Guide To Lighting For The Visually Impaired | Vital Tech


Last modified: 26th October 2020

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Good lighting is essential for partially sighted people and in this section we discuss some of the lighting trends.  There is also information here on how to use technology to detect if a light is on.


Mainstream products

Movable lights and lamps can be placed wherever better lighting is required. Touch lamps are generally easy to use and can be found in most lighting shops.


Specialist products

The RNIB Online Shop is also a great place to find lighting equipment. They sell a range of floor and desk lamps, as well as gadgets such as clip-on book lights and keyring torches. Their portable LED lamps offer blind and partially sighted people lighting that is highly mobile and slickly designed.


Using your smartphone

Smart systems mean that you can control your lighting using your mobile phone or even your voice.  You will need an app downloaded on your mobile phone or a smart speaker.

Many of these systems make enhanced levels of control easier, for example allowing the brightness to be varied, hue and tint of the lighting as appropriate. Enhanced controls such as motion sensors and tactile portable switches can also be added and functions customised through mobile apps that suit your preferences. Some smart systems enable you to set different types of light for different times of day. For example gentle light in the morning, becoming brighter as the day progresses. Examples of smart lighting systems include:

Or check out the TRÅDFRI range of smart lighting available from IKEA.

As an alternative to smart bulbs, floor & desk lamps can also be connected to smart plugs and controlled similarly to smart bulbs described above. Blinds and curtains can also be operated remotely through smart systems. For example, Windows Shadings blinds integrate with the Amazon Alexa digital assistant.

Modern smartphones all come with a torch application as standard. It can be found in the control centre of the phone’s settings, or search for a torch app in the App or Play store.

For blind or severely sight impaired people, light detector apps can be useful for checking whether a recent visitor left your room lights switched on. If the phone camera and the light detecting app finds a light source it plays a higher pitch sound and no light source is a low pitched sound.

Light detection apps can be found in your App or Play store by searching on the words “light meter” or “light detector”.  Multi-functional vision apps such as Microsoft Seeing AI can also help with light detection.


Useful links

Lighting is comprehensively covered in a guide published by Thomas Pocklington Trust. Refer to “Lighting in and around the home: A guide to better lighting for people with visual impairment” for more information.