The Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) has released a second edition of its reference publication titled Lighting and the Visual Environment for Seniors and the Low Vision Population (RP-28-16). The new 118-page booklet is geared toward designers to help improve their understanding of how design-related decision making impacts populations who are experiencing age-related vision loss.

The first edition, issued in 2007, focused primarily on housing and senior care facilities. The 2016 edition has been expanded to include a wide array of project types including offices, hospitality, healthcare, commercial, and places of assembly. RP-28-16 has also been updated to speak to a large group of users including individuals, design professionals, owners/managers of commercial buildings, code and regulatory agencies, and legislative bodies.

It is well understood that healthcare costs will increase in the United States as its elderly population ages. As the country braces for this huge economic impact, appropriate lighting and a supportive visual environment should be considered as a preventive measure to reduce the risk of falls, sleep disorders and long-term care, and therefore given a top priority by all code officials, governmental agencies and the tax-paying public.

According to the IES press release, “Seniors represent the fastest growing segment of the population with over 40 million Americans over 65 (U.S. Census Bureau, The Older Population 2010 Census Brief). The over 40 population represents approximately 89 million people and of those 63 percent have vision problems (National Eye Institute, Low Vision 2010).” Therefore, greater attention is needed in addressing lighting issues specific to the needs of this population and the spaces in which they occupy.

"Loss of independence is one of the greatest fears of aging and seniors are looking for ways to maximize their vision as they age,” said Robert Dupuy, Chair of the IES Lighting for the Elderly and Partially Sighted Committee. “Current research and design practice have been incorporated into the new RP-28-16 to allow seniors to maintain their quality of life as they age. The Committee has worked diligently to make RP-28-16 inclusive of seniors and also the low vision population to help them maintain a quality of life into their third age."

Lighting and the Visual Environment for Seniors and the Low Vision Population (RP-28-16) is available in print or as a PDF download for purchase via the online IES store.