Derived from either a direct light source or a reflection, glare is the ‘loss of visual performance or discomfort produced by an intensity of light in the visual field, greater than the eyes are adapted to’.1 At best, glare is distracting. At worst, it’s downright dangerous, and over time can cause eye strain and impairment.
So, while we could pop on polarized sunnies, it’s more common to manage excessive indoor glare by reducing, altering or filtering the light source.
That might be as simple as closing the curtains on a sunny day or for more permanent sources, exploring the growing popularity of low glare luminaries.
How is glare measured?
Glare is rated by a UGR – the acronym for Unified Glare Rating.
Measured on an intensity scale of 10 to 30, with 10 being extremely low and 30 being blinding, UGR considers several aspects.
- The brightness of the space,
- The luminance of the light source
- The angle of the viewer’s line of sight
- Their position in relation to the light.
How do you manage downlight glare in your home?
Recessed light design
Despite the implication of their name, ‘diffused’ downlights are more likely to distribute light in every direction, with little or no control over where it falls. Lower in cost, these luminaries usually have the lens mounted flush with the ceiling.
On the other hand, downlights with the lens recessed back into the body of the fixture are much better at controlling the spread of light, as it doesn’t come into your line of sight until you’re directly underneath. These fixtures will help achieve a much lower UGR level in your home.
As obvious as it might seem, location affects everything. With LED downlights often luminating large open spaces, installation can be dictated by uniformity over practicality. Positioning low-cost, diffused downlights in all white kitchens can cause the light to refract off the cabinets and benchtops resulting in glare issues.
Low glare lighting
Products like the Atom Maximus are produced specifically for glare reduction. Featuring both tri-colour temperature settings and stylish, recessed lamps these fixtures are worth the extra dollars to manage glare in the home.