluorescent lights are an efficient, cost-effective lighting option, many people find the light emitted from these phosphorous covered tubes causes a significant amount of discomfort. Those affected by harsh glare and imperceptible fluorescent lighting flicker could see significant benefits from printed fluorescent light diffusers. A decorative fluorescent light diffuser minimizes the glare of artificial lights while adding visual appeal to any indoor environment.
The Basics & Benefits of Diffusing Light with Printed Panels
In general, a light diffuser is any material placed in the path of a light source that causes light to spread. Photographers often rely on light diffusers to soften shadows and eliminate glare.
Printed light diffusers are decorative plastic panels, or translucent film, that fit on or above existing light fixtures to diffuse harsh, glaring lights. With a printed fluorescent light diffuser, those who are negatively impacted by the glaring reality of fluorescent lights, or simply dislike the lackluster appearance of fluorescent fixtures, have the ability to easily minimize glare while enhancing their décor. Consider the following benefits:
- Eliminate harsh glare while selecting a print that accentuates the mood of the room
- Bringing the feeling of the outdoors in, with covers that suggest a cloud-filled sky on a sunny day
- Selecting a design or theme that compliments the nature or purpose of your business
- Using images and scenery to create a relaxing, welcoming environment
- Transforming unutilized ceiling space with a unique form of artistic expression
The Potential Health Concerns Commonly Attributed to Fluorescent Lighting
While artificial lighting does not affect everyone negatively, many people are sensitive to the color temperature and glare of fluorescent lights. Unlike natural sunlight, fluorescent lights commonly disperse a narrow range of visible light from the electromagnetic spectrum, particularly light within the blue spectrum. Blue light is shown to have a significant impact on pain perception, and sleep cycle dysregulation.
For those who are susceptible to the discomfort triggered by fluorescent lights, long hours under harsh lighting conditions can cause insomnia, eye strain, chronic headaches, and trigger migraine episodes. Those who experience eyestrain under the glare of unfiltered fluorescent light may be painfully aware of one or more of the following symptoms:
- Tired, sore, or aching eyes
- Frequent burning or itching
- Eyes that feel scratchy or dry
- Frequent eye-watering
- Increasing sensitivity to bright, artificial light
- Increasing sensitivity to sunlight
- Blurred or double vision
- Increased blinking to alleviate discomfort
- Recurring headaches triggered by fluorescent light exposure
Fluorescent lights rely on electrical energy interacting with gases to create UV rays. The ultraviolet radiation is absorbed by the phosphorous coating of the fluorescent tube, creating visible light. While eye strain is an uncomfortable side-effect of fluorescent light exposure, consistent exposure to the UV radiation emitted by fluorescent light significantly increases your risk of eye diseases like corneal bumps (pterygia), cataracts, and macular degeneration.
Unfiltered Light and the Symptoms of Photophobia
Some people experience a significant amount of pain from light exposure, a condition known as “photophobia.” While some experience symptoms of photophobia immediately when exposed to light, others find their symptoms escalate after periods of prolonged exposure to harsh or glaring lights.
Photophobia is a well-documented symptom associated with several neurological, autoimmune, and ophthalmic conditions. While many of the symptoms of photophobia overlap with signs of eye strain, those living with photophobia may recognize some of the following additional symptoms:
- Excessive tearing with exposure to daylight, computer screens or fluorescent lighting
- Inability to fully open the eyes with changing or increased light intensity
- Redness, inflammation, burning, or other symptoms of eye strain
- Blurred or double vision, difficulty maintaining focus
- Frequent headaches with exposure to some types of light, including overhead fluorescent lights
For those who are sensitive, working at a computer screen in a room lit by fluorescent lighting can make an uncomfortable situation intolerable. Studies show that in addition to the harsh glare of blue light, the imperceptible flicker of fluorescent lights is believed to contribute to chaotic brain signaling shown to intensify pain perception, trigger or intensify anxiety symptoms, and reduce office and classroom productivity.
Simple Changes to Add Benefits to Your Environment
A printed fluorescent light diffuser is an easy way to transform the appearance of dull, lifeless ceiling space while diffusing the glare and reducing the symptoms of eye strain and photophobia. Beautifying your environment offers additional health and wellness benefits.
Research suggests simply viewing images of nature and natural environments can have a significant effect on our health and wellbeing; images of nature significantly reduces the impact of stress by influencing the responses of the parasympathetic nervous system. Consider the potential benefits of minimizing the effects of stress by adding any of the following images into your workplace environment:
- Clouds and sky
- Animals in their natural habitat
- Land scenery
- Florals and grapevines
- Mountain peaks
- Ocean Scenery
You are not limited to selecting natural scenery when selecting a printed fluorescent light diffuser. You will find that there are numerous possibilities and benefits; access to printed light diffusers to compliment any décor, including covers that replicate the elegance of stained glass, frosted glass, and intricate ironwork.
Diffusing Symptoms by Diffusing Fluorescent Light
You can transform the appearance of your dull, dreary fluorescent lights while calming the potentially detrimental effects of fluorescent lighting in your home, office, or classroom with Sky-Scapes®. We offer two types of decorative fluorescent light diffusers, Durastrong® plastic panels to replace your current fluorescent light cover, and Clear Cell film to place on top of the covers you currently use. Our Durastrong plastic has the added benefits of being specially formulated with UV inhibitors to help block UV rays, keep colors crisp, and prevent yellowing.