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As we get older, the lights seem to get dimmer! Today's Vision wants you to know that one of the easiest ways to improve your vision is to boost your lighting. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

1. Add table lamps. Table lamps provide good “walking around light” and can also help illuminate the content of your drawers. To get the best illumination, choose a good size lamp (22 to 30 inches high, depending on the space and your needs) and a shade that is not too opaque.

2. Use an adjustable reading or task lamp. Task lamps have a pivoting shade that directs the light where you need it and some have an adjustable arm too, so you can raise and lower the light. They're available from major home stores like Lowes, Home Depot and Target.

3. Get the Right Bulb. You'll want to test different kinds of lighting to determine what is most comfortable for you. The most popular energy efficient bulb on the market today is the compact fluorescent bulb (CFL), readily available in home stores and now even in grocery stores. But with so many types of CFLs to choose from, finding the right bulb can be daunting.

For starters, CFLs come in different wattages than the standard incandescent bulb. The output of a 15 watt OttLite bulb is roughly equivalent to that of a 60 watt incandescent bulb. For a reading lamp, use a 15 watt soft white CFL.

Energystar.gov has a good primer on how to choose light bulbs: put “light bulb” in the search box.

4. Add a Floor Lamp. To brighten up a small dim space, consider a torchiere with a fluorescent bulb. These uplights are very effective floor lamps as they direct light toward the ceiling, creating indirect, easy-on-the-eyes lighting. They are widely available at major home stores; prices start around $50.

5. Use Night Lights! Place night lights throughout the house – in the living room, bathroom, hallways, kitchen, and, of course, the bedroom. Choose colored LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights that emit soft blue or green light. LED lights cost only pennies a year to operate and are cool to the touch. For quirky spaces, like a hallway that doesn't have an outlet, use an LED battery operated sensor night light. LED night lights are widely available at major home stores; prices start around $5.

The best thing about the relatively low cost of changing your lighting is that you can experiment until you find just the right combination of design and illumination. It also feels good to freshen up your space with brighter lighting as these autumn days get shorter.


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