LED Lighting in Healthcare

LED Lighting in Healthcare

13 February 2023

Healthcare areas such as doctors’ surgeries and hospital wards need to provide an effective environment to support their patients' needs while they recover. Lighting can play a crucial role in this.

Supporting health and well-being with effective lighting benefits the patient and improves the staff's ability to provide adequate care.

Elements of Dynamic Lighting

Dynamic lighting that aims to mimic daylight conditions with changes to light intensity and colour temperature can help the people inside maintain their mental and physical well-being whilst in the building.

Setting early to midday light levels at a high intensity provides bright light to improve alertness. Dynamic lighting should be used to alter the intensity, colour temperature and distribution from midday. This supports the body's circadian rhythm and melatonin production which in turn support patients' ability to sleep and recover.

LEDs in hospital

What Is Circadian Rhythm?

Circadian rhythm is a 24-hour internal process that regulates the physical and mental functions of all living organisms, including humans. It is a natural and internal process that operates in sync with the day-night cycle and plays a crucial role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle, hormone production, metabolism, and other bodily functions.

Light plays a significant role in regulating circadian rhythm. The right lighting conditions can support the natural sleep-wake cycle and promote physical and mental well-being, while the wrong lighting conditions can disrupt it. Circadian lighting aims to align indoor lighting conditions with the natural day-night cycle, providing the right lighting signals to our brains to regulate our internal processes accordingly.

circadian rhythm

Human Centric Lighting Systems

Human Centric lighting systems have been developed to support people’s circadian rhythms and ensure an indoor environment that is not detrimental to their long-term mental and physical health.

Melanopsin is a photopigment found in specialised cells in the retina called intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs). These cells are sensitive to blue light and can send signals to the brain to regulate circadian rhythm, sleep-wake cycles, and other physiological processes. By using LEDs with a specific spectral composition, specifically in the blue light range, the melanopsin response can be triggered and affect the circadian rhythm. In addition, there are LEDs specifically designed to meet the needs of the circadian lighting, such as LUXEON SkyBlue LEDs from Lumileds.

In addition to dynamic control, effective human centric lighting systems must use LEDs with a sufficient amount of blue light to positively impact circadian rhythm and also have a balanced proportion of red, green, and blue light. Colour rendering must also be considered. Inadequate colour rendering can cause visual discomfort, eye strain, and decreased visual performance, which can negatively impact the overall well-being of patients and staff.

Through the use of custom LED solutions, these systems can be designed to support the circadian rhythm by delivering the right intensity, colour temperature and distribution of light throughout the day and night. This can be done through the correct LED choice and the use of tunable white LEDs.

LED in hospital at night

Tunable White LED Lighting

The colour temperature of tunable LED lighting solutions can be adjusted between two options to suit your individual needs. Healthcare environments and other workplaces can benefit greatly from these adaptive systems. In addition to providing good control, they are also cost-effective.

We have successfully implemented tunable white LEDs within many different healthcare environments to improve the health of patients and staff.

LED Medical Applications

Beyond providing general lighting for healthcare environments, LEDs can be used for diagnostics by emitting specific wavelengths of light that are absorbed or scattered by biological tissues in unique ways. By measuring these interactions, specific medical conditions can be diagnosed.

For example, in photodiagnosis, specific wavelengths of light are used to detect and diagnose skin conditions like acne, pigmented lesions, and precancerous growths.

LEDs emitting in the ultraviolet (UV) range are used in phototherapy, where they are used to treat various skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema by emitting specific UV wavelengths. Additionally, LEDs emitting in the near-infrared (NIR) range are used in NIR spectroscopy, where they are used to monitor blood glucose levels and other metabolic processes.

The use of LEDs in medical applications is diverse and can be based on the wavelength of light they emit, which can be customized to the needs of the medical application.

LED Lighting to Combat Dementia

LED lighting has also been shown to be beneficial for patients with dementia. For example, in a medical study* in America, five people were tested with a new therapy called bright light therapy which delivered positive results. The patients were found to be less restless and no longer had broken sleep. The experiment helped manipulate their circadian rhythms more aggressively to fix their sleep disturbances.

Why Choose LEDs?

LEDs are a more energy-efficient and reliable option than traditional lighting sources, and they require less maintenance. As a result, they are ideal for 24/7 healthcare facilities, providing a supportive environment for patients and staff while consuming less energy and requiring less maintenance.

LED in medical surgery

Dynamic LED Manufacturer

LEDs have a subtle but vital role within our healthcare system. The right system will ensure that no task is ever lacking the appropriate illumination whilst also providing a supportive environment for the hard-working staff and recovering patients.

Forge is one of the UK’s leading LED light manufacturers, providing the highest quality LED solutions for various industries internationally. Our experts bring world-class LED design and manufacturing to provide the perfect lighting system you need. Contact us today to discuss your next project.

External Sources:

* Light therapy and dementia – UK Alzheimer’s Society

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