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Remember when most light bulbs were pleasant and didn't set off strange symptoms and sensitivities? Whether your light sensitivity is due to an underlying condition or you find yourself uncomfortable from exposure to certain types of light - you're not alone - and like so many of our customers! 

As you may have realized, it's become increasingly more difficult to find light bulbs that won't cause symptoms: after any length of time, most light bulbs these days cause eye strain, discomfort, and for some, other unwanted symptoms. 

Today, let's talk about light sensitivity and how we might be able to help - if you're the type to skip to the end, we recommend using only incandescent or (Chromalux® brand) halogen light bulbs if light sensitivity is a problem for you.  

What causes light sensitivity? Which light bulbs cause light sensitivity?

While any light source can trigger your symptoms, most people are triggered by some qualities of light inherent to lower-quality LED and fluorescent light bulbs. 

First, let's talk about the two usual culprits behind most light sensitivity.

Harsh "on/off" light flicker

Flicker is a by-product of being plugged into the AC electrical grid, and while all light bulbs flicker to some degree - not all flicker is the same. 

The flicker from LED, for example, is more of a strobing "on/off" effect, while the flicker from incandescent or halogen light bulbs is more of a gentle glow -- like a candle's flicker, due to the thermal inertia from the bulb's glowing filament.

Just as it's far more pleasant to stare at a candle flame, the same goes for the glowing flicker from incandescent light bulbs. 

Blue light wavelengths / glare + brightness

The brightness and color of light trigger most symptoms of light sensitivity: specifically, the bluer range of the visible color spectrum. 

We always start with this important caveat, however: blue light is not bad, but biologically necessary: it is the part of visible light that keeps our energy levels up during the day and our circadian rhythm synced. 

However, blue light in isolation - as is often the case with most device screens and LED bulbs - has potentially damaging effects on the eyes and can trigger symptoms in some sensitive individuals. 

Now for glare and brightness, much of this has to do with the "noise" of artificial lighting. Most light bulbs give off a very flat, jarring, intrusive, and incredibly bright light. 

What light bulbs are best for light sensitivity?

If all the above are usual determinants of your symptoms, choosing light sources without harsh flicker, blue light wavelengths, or extreme "noisy" brightness makes sense! 

As we'll see shortly, incandescent light bulbs (or their slightly brighter sister, the halogen light bulb) are the best light bulbs for light sensitivity. 

And - as we've written extensively about - incandescent bulbs are simple, analog light sources similar in form to the sun and are unarguably the healthiest type of light bulb available. We like to think that our body would have no reason to respond negatively to the kind of light provided by nature! 

Not all incandescent or halogen light bulbs are made equal, however - if you or someone you love genuinely suffers from their sensitivity (or if the sensitivity includes eye strain primarily), trying a filtered version of incandescent light, like the Chromalux® light bulb, can make a big difference! 

To summarize: choose any light bulb that is: 

Warmer in color temperature 

This means a light bulb containing less blue light and more red light. That could mean either incandescent or warm white color temperature LED bulbs. 

Does not flicker on/off or has low flicker

As mentioned before, it's much more pleasant to the eyes and body to watch a candle flicker versus a static, rapidly flickering on/off signal. Even if you can't see the flicker, it's there, and your body feels it.  

Is either dimmable or lower in wattage

A light that's too bright is unnerving. Especially when it's so-called "junk light". We recommend sticking to lower wattage/lower brightness light bulbs or using bulbs on dimmer switches so you can control the brightness yourself. 

We also recommend covering up any "uncovered" fixtures in your home, such as pendants. 

As a side note, wattage in the case of LED bulbs doesn't equate to brightness: a 12 Watt LED, for example, can still be quite bright, whereas an incandescent bulb's wattage does equate to its brightness. 

What are the symptoms of light sensitivity?

While we're not doctors, the symptoms of light sensitivity can look like many conditions. Whether migraines, headaches, dizziness, or eye pain, you'll know its light sensitivity if your symptoms are triggered after exposure to a particular light source and subside when that light turns off. 

The following are some common symptoms of light sensitivity: 

  • Headache/migraines
  • Vertigo or dizziness
  • Light intolerance/the desire to flee from the light source
  • Eye pain or discomfort
  • Excess squinting/blinking
  • Burning or watering of the eye

Other helpful lifestyle tips:

While changing your light is a great place to begin, we also recommend the following: 

  • Getting natural sunshine first thing every day
  • Limiting blue light and bright light usage in the evening
  • Setting your device screens to warmer color temperatures

 

Wrapping up: 

Light is a gift from nature, and we'd like to keep it as such. Choose better lighting and start unwinding a bit!

Wishing you all the best in light and health!

 

💡Thanks for reading!

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