Text: Alison Ritter
Photos: Bartenbach GmbH

06. Jun 2014

Vision deteriorates as we grow older

Our vision deteriorates as we grow older, leaving many feeling unsafe and unsure of themselves when moving around spaces and orienting themselves. The result: dwindling self-assurance and increasing dependence on others. For years the lighting researchers from the Austrian-based company Bartenbach have been investigating ways of applying light to enhance the quality of life for the elderly. As part of an EU-funded research project entitled “Guiding Light” the findings the Bartenbach team have compiled to date are being monitored and appraised for their practicality and effectiveness in a series of test apartments.

Our society is ageing. According to the information services company Statistik Austria, by 2030 men will have a life expectancy of 86 years, and women of 89 years. This will have drastic consequences for elderly people’s vision, which deteriorates exponentially the older we get. In everyday life this means enormous restrictions. Poor lighting conditions hinder mobility, increase the danger of tripping or falling and generally lead to people feeling unsafe. As a consequence, the elderly become increasingly more dependent on the help of others. There are three criteria which are key to counteracting this process. Lighting solutions designed to meet the needs of older people require substantially higher illuminance levels. Glare must be avoided and the light must be controlled in ist intensity, colour temperature and light distribution to align with natural lighting conditions over the course of the day. […]

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The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 93

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