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 By Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO, Editor January 23, 2013 - Tip #567 
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LED Lamps Give a New Look

  Sponsor: OPTI-FREE® PureMoist® MPDS

We are doing some remodeling in our practice and I thought I would share one small aspect that might be of help to you. We have replaced many light bulbs in our optical dispensary with new LED lamps and I love the new look it gives!

As you may know, LED stands for light emitting diode and this new technology is being used in many applications. LED lights have many advantages over incandescent or fluorescent lighting, but there are a few pitfalls you should know before replacing your existing bulbs.

  • Bulb life. A typical lifespan for standard light bulbs (incandescent) is about 2,000 hours; fluorescent bulbs average about 8,000 hours and LEDs last about 25,000 hours. Not having burned out bulbs and not having to replace bulbs very often is a big advantage for an optometric practice.
  • Cost. LED lamps are quite a bit more expensive, but prices are coming down. Of course, one must factor in the average life of the bulb if costs are compared.
  • LED lamps do not get hot. When we had halogen bulbs in our optical displays, we had to run our air conditioning even on fairly cool days. Halogen and even incandescent lights produce a lot of heat. I love that LED lamps are fairly cool to operate.
  • Color. I like the dazzling white light that LEDs produce in our optical displays, but the color can vary widely and can appear to be bluer in some cases, which is not desirable. Halogen and incandescent lights are generally more yellow or gold color. This can look good on skin tones for looking at oneself in a mirror, but displays and track lights can look yellowish. I think the bright, white LED lamps make our optical look impressive, like a jewelry store! You can compare the color temperature specifications between bulbs, but the best way is to buy just a few LED bulbs and try them in your fixtures. It may be best to have a combination of daylight, incandescent, fluorescent and LED lighting.
  • Type of base. Manufacturers are making LED lights in various base sizes to fit into most any type of fixture.  You can get small and standard screw type bulbs and bulbs with various pin-type bases, such as G10, but they seem to be best in track light and spot light applications to me. 
  • Brightness. This varies widely with LED lamps. They can be quite bright but compare the lumens of various bulb types to get an idea. It is best to buy a small test quantity of LED lamps and place them in your fixtures.
  • Durability. Not a big factor, but LED lights are quite durable and resist breakage.

Changing your light bulbs can give your office a new look!

Best wishes for continued success,

Read Past Tips Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Editor, Optometric Management Tip of the Week

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Send questions and comments to neil@gailmard.com.

Dr. Gailmard offers consulting services to eye care professionals through Prima Eye Group; information is available at www.primaeyegroup.com.

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