Lighting the homes of people who are visually impaired
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An extended research project, funded by the Thomas Pocklington Trust, and carried out by the Research Group for Inclusive Environments (RGIE) at The University of Reading, has examined the lighting found in the homes of people who are visually impaired (VIP). This paper will summarise the results of this substantive study. All the surveyed homes have been occupied by people with sight loss, some of the dwellings were shared with sighted partners. There are several safety issues concerning domestic lighting where inadequate provision may contribute to the incidence of personal injuries occurring in the home. Qualitative and quantitative data from questionnaires, photometric surveys and faceto- face interviews have been obtained from 57 homes. The nature and extent of the visual impairment of each study participant has been identified. This paper will identify important findings from the study, including: a range of areas and tasks within the home that visually impaired people find inadequately lit; the variability of illuminance provided for task lighting and general lighting; and how effective visually impaired people find a selection different lighting systems to those that they commonly use. The research team are able to offer preliminary design guidance for lighting the homes of people who are visually impaired. These will be summarised in the paper.