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Ophthalmology & Optometry/Colour temperature of light bulbs



My optician has recommended one colour of light to help with my eyestrain and an electrician has recommended another, so I wanted to ask for a 3rd opinion. Would warm white, cool white or daylight bulbs be best for helping the eyes relax when working and helping with eye strain?

Also, the electrician recommended a category 2 louvre with a high frequency ballast fitting and flourescent tubes. Would you think this is a good option for eyestrain if I use the right colour temperature flourescent tubes?

Everything else in my office is set as good as it can be regarding elimating glare on the computer screen and I take regular breaks.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,

ANSWER: Becca,

Thanks for the question.  There's actually a bit of some research going in to this right now.  Not just for optics and comfort, but also looking into the progression of eye problems, like myopia.  Generally, full-spectrum (daylight) are better for the eye, as they mimic the outdoor environment - it is thought that this will lessen the likelihood of progression of things like myopia.  In general, we tend to recommend staying away from the 'blues' or cool lights for eyestrain.  Blue light is the shortest wavelength and carries the most energy, so the feeling is that a more warm light will be better for the eye.  Another option is to block the blue lights with a yellow or amber filter, like Gunnars glasses do.

I wish there was more concrete science, but they're working on it!

Good Luck!


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi there,

Thank you very much for that. Can I just double-check a couple of things: I thought that daylight was a cool/blue type of light, am I wrong about that? Also, are you saying that even with eyestrain it would be good to still opt for the daylight bulbs or should I stick to the warm white?

Finally, I know that warm white is approx 2700-3000 K, what is the colour temperature of daylight bulbs?

Many thanks

I apologize for not answering that more clearly.  I had started my response at one point and had to put it down (because of my kids) and picked it up again later.

Warmer colors, including the "blue-blocking" yellow filters, tend to be better for many people for visual comfort.

The full-spectrum (mimic outdoors, "daylight") bulbs are being investigated because there seems to be evidence that in the long-term, the more exposure to full-spectrum 'natural' lighting, the better the eye develops--may be important in slowing down myopia/etc in children.

Good Luck!

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John M. Dovie, OD, FAAO


As a residency-trained Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry I am able to answer most questions regarding eye and vision health. Anything is welcome, ranging from dry or allergy eyes, bifocal contact lenses, or thoughts on LASIK surgery. As I am not a surgeon, detail-oriented surgical-related questions may be better answered by an ophthalmologist.


Selected to participate in the PCO residency program in Philadelphia at The Eye Institute, where I worked OD and MD specialists gaining invaluable experience in various clinics including glaucoma, cornea and cataract, oculo-plastics, retinal disease, neuro-ophthalmic disease, primary care, emergency medicine, and special populations. Have practiced and trained in numerous settings including hospital, academic, retail and private practice. I earned my Fellowship in the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO). There are currently only about 3000 active fellows worldwide, and there are only about 70 Fellows in the state of Virginia. I currently own and operate my own optometric practice/clinic.

American Academy of Optometry, American Optometric Association (Contact Lens/Cornea Section member since 2001), Southwest Virginia Optometric Association, Virginia Tech Alumni Association

“Nyctalopia as the Presenting Sign of Vitamin A Deficiency: A Late Complication of Gastric Bypass Surgery.” Clinical Case Study Poster presented at The American Academy of Optometry Denver, Colorado, December 2006, co-authored with Bradley Lane, OD.
“The Importance of Considering Paranasal Sinus Mucocele as a Differential Diagnosis in Diplopia.” Clinical Case Study Poster presented at The American Academy of Optometry San Diego, California, December 2005, co-authored with Kelly Malloy, OD, FAAO and Cherie Farkash, OD.
“Acute Onset of Halos and Glare: Bilateral Keratitis—An Atypical Presentation of Amiodarone Keratopathy.” Clinical Case Study Poster presented at The American Academy of Optometry Tampa, Florida December 2004. Also Presented to New Jersey Academy of Optometry, Neptune, New Jersey March 2005.
“The Opportunity for an Optometrist to Save a Life.” Clinical Case Study and Grand Rounds Presentation presented at The Pennsylvania College of Optometry, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 2004.
“Corneal whorls cause wonder.” Clinical Challenges Quiz, co-authored with Andrew Gurwood, OD, FAAO, Review of Optometry. Published 10/15/2006.
“Acute onset of halos and glare: bilateral corneal epithelial edema with cystic eruptions--atypical presentation of amiodarone keratopathy.” Co-authored with Andrew Gurwood, OD, FAAO. Published February, 2006, Optometry.
“Pondering the posterior polka-dots.” Clinical Challenges Quiz, co-authored with Andrew Gurwood, OD, FAAO, Review of Optometry. Published 5/15/2005.
Professional Involvement:
“AION: Amiodarone-Induced or Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy?” Participated as a peer-review referee for Expert Review of Ophthalmology (London, UK); refereed 10/2006.

Bachelor of Science, Cum Laude, Virginia Tech. Bachelor of Science, Pennsylvania College of Optometry. Doctorate (OD), Pennsylvania College of Optometry Residency, Pennsylvania College of Optometry Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry

Awards and Honors
Winner, First Place, "Best Beside Manner" by Our Health Magazine: 2012, 2013, 2014 Winner, First Place, "Best Eye Doctor" by The Roanoke Times: 2013, 2014 Recognized as a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, December, 2006 Recipient of the Onofrey G. Rybachok Memorial Scholarship, 2000-2001 Member: The Golden Key International Honor Society Member: The National Biological Honor Society Member: The National Honor Society Eagle Scout awarded 1994

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