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IES Publishes Standard on Lighting for Seniors and Low Vision Population

In the 2016 edition, coverage has been expanded to new areas of interest including offices, hospitality, healthcare, commercial and places of assembly.

The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) announces the publication of Lighting and the Visual Environment for Seniors and the Low Vision Population (RP-28-16).

RP-28-16 is intended to increase the designers’ understanding of age-related vision loss and the importance of their design decisions that could impact the safety and independence of this growing sector of the population. In the 2007 edition, applications were primarily directed at housing and senior care facilities but in the 2016 edition, coverage has been expanded to new areas of interest including offices, hospitality, healthcare, commercial and places of assembly. RP-28-16 has also been revised to serve a wider range 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.

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% have vision problems (National Eye Institute, Low Vision 2010).

"Loss of independence is one of the greatest fears of aging and seniors are looking for ways to maximize their vision as they age. 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," said Robert Dupuy, Chair of the IES Lighting for the Elderly and Partially Sighted Committee.

"RP-28-16 is an especially important standard in the library of IES lighting standards because it affects a large and growing segment of the U.S. population. We are fortunate to have on the authoring committee such a dedicated group of advocates with a deep understanding and awareness of the issues facing seniors and low vision populations," said Tim Licitra, IES Executive Vice President.

Lighting and the Visual Environment for Seniors and the Low Vision Population (RP-28-16) is a publication in the IES Recommended Practice series that provides in-depth treatment about specific lighting applications. RP-28-16 is available in print or as a PDF download from the IES at www.ies.org/store.

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