Are Desk Lamps Good or Bad for your Eyes?

Are desk lamps good or bad for your eyes? If you’re worried your eyes will get damaged, tired or strained from using a standard desk lamp at home, read on for our guidance. 

I talk about the value of good lighting in our homes a lot, mostly from an aesthetic point of view, but today’s post shares some insight into the the debate over protecting our eyes.

Are Desk Lamps Good or Bad for your Eyes?

Most people have heard the warning that dim light can harm our eyes and that we should turn on an overhead light when reading.

However, a study published in the British Medical Journal in 2007 debunked this myth by stating that reading in low light does not damage eyes, although it may cause some eye strain.

If you regularly read with low light, you need not worry about damaging your eyes based on this research. You may find that your eyes get more tired, and more quickly, but you won’t do any permanent damage. 

What about the light from a desk lamp? Is this the best light for studying?

In a world where more and more people are working from home, considering what kind of light to use on your desk is a big consideration.

Read More: 10 Desk Lights to Easy Eye Strain

Many people use desk lamps to read or to give them extra light when they are working at the computer, particularly if they work in the evenings when light is fading. 

In fact, the weather can play a big part too, on levels of natural light in your home, so it’s likely you’ll need a desk light on at different times of the day. 

A more direct light seems a much better option for reading.

However, while the desk lamp itself is not harmful to the eyes, there are ways to use desk lamps effectively to cut down on stressed eyes.

So while dim lighting does not cause bad eyesight, it can make eyes tired which makes reading difficult, particularly as we age. 

What is the best kind of desk lamp to ease eye strain?

A desk lamp is good for your eyes when it has an opaque shade and the light is pointed directly at the material being read.

If it is placed over the shoulder, the light can create a glare on the material and cause eyestrain.

What is Computer Vision Syndrome?

These days, most work is done on computers.  Staring at a monitor all day can make eyes red and fatigued. Have you ever noticed how tired your eyes can feel at the end of a long day starting at a computer screen or laptop?

In fact, there is an actual name for eye problems caused by computers: computer vision syndrome.

These types of eye problems are very common as computer use becomes more prevalent.  Staring at a computer screen causes the eyes to continually focus and move back and forth.  As images on the screen move, the eyes must adjust.

It’s really important that you have the right kind of desk and seating too if your work long hours from home. A standing desk is a good investment not just for your physical health, but your mental health too. 

Similarly, overhead lighting can create a glare, especially when looking at a computer.  This in turn can cause eyes to become tired.

A more direct lighting source, such as a desk lamp, can help cut down on glare.  It is important that the light be placed properly so that it is not shining directly into the eyes.

Position your desk lamp at the back of your desk pointing downwards so you don’t get glare in your eyes, and your desk area and computer keyboard are well lit. 

After staring at a computer all day, many people go home and turn on the television or watch movies on their laptop. 

When looking at a television or computer in a darkened room, our eyes dilate and let in more light.

This can cause discomfort.

The addition of a desk lamp will cut down on the eye strain caused when the pupils are dilated for too long. 

<< Further Reading: 10 Best Desk Lamps to Ease Eye Strain >>

The lamp should be placed behind the laptop to cut down on glare and create a diffusion of light and keep the light from going directly into the reader’s eyes and causing strain.

If you’re using a normal table lamp for your desk and working environment, do consider diffusing the light from the top of the shade with a sheer cloth to avoid direct glare to your eyes.

The type of light we’re exposed to is also a factor in the health of our eyes. 

Studies have shown that if we are exposed to overhead fluorescent lighting for too long, it can actually damage our eyes by increasing the risk of cataracts and other eye diseases.

“Cool” fluorescent lights emit UV light that is as strong, or sometimes stronger, than sunlight. 

This kind of glare can cause irreparable damage to the eyes.

What Type Of Light Should You Choose?

It seems then, that the argument for softer, more diffused light is a strong one.

A smaller lamp, such as a desk lamp cuts down on glare which is one of the main factors causing tired eyes.

It also adds light to a too dark room, giving tired eye muscles a break from having to work too hard.

I hope this gives you a better understanding of whether desk lamps are good or bad for your eyes.


Let’s summarise the key points and answer some commonly asked questions:-

Are desk lights safe for eyes?

Desk lights, when used correctly, are safe for the eyes. They reduce eye strain by providing adequate lighting, preventing the fatigue that comes from poor lighting conditions. It’s important to choose a desk light with adjustable brightness and ensure it’s positioned to avoid glare on screens or reflective surfaces for optimal eye comfort.

Are study lamps good or bad for you?

Study lamps are beneficial as they can enhance focus and reduce eye strain. The key is to use them appropriately — a study lamp should illuminate your workspace evenly without creating glare and should be bright enough to prevent squinting.

Which light is good for eyes while studying?

The best light for studying is one that mimics natural daylight, which is soothing for the eyes and improves concentration. LED lights with adjustable color temperature settings can offer a bright, blue-white light that’s ideal for reading and studying, as well as warmer tones for relaxing afterwards.

Now if you love this post, save this image to your Pinterest board so you can find it again later.



Jen Stanbrook
Jen Stanbrook

Jen is an award winning digital publisher and has been creating interiors and home decor content for over 10 years.
She has an insatiable love of home interiors, has worked with hundreds of brands, and currently supports many bloggers within the creative industries to share their expertise through writing.
She spends most of her time in her little garden office pod, has 2 daughters and 2 (fighting) cats.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram


  1. Win Ent
    April 2, 2015 / 7:09 pm

    I enjoy your blog.i really impress with your blog.Well really thanks for sharing this I’m glad to be here.excellent points.Thanks for sharing this interesting post

  2. Lawrence
    April 12, 2015 / 10:38 am

    Great post.! I think, I understood benefits of desk lamps. Thanks for sharing. Keep up good work.

  3. Shivakumar
    June 16, 2016 / 9:00 am

    I really enjoyed your article reading, awesome blog! Thank you for sharing on eye caring. Keep updating.

  4. Franklin
    April 3, 2024 / 11:30 am

    Your article serves as a valuable reminder of the significance of proper lighting in promoting eye health and overall well-being. I’ll be more mindful of my desk lamp choices and lighting setup moving forward.

    If you wanna buy desk lamps, you can click

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