January 1, 2006 A new type of light bulb improves illumination conditions for reading. A chrome cap at its top directs light downwards, casting 40 percent more light on a printed page. The bulb is more expensive but also more durable than ordinary bulbs.
PHILADELPHIA--There are many things that go along with aging; poor eyesight is one of them. If you squint and strain your eyes to see small print, a new bulb may help you see things in a better light.
Doris Steinberg is thankful she doesn't need to read music to play it. She is 88 years old and her eyes aren't what they used to be. "You have to begin to expect things to change when you get older," Doris says.
Aging eyes are to blame for many vision problems, but now, engineers are shining a light on poor eyesight with a new, one-of-a-kind light bulb, called EyeSaver. Barton Pasternak, Executive Vice President of Westinghouse Lighting Corporation in Philadelphia, says: "The real difference between EyeSaver and other light bulbs is that the light is not lost. The light is all used exactly where your eyes require it."
The new bulb, created with a team of NASA engineers, has a unique chrome cap that doesn't allow light to escape up, which means more light is directed down to the surface -- providing 40-percent more illumination.
Barton says, "The difference is so noticeable that the average user thinks that their glasses are cleaner or their eyes are suddenly shaper. It's simply because their eyes are absorbing so much more light."
The new bulb also reduces glare, lasts twice as long as a standard bulb, and is lighting up Doris's life. "The better the lighting the better the reading," she says. The bulbs are available through select distributors and retail outlets and cost between $8 and $10. The bulbs cost more than a standard bulb, but the new bulb lasts twice as long.
BACKGROUND: The Eye Saver Easy Reading Light Bulb is a new product for eye correction that focuses specifically on the needs of people in working environments. It is especially useful for older people who may suffer from macular degeneration, an age-related common disease that causes loss of visual sharpness and that is the top cause of vision loss and legal blindness in American adults over 60.
BENEFITS: The Eye Saver provides 40% more surface illumination on work and reading surfaces than standard incandescent light bulbs do It also has a frosty finish that reduces eye strain by lowering glare. And it lasts twice as long as a standard bulb with an average lifetime of 2000 hours.
WHERE TO FIND IT: The Eye Saver can be purchased through eye care professionals and retailers around the country. See a list online at eyesaverbulb.com.
HOW WE SEE: Scientists refer to light as electromagnetic radiation, because light waves are the product of electric and magnetic fields traveling together through space. We are able to see the world around us because light reflects off objects and radiates outward in all directions. Our eyes detect this light, which the brain then forms into recognizable images. The human eye works in much the same way as a camera captures images on film; its "film" is the retina, a thin layer of neural tissue lining the back of the eye, made of photoreceptor cells that receive light, and other cells that interpret this information and send the signal to the brain via the optic nerve. The retina contains two kinds of photoreceptor cells: cone cells and rod cells. Cone cells are sensitive to bright light and can perceive colors. Rod cells work best in low light and can perceive black-and-white images.
VISION AND AGE: Susceptibility to vision problems increases with age. Someone who is 60 only gets about 30 percent of the amount of light they would have received in their eye when they were 20. Normal aging of the eye will lead to a decrease in sharpness of vision and focusing power as the eye's lens becomes less flexible. There may also be a decrease in one's ability to distinguish between colors, and to accurately judge distances, as well as an increased sensitivity to glare.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.