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Fluorescent lighting, headaches and eyestrain.
Wilkins, A.J., Nimmo-Smith, I., Slater, A.I. & Bedocs, L.
Lighting Research and Technology, 21, 11-18. (Revised version of 2279)
Year of publication:
The weekly incidence of headaches among office workers was compared when the offices were lit by fluorescent lighting where the fluorescent tubes were operated by (a) a conventional switch-start circuit with choke ballast providing illumination that pulsated with a modulation depth of 43-49% and a principal frequency component at 100 Hz; (b) an electronic start circuit with choke ballast giving illumination with similar characteristics; (c) an electronic ballast driving the lamps at about 32 kHz and reducing the 100 Hz modulation to less than 7%. In a double-blind cross-over design, the average incidence of headaches and eyestrain was more than halved under high-frequency lighting. The incidence was unaffected by the speed with which the tubes ignited. Headaches tended to decrease with the height of the office above the ground and thus with increasing natural light. Office occupants chose to switch on the high-frequency lighting for 30% longer on average.