how to choose reading light

How to Select Perfect Reading Lights – Buyer’s Guide



Recently, I saw an interesting answer on Quora. The question is this: Which light is needed for studying?

One of the answers is: Seriously… for studying… I saw some studying under Street lights.. If you really wanna study then concentrate on the subject.,not the light. Why do you worry about the next things that are not so important…

Actually, I don’t think so. Before we talk about this topic, let’s figure out how our eyes work.

How Does Your Eye Work?


It’s all about light. Light reflects off an object, and if that object is in your field of vision, it enters the eye.

The first thing it touches is a thin veil of tears in the front. Behind this is your eye’s front window, the cornea. This clear layer helps focus the light.

On the other side is liquid called the aqueous humor. It circulates throughout the front part of your eye and keeps the pressure inside constant

After the aqueous humor, light passes through the pupil. This is the central round opening in your iris, the colored part of your eye. It changes the size to control how much light gets in farther back. human eye Next up is the lens. That works just like a camera to focus light, adjust shape depending on whether the light reflects off something near to you or far away.

This light now pierces the center of the eye. It’s bathed in moisture from a clear jelly known as the vitreous.

Its final destination is the retina, which lines the back of your eye. It’s like the screen in a movie theater or the film in a camera. The focused light hits cells called photoreceptors.


Reading in dim light won’t have any long-term effects on your vision, but it will place an uncomfortable strain on your eye muscles.

The best type of light for reading promotes:

  • mood boosting
  • stress and depression fighting
  • bones strengthening
  • eyesight improvement

Your visual muscles need to be able to relax to collect the most light, whilst also contracting in order to keep the words on the page focused on the retina. To reduce this conflict in your eye muscles when carrying out tasks that require high-concentration such as reading, it’s important to focus bright, high quality light where needed.

Therefore, we need to focus on 3 points:

  1. What’s the best color temperature for reading?
  2. What’s the best brightness for reading?
  3. What is the best light distribution for reading?


What’s the best color temperature for reading?

What is Kelvin?

The Kelvin definition is “the SI base unit of thermodynamic temperature, equal in magnitude to the degree Celsius.” Scientific jargon aside, Kelvin is used in lighting to measure the color temperature of a particular light bulb. And in short, the higher the Kelvin rating (expressed in K), the whiter the light will be.

Color Temperature Chart


The right color temperature begins with the bulb. Use the Kelvin temperature color scale below to help identify the approximate hue certain bulbs will provide.

Whether you need an ambient source of light or one for highly-focused task lighting, keep in mind the following Kelvin ranges:

  • Less than 2000K: gives off a dim glow of light, similar to what you might find from candlelight; best for low-light areas where ambient illumination is welcomed
  • 2000K-3000K: gives off a soft white glow, often yellow in appearance; best for living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms and outdoor spaces
  • 3100K-4500K: gives off a bright amount of white light; best for kitchens, offices, workspaces and vanities where task lighting is needed
  • 4600K-6500K: gives off a bright amount of blue-white light, similar to that of daylight; best for display areas and work environments where very bright illumination is needed
  • 6500K and up: gives off a bright bluish hue of light, often found in commercial locations; best for bright task lighting.


How do we choose?

reading light

when you use white light, due to a better color contrast your eyes easily differentiate one image to another (one similar word to another) which is not the case when you use deep yellow light.

Psychologically our mind relates colors to many things such as memories, objects of the same color even temperature. So when we use yellow light for studying, our mind thinks we are surrounded by heat ( by heat I mean a slightly higher temperature) which on a prolonged duration will generate fatigue & feeling of discomfort (psychologically).So you will be easily deprived concentration.

As for the desired Color for reading, the 4000–5000K neutral white is more appropriate. ( Glare, angle of rays, Lux levels etc have more deciding role for comfort of eyes, but here we are engaged about overall mood creation).

But the market is yet to warm up to this Neutral White Color -as evidenced by low demand from our lighting manufacturing customers. In contrast, Indoor lights demand, as experienced by us, is either in 6000K CCT mostly, or direct other extremes of 3000K CCT, with a bias towards 6000K (& even higher CCT! **).

