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The human eye has a strong connection to light as the eye needs light in order to see. The following three tips are provided to help you manage the light in your life in order to reduce your risk of a fall.

  • Get more light

We humans cannot see as well in the dark. When we cannot see very well, our risk of a fall increases. For example, if we are walking around in the dark, we might not see the box that we left on the floor and trip over it, resulting in a fall. One of the best ways to avoid a fall in the first place would be to increase the light you already have or get more lights. There are several ways to do this: turn on the lights that you do have, get brighter light bulbs, add more lamps, install more light fixtures, and get nightlights. Not only does the human eye see better with light, but an older eye needs more light than a younger eye does. If you have older eyes, you need more light.

  • Use sunglasses and visors

There are times when more light or very bright light is actually uncomfortable for humans. The easiest way to control bright light is the use of sunglasses and caps with a visor or brim. Sunglasses come in many colors, shapes, and shades so make sure to try several different pairs of sunglasses to find two or three that will work for you. A bright, sunshiny day may call for dark gray sunglasses, whereas an overcast day may call for amber or brownish-orange colored sunglasses. Perhaps you prefer dark or medium gray sunglasses instead. Sunglasses that can fit over your prescription glasses can be found in many stores and at your eye doctor’s office. A visor or hat with a brim stops the sun or bright overhead lighting from shining directly into your eyes; this will help you see better and feel more comfortable too. Sunglasses and hats also protect your eyes (and skin) from sun damage. Secret tip: yellow sunglasses may help you in dim lighting as yellow sunglasses brighten things up

  • Stop and wait for your eyes to adjust

All eyes take time to adjust to changes in light. Older eyes will take up to three times longer to adjust to light changes. For instance, walking from the bright sunny daylight into a dark restaurant, it may take your eyes five seconds or longer to adjust. The best solution is to stop and wait. Stop walking and wait for your eyes to adjust before you move on. In addition, you can also use sunglasses and a cap with a brim to help your eyes adjust to light changes. Do not forget to take off your sunglasses after stepping into that dark restaurant.

Jean Kenevan works for the Department of Health Services, Office for the Blind and Visually Impaired, as a rehabilitation specialist. Jean is also a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist and the vision expert for the Stepping On falls prevention workshops in her territory. Her office is located in Appleton, Wisconsin. Contact her with any questions: 920-831-2090, jeannine.kenevan@wisconsin.gov.