Here at Sparks Direct we like a great desk lamp: this range of fittings is essential, but that doesn't mean they have to be simply functional. We think they can also be beautiful, in their own way. Today we're looking at our five favourites from the store. Please note: some of these may no longer be available via Sparks; all our stylish table lamps can be found here.The Novel Maldon Desk Lamp Kicking off with the Maldon, we picked this one because - well, honestly, we just like the novel design of this light: a chrome semicircle with an adjustable lamp almost, but not quite, at its apex. The Flos Kelvin LED Light Antonio Citterio's Kelvin desk lamp, designed exclusively for Flos Lighting, is famous for its accurate colour rendition and simple controls: simply touch the back of the head and the LED lamp instantly comes on! The Small Wonder: The Artemide Tolomeo Mini A miniaturised version of the classic lamp, the Tolomeo Mini, the brainchild of Michele de Lucchi, might look familiar: Luxo, the mascot of the movie giant Pixar, was based on its bigger brother! The Unassuming but Eco-Friendly Mento The Mento is a simple but flexible LED lamp from Nordlux with a 3W LED lamp that is energy-saving but incredibly effective. The Tiny but Wonderful Micro Flexi Finally, the Micro Flexi in black or white is an oddball entry in our Top 5: it's not quite a table lamp, as such, but it clips onto the edge of the desk in an unobstrusive way that provides task lighting. Clip it onto the desk and forget about it: that's the mark of a great desk lamp.
Asthenopia, known colloquially as "eye strain," is a major problem for the modern workforce that routinely spends up to 8 hours a day in front of a computer screen. It's so bad, in fact, that it's known as part of something called "Computer Vision Syndrome." It's terrible, but thankfully there are ways to combat this or at least alleviate some of the more unpleasant effects. What is Eye Strain? When you concentrate on a visually intense task, such as continuously focusing on a computer monitor, the ciliary muscle - a ring of muscle inside the eye - tightens, becoming irritated and uncomfortable. Over time, serious eye strain can cause further problems from headaches to longer-term conditions such as myopia - shortsightedness. The colour temperature of a computer monitor is known to cause eye strain to some degree, and software is available to help reduce its effect. But the fact is, backlit monitors aren't helping. So in an office environment (even if you're one of the lucky ones working from home), what is there to be done? Reducing Eye Strain in the Office We've covered some general office lighting tips in our home office post, and most of them apply here, too. The first and most important thing to do is reduce the amount of glare reaching your eyes. Glare being caused by looking directly at a light source, there's not much to be done about the computer, but diffused or shielded light will direct it away from your eyes. Alternately, mount the light so it's a little bit above eye level. If you have the option, use a desk lamps to provide directed high-quality task lighting to complement the general overhead light. And if all else fails, or you don't have room for a desk lamp, follow the "20-20-20" rule: every 20 minutes, focus on something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Or close your eyes, which has a similar effect. Just try not to let your boss see you in case they think you've fallen asleep. Image by Cali2Okie (Creative Commons)