In recent years, the world has experienced something of a revolution in lighting technology. A major drop in the price of LEDs has allowed them to go from being an eco-friendly but expensive option to the most cost-effective lighting solution available for homes, schools, corporate hubs, hospitals, and manufacturing units. Long lasting, efficient, and easy to install, they have become an obvious choice for families as well as businesses. Yet they are still not perfect.
Unlike the now rare incandescent bulbs that they replace, they do not emit all frequencies of light equally. This means that LEDs still struggle to render a full spectrum of colours, dulling the objects that they light up. It also means that they tend to over-emit blue light. Invisible to the naked eye, blue light nonetheless causes eye strain and fatigue that any regular computer user/ student can attest to. Issues like this have a specific impact on children, who have more sensitive eyes than adults and yet spend the vast majority of their time under artificial light.
Solving these problems usually takes the form of a compromise. Colour rendering is improving across the board, and there is a belated increase in understanding of the risks that blue light can pose. For many LED manufacturers, however, a higher Colour Rendering Index (CRI) usually translates to a lower brightness and ultimately to a reduced efficiency. The Reading Bulb – SeniorLED’s new product geared specifically towards protecting the visual health of young children and students- overcomes these trade-offs.
Making children-friendly LED bulbs
With an industry leading CRI of 95 (out of a maximum 100), the Reading Bulb can provide a natural light that avoids the grey, lifeless ‘office lighting’ that many have no choice but accustom themselves to. This is typically achieved by filtering out some parts of light spectrum, so the trick is in doing this while maintaining sufficient brightness to allow children to study and read without straining their eyes. Across the world, tens of millions of students and children do homework under insufficient lighting which is unacceptable. By achieving an output of 1100 lumens in a 95 CRI light, SeniorLED has been able to bring to consumers a performance quality that was previously confined to niche industrial applications. Compatibility with dimmers means that the bulb can be set to the perfect light level in just about any environment.
Furthermore, filters prevent the bulb from experiencing the spike in blue light output that other LEDs on the market fall prey to. Small levels of blue light are healthy, but concentrated exposure of the kind found in modern LEDs can have profound negative consequences. Blue light is able to penetrate deep into the eye, causing eye strain in the short-term and age-related macular degeneration and cataracts in the long-term. It is a sad reality that many manufacturers are happy to take advantage of limited public awareness by not installing filters into their products. SeniorLED goes further, not just filtering out blue light but also using a patented bulb design to reduce glare as the light bounces off surfaces. Driver flicker is another concern, as cheap, low quality drivers in LED products will cause headaches and eye-strain by flashing on and off at high speed. Sometimes this speed is perceptible only to the subconscious mind, making it a hidden danger.
Eye health and lighting products
When designing lighting products for children, it is useful to consider the environment that they will be working in. Too many parents leave their children to do homework without a desk lamp, unaware that ambient lighting in a room is not sufficient for a child to work. This is important not just for a child’s eye health, but also because use of task lighting has been found to improve a child’s study performance by up to 16%. This is not, of course, a reason to leave a child in a darkened room with a desk lamp. A high contrast between light and dark will cause one’s eyes to become tired quickly, thus some background lighting, also known as bias lighting, is needed.
When children spend so much of their lives under artificial lighting, the need to provide them with natural, daylight-equivalent light is paramount. One component of this is offering the maximum possible CRI, but another is the colour temperature. Colour temperature is the term used to describe the perceived ‘warmth’ and ‘coolness’ of a light source on a scale from 1,000K-10,000K, with standard orange street-lamps operating at around 2,700K and daylight ranging from around 4,500K-6,500K. Numerous sources indicate that children perform better academically in environments with cooler lighting, with improvements in mood, energy, alertness, and even reduced incidence of depression and myopia all found to be linked to better lighting.
Specifically, 4,000K has been found to be best for reading, 6,500K for intense academic activity, and 3,500K best for relaxing and playing. Considering the above, it is clear that the best lighting mix to maximise the health, productivity, and overall well-being of children is a 4,000K-5,500K high CRI desk light combined with ambient lighting at around 3,500K. This will also improve posture, as children will no longer want to crouch in to see their work better, and allows for light temperature to be varied to fit work or play.
For precisely this reason, SeniorLED’s reading bulb has been configured to 4,000K, allowing it to complement overhead lighting and provide a comfortable environment for children to study at their desk.
The problem with LED industry
The explosion in popularity of LEDs in the past few years has been fantastic for consumers, but teething problems remain across the industry. Clients order based on a spec sheet, pushing producers to maximize lumen/watt and lumen/unit cost, and giving the appearance of cost efficiency even as the longevity suffers. LEDs are incredible chips able to function for literally decades, but irresponsible manufacturing means many are only rated to last 20,000-30,000 hours. The causes are simple: Small LED chips fail more quickly, so larger ones are needed to increase lifespan.
Larger chips concentrate heat into the frame of the device meaning that the cheap plastic bodies used by many manufacturers soon break. Fearing damage to their product margins, many producers stop there. SeniorLED solders all of its chips onto an aluminium frame, a process requiring use of ultrasound technology, in order to achieve a product that is able to last for 80,000 hours of operation. Firms also tend to cut corners by sourcing low-quality drivers that flicker or fail quickly, something that is easy to hide from a spec sheet. SeniorLED avoids this with drivers that are designed and manufactured entirely in-house.
Reduced lifespan is not the only downside to shoddy manufacturing. In the absence of commitment to after-sale service, colour maintenance will suffer and the highly prized CRI and colour temperature of LEDs will change within only a few months of purchase. The change is gradual and may not be noticeable to the casual observer, but will still affect eye health and quality of life. This product deficiency is so widespread that a recent test of LED lamps from a variety of suppliers found each and every one of them to be affected. More shocking, not only did every single product tested begin to deteriorate immediately, but they all deteriorated in the same way and at the same speed. This makes the Reading Bulb, which is highly stable and comes with a 5 year guarantee to that effect, a genuine exception in this regard.
Reading bulb – A new dawn
With a CRI of 95, 1100 lumens of brightness, a high quality driver that prevents flicker, blue light filtering, a 5,000K colour temperature, and a patented glare reduction technology, SeniorLED’s new product, the Reading Bulb, is uniquely designed to be soft on the eyes of its users. To further provide these features in a bulb with guaranteed colour maintenance and an 80,000 hour lifespan is unparalleled, and evidence of SeniorLED’s firm commitment to high standards.
A premium product, this new bulb offers the perfect combination of lighting technologies to protect the eyesight of children, something that no competitor is able to match. Your child’s eyesight and health has never been the focus on LED product manufacturing but with SeniorLED, it is.