In many cases, nature has managed things rather well to allow the creatures on this planet to cope more or less. Bats for example have a clever echolocation system, which guides them across distances of up to 300 metres ahead. Moles live underground, are blind and deaf. But they have two nostrils for smelling in stereo, and so they sniff out both food and danger. The most important sensory organ in humans is the eyes, with around 80% of sensory impressions being perceived visually.
Particularly when working at a desk, the eyes are seriously challenged. In Germany, millions of people work in an office. It is of huge importance that they are provided with adequate desk lighting, not just to sustain the visual performance but also to prevent them from assuming a cramped position. While the lighting does not have a direct impact on the musculoskeletal system, it does have an influence consisting of so-called asthenopic effects (asthenopia = eye strain). Ideal lighting conditions therefore play a major role in ensuring that we assume a posture that puts no strain on the body with a positive effect on our well-being and work performance.
Our eyes need adequate brightness in order to see well. Incoming light rays pass through the cornea, pupil and vitreous body until they meet the retina. The retina contains 120 million light-sensitive rods and seven million colour-sensitive cones. These photoreceptors help to create an image standing on its head which then goes through neuron processing to obtain a realistic impression. In other words, the brain puts the image back from its head onto its feet.
But what happens when the desk lamp fails to comply with the requirements for modern office workplaces? It may be too bright or too dark, it may generate shadows or reflections. As a result, we tend to screw our eyes up, push pieces of paper back and forth to find some position in which we can more-or-less read them, start adjusting the computer screen or – even worse – twist our necks and end up sitting in an awkward position.
To avoid constrained posture and make desk work as pleasant as possible for the eyes, the back, the spinal column and the neck, some smart people have been giving lots of thought to the whole problem and developed a clever desk lighting system. It generates a homogeneous, extensive working light with an illuminance that can be adapted to the specific task in hand. Special reflectors permit glare-free working. The lamps provide a good contrast between the computer screen and the surroundings, resulting in fatigue-free, back-friendly working.
The desk lamps have a user-friendly, easily adjusted articulated design that is simple to clean and adapts perfectly to the working environment in an office and at VDU workplaces. They are naturally flickerfree with fully variable dimming. Specially adapted colour temperatures also permit the best possible contrast sensitivity. All these advantages help to prevent a cramped position which would be harmful to the back. This reduces the work pressure, the eyes don't tire so quickly with far less frequent muscular tension. The illuminance at VDU workplaces should normally be around 500 lux.
As a basic rule, a well-designed workplace needs more than just good lighting. A workplace always comprises several components, such as lighting, chair and desk or work bench. Each component individually has to fulfil all ergonomic requirements. This is the only way to develop the ideal VDU workplace concept. In the end, it takes a complete concept to benefit the worker's health, reduce sick leave levels, boost productivity and cut costs at the same time.