Choosing the best exam lighting
Brightness is key in medical applications
Poor or lower lighting levels can lead to increased errors, eye fatigue, reduced productivity, and poor morale.
Understanding lighting terminology
Lux vs. Watts Lux is a measure of the brightness of a light source. The higher the lux, the brighter the light. We have been conditioned to buy lighting based on wattages needed for our homes, but this is not the best way to compare light intensity. Watts measure the amount of energy consumed and do not correlate to brightness.
Lux One lux is equal to one lumen per square meter. If you are used to measuring in footcandles, one footcandle is equal to one lumen per square foot.
Kelvin (K) refers to color temperature of the light. This is important not only to recognize blemishes on the skin, but also to identify the color of the vessels, which darken according to the depth of the incision. Bluish-white shades fall on the scale toward 5,000 K, while reddish shades fall on the lower end toward 2,700K. The white of natural sunlight is 6,500K. As eyes fatigue, we are more likely to pick up on blue hues.
Types of bulbs:
LED bulbs are more energy-efficient, can last up to 20 times longer than halogen, are cooler-running, and contain no toxic chemicals. Although LED light fixtures typically cost more initially, the total ownership cost is dramatically reduced due to lower maintenance and replacement bulb costs.
Halogen bulbs offer a brighter, more intense light than incandescent and are often used for task, exam, and surgical applications. They have been the standard for years, although LED is quickly becoming the go-to lighting source for medical applications.
Incandescent bulbs offer warmer light, but they have a short life cycle and require frequent replacement. Incandescents use more energy than other types of bulbs and can be warm to the touch.