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Light Pollution: Glare

Perhaps the most obscure form of light pollution is Glare.

When thinking of glare the most common image that comes to mind is the annoying patch of light that appears on a TV or computer screen. Technically, thats a form of glare, but not a form of light pollution. Glare is simply an increase in contrast in a given field of view. This is where most people get lost. After all, how can contrast be a form of light pollution? Well, its seems like a stretch but an increase in contrast can actually be a serious problem. Contrast is the difference between bright and dark in a person's field of view or in a photograph. Most people are familiar with contrast from developing photographs or using digital imaging software. Taking digital imaging software for example; if contrast is moved too far in either direction the image will become a uniform blur. This essentially is the problem of glare in real life. Lighting schemes which create a high contrast between light and dark turn out to be rather dangerous. Generally speaking, there three types of glare; blinding glare, disability glare, and discomfort glare. The first two of these are prone to causing automobile accidents and disorienting animals crossing roadways. Blinding glare is somewhat self explanatory. It amounts to the blinding effect of a bright light. Blinding glare is caused when someone stares or is exposed to a bright light for too long, resulting in temporary blindness. Depending on an individual's ability to adjust to differences in light, such as walking into the dark at night, or driving past someone with their brights on, blinding light differs from one individual to another. Flood lights and airport lights are common causes of blinding glare. However, the blinding effect of flood lights is useful as a home security measure. Slightly similar to blinding glare is disability glare. This is basically the effect of blinding glare applied to a situation. Taking the example of driving past another car with its brights turned on, the short period it takes for the eyes to readjust the road ahead leaves a period of vulnerability or disability. Disability is common in many situations, and among the leading causes of driving accidents at night. When it comes to homes, the most common type of glare is discomfort glare. This type of glare doesn't result in temporary blindness but instead creates a sense of discomfort for an onlooker. In neighborhoods where houses are placed close together, some neighbors may not have the common sense to take advantage of low level lighting schemes at night. Many people have experienced or heard horror stories of a neighbor keenly intent on using a constant flood light on inconvenient area of the home. Although flood lights are recommended by law enforcement as a home security measure, they should not be left on continuously. Nor should the light be angled so that is spills into neighboring yards, let alone into the windows of the house next door. Homeowners should take time to consider light fixtures which provide adequate light, while not annoying their neighbors. A simple way to accomplish this is choosing well made and intricate light fixtures instead of mass produced ones. This is because massed produced fixtures are mostly substance over style, often to the point of overkill. Outdoor products from Troy Lighting, Hubbardton Forge, and Hinkley, won't overdue the lighting scheme and will serve the dual purpose of adding aesthetic and cash value to the home.