table lamp


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using a table lamp effectively can save your eyes from a range of eye issues. the computer vision syndrome (CSV) arises from the prolonged use of digital screens.

Most people have heard the warning that dim light can harm our eyes and that we should turn on an overhead light when reading.

However, a study published in the British Medical Journal in 2007 debunked this myth by stating that reading in low light does not damage eyes, although it may cause some eye strain.

Many people use a table lamp to read or for extra light while working on the computer.  A more direct light seems a much better option for reading.

However, while the table lamp itself is not harmful to the eyes, there are ways to use table lamps effectively to cut down on stressed eyes.

So while dim lighting does not cause bad eyesight, it can make eyes tired which makes reading difficult, particularly as we age.

table lamp

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A table lamp is best utilized when it has an opaque shade and the light is pointed directly at the material being read.  If it is placed over the shoulder, the light can create a glare on the material and cause eyestrain.


Computer vision syndrome also referred to as digital eye strain, describes a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader, and cell phone use. Many individuals experience eye discomfort and vision problems when viewing digital screens for extended periods.

These days, most work is done on computers.  Staring at a monitor all day can make eyes red and fatigued.

In fact, there is an actual name for eye problems caused by computers: computer vision syndrome. These types of eye problems are very common as computer use becomes more prevalent.  Staring at a computer screen causes the eyes to continually focus and move back and forth.  As images on the screen move, the eyes must adjust.

Eye problems caused by computer use fall under the heading computer vision syndrome (CVS). It isn’t one specific problem. Instead, it includes a whole range of eye strain and discomfort. Research shows that between 50% and 90% of people who work at a computer screen have at least some symptoms.

Kids Too

Working adults aren’t the only ones affected. Kids who stare at tablets or use computers during the day at school can have issues too, especially if the lighting and their posture are less than ideal.

Similarly, overhead lighting can create a glare, especially when looking at a computer.  This in turn can cause eyes to become tired. A more direct lighting source, such as a desk lamp, can help cut down on glare.  It is important that the light be placed properly so that it doesn’t shine directly into the eyes.

After staring at a computer all day, many people go home and turn on the television or watch movies on their laptops.  When looking at a television or computer in a darkened room, our eyes dilate and let in more light. This can cause discomfort.

How Is It Treated?

A few simple changes to your workspace can improve your symptoms and prevent new problems:

Rearrange your desk.

The best position for your monitor is slightly below eye level, about 20 to 28 inches away from your face. You shouldn’t have to stretch your neck or strain your eyes to see what’s on the screen. Put a stand next to your monitor and place any printed materials you’re working from on it. That way, you won’t have to look up at the screen and back down at the desk while you type. You can as well get a laptop stand for easy adjustment.

Give your eyes a break.

Follow the 20-20-20 rule. Look away from the screen every 20 minutes or so and look at something around 20 feet away for about 20 seconds. Blink often to keep your eyes moist. If they feel dry, try some eye drops.

Tweak your settings.

You don’t have to live with the factory-installed presets if you’re uncomfortable. Adjust the brightness, contrast, and font size until you find what’s best for you.

Cut the glare.

Change the lighting around you to reduce the effect on your computer screen. If light from a nearby window casts a glare, move your monitor and close the shades. Ask your employer to install a dimmer switch for the overhead fixtures if they’re too bright, or buy a table lamp with a moveable shade that casts light evenly over your desk. You can also add a glare filter to your monitor.

FORITO Anti-Glare, Anti-Scratch Laptop Screen Protector, 2 Pack

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The addition of a desk lamp will cut down on the eye strain caused when the pupils are dilated for too long. The lamp should be placed behind the laptop to cut down glare and create a diffusion of light and, keep the light from going directly into the reader’s eyes and causing strain.

The type of light we’re exposed to is also a factor in the health of our eyes. Studies have shown that if we are exposed to overhead fluorescent lighting for too long, it can actually damage our eyes by increasing the risk of cataracts and other eye diseases.

“Cool” fluorescent lights emit UV light that is as strong, or sometimes stronger, than sunlight.  This kind of glare can cause irreparable damage to the eyes.


It seems then, that the argument for softer, more diffused light is a strong one.

Also, a smaller lamp, such as a table lamp cuts down on glare which is one of the main factors causing tired eyes.

It also adds light to a too dark room, giving tired eye muscles a break from having to work too hard.

How to place a table lamp

  1. For reading, place lamp alongside your shoulder, with the bottom of the lamp shade even with your head. Extra tall lamps should be moved back two feet if possible.
  2. Use several lamps in a living room to avoid shadows and dark areas. (One standard lamp will illuminate 40-50 square feet.)
  3. Desk lamps should focus light on the work surface and be adjustable. The light should be about 15 inches from your desktop.
  4. the lamp should be positioned 36 inches or less from the item to be lit
  5. Be sure your lamp is proportional to your room and furniture. (E.g. A small end table should only hold a small lamp.)
  6. Chandeliers should hang approximately 30 inches above your tabletop and be 6 inches narrower than your table on each side.

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