So white light is more preferable than yellow light for studying purpose.

What’s the best brightness for reading?

reading at night

While reading in dim light will have no long-term effects on your vision, it does place an uncomfortable strain on your eye muscles. Your visual muscles will want to relax to collect the most light, but at the same time, they will try to contract to keep the words on the page focused on the retina.

Therefore, to reduce the conflict in your eye muscles when you’re completing a high-concentration task such as reading, it’s important to focus bright light directly where it is needed.

Since eyes vary with age, it makes sense that as your eyes get older, you will need more light to read by. Dr. Eleanor Faye, the ophthalmological director of the Lighthouse for the Blind Low Vision Service, says: ”The eye’s need for more light to read by increases 1 percent a year. When you’re 10, you can read by 40 watts or hardly any light.

By the time you’re 60, you need around 100 watts.” As brightness is measured in Lumens, the following will help you choose a bulb with the wattage (or equivalent wattage) that you need.

  • 40 Watts: Look for at least 450 Lumens
  • 60 Watts: Look for at least 800 Lumens
  • 75 Watts: Look for at least 1,100 Lumens
  • 100 Watts: Look for at least 1,600 Lumens

reading light

That being said, keep in mind that too much light or glare can be just as bad as too little light. Dr. Faye says, ”When light glares from highly reflective surfaces, it’s fatiguing and especially disturbing for older people with cataracts and retina problems.”

So if bright light gives you grief, use a shaded lamp rather than a desk lamp to cut glare and moderate light. Light in warmer color temperature will also be easier on your eyes than in cooler color temperature.

But all in all, when considering the right light for your eyes, remember: your eyes will tell you what they want. If the light isn’t comfortable, they will show signs of fatigue, like burning, redness, brow-ache, headache, or squinting.


What is the best light distribution for reading?


Just as it’s important to have a desk or table lamp concentrating light onto your book, it’s also important to couple this with comfortable, evenly distributed lighting throughout your room.

A common mistake people make when choosing light for reading is turning on a bright lamp in a dark room. Your pupils dilate from the dark when they wander off the page, which can make your eyes become easily fatigued – a reason many of us quickly become tired when reading in bed at night.

It’s also helpful to avoid reading by a light that reflects a lot of bright glare, such as from a computer screen. The constant shifting of pixels from reading off a computer or any screen with glare can put a lot of strain on your eyes. Doctors term this Computer Vision Syndrome.

Avoid reading from a computer whenever possible during your leisure time, or at least dim down your screen to lessen the glare. Reversing the color scheme, such as white text on a black background, also mitigates eye strain. (The Kindle app for computers and mobile devices does this really well.)


Lighting Tips

We conclude 4 points to help you choose the reading lights.

  1. The 4000–5000K neutral white is more appropriate
  2. Not too bright or too dim: your eyes will tell you what they want
  3. Evenly distributed lighting throughout your room
  4. Avoid reading by the light that reflects a lot of bright glare

Dimmable lighting fixtures are beneficial in the living rooms where the students read, sleep and give parties.

Floor lamp with adjustable reading light is preferable if you use it every day for different tasks solving and activities. It’s able to alter your mood and enhance the room’s décor. Small floor lamps for reading fit even the limited living spaces. They can be placed in any corner, being versatile, simple and useful.

A dimmable reading light is easy to install and move when it’s necessary. It’s a godsend for the students that live in dormitories or have to share the room with their friends.

Thus, even if you are still very young yet, take care of your health and vision in beforehand. Try to select the pleasant-color and not too intense light, to avoid stress and improve performance.





QUORA: Which light is needed for studying?

Vision Basics: How Does Your Eye Work?

QUORA: Which light bulbs are the best for studying, yellow or white?

Is White or Yellow Light Better for Studying?

The Best Light for Reading



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Derek McDoogle
2 years ago

I did not know that white light can help your eyes to better differentiate contrast colors. My friend is planning to open a clothing shop and he wants to make sure that the store is properly lighted. Thanks for sharing this article, I will definitely share this article with him so that he can see the benefits of choosing LED lights.

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