Nonvisual Lighting Effects and Their Impact on Health and Well-Being
Biological, nonvisual effects of lighting constitute a growing field within lighting research and education. In addition to visual effects, light is known to affect other biological rhythms, most notably the circadian system, which generates and regulates a number of rhythms that run with a period close to 24 h. Light/dark patterns incident on the retina are the major synchronizer of circadian rhythms to the 24-h solar day. Lighting characteristics (quantity, spectrum, timing, duration, and distribution) affecting the visual and circadian systems differ. Symptoms of circadian sleep disorders, such as seasonal affective disorder, jet lag, and delayed sleep phase disorder, can be mitigated by timed light exposure.
The neurophysiology and neuroanatomy of the human visual system are largely understood: vision is the result of complex interactions between light sources, objects and surfaces, the eye, and the brain....
The author would like to acknowledge the projects’ sponsors (National Institute on Aging, National Institute of Nursing Research, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Cancer Institute, and Office of Naval Research). Mark Rea, PhD, of the Lighting Research Center is acknowledged for his technical assistance, and David Pedler of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is acknowledged for his editorial assistance.
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