Design Experts Link Hospital Lighting to Patient Wellness

human eye

Have you ever had the misfortune of staying in a hospital for an extended time? The nights are the worst part, aren’t they? It seems like only in hospitals can nights last for SO LONG. If prolonged inactivity and medication weren’t enough to make sleeping difficult, all through the night well-intentioned and hardworking nurses have to come in and flick on the fluorescent lights, which, in older hospitals, flicker to life feebly and cast a greenish light. Wouldn’t it be great if hospitals were a little more optimized for healthy sleep patterns? Lighting, it turns out, may be the key to this kind of improvement.

About a month ago, Visa Lighting posted a video in which Kathleen Packard, their Healthcare Market Development Manager, discusses how some innovations in lighting can positively affect the healing process (and save energy and money). Packard describes hospitals as being historically “institutional and very uncomfortable,” and her mission is to educate the public on the “importance of design” to patient health.

Hospital Hallway

To this end, she educates us on the fairly recent discovery of “another cell in our eye that isn’t for vision.” Intrigued? Packard is talking about the intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cell in the human eye, which senses light and regulates the body’s systems, including melatonin levels, which are directly related to sleep. Visa’s Amber Night Light, she says, creates ambient light that won’t disturb the intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cell. This allows nurses to check on patients without disturbing their sleep.

Of course, all this valuable information leads us to the problems solved by Visa Lighting’s healthcare light fixtures. Packard calls special attention to the benefits of using LED fixtures. She reminds us that LEDs are indeed a great option for hospitals because they are energy efficient and therefore save money, reducing the cost of healthcare; they render color well, which is necessary, so that doctors and nurses can accurately assess skin pallor; and, unlike fluorescent lamps, LEDs contain no mercury.

via Visa Lighting

This video has genuine value even for people not making decisions about hospital lighting design. It represents the kind of educative spirit we aspire to embody here at Pegasus Lighting, as well.

Tom Sowders

After majoring in creative writing at NC State, I worked in the home remodeling industry. Then, I attended graduate school for a really long time and gained experience as a writer and writing instructor. I live in the Raleigh-Durham area with my wife and baby boy, and you can find me around the Triangle anywhere there's good music and/or NC-style BBQ.