Medical Light

Medical Light

Polar Ray Admin

The use of lighting in the medical field is certainly a primary tool necessary to carry out procedures. From the lighting arrays used in operating rooms to lights used in diagnostic devices to therapy related applications, the use of artificial lighting in the medical field is more important and prevalent than most might realize.  Beginning with the successful commercialization of LEDs in 2006, surgical lighting in the form of LED powered light arrays have become the choice for overhead lighting in hospital operating rooms. When compared to traditional surgical lighting systems, such as halogen or gas-discharge bulbs, LED lighting is superior in every way. The longer life, equating to fewer maintenance costs, lower energy costs, and superior lighting ability of LEDs makes them the undisputable leader in medical field lighting.

The high intensity white light produced by the surgical lights is of a high temperature color (5000K and above) to provide the optimum in illumination and thus visibility. The lights can also be engineered to allow color control technology which permits adjustments to the color of the light while still allowing for high color rendering. These innovative color adjustment systems can provide excellent contrast and allow for highly improved tissue distinction. The lighting systems used in the medical fields generally are populated with high powered LEDs arranged in arrays within thin, lightweight modular housings. Designed in such a way that allows for multiple mounting applications in booms, and arms which extend from walls and ceilings, and in numerous mobile stand apparatus. The modular housings are designed in such a way that they can be arranged in differing sizes and configurations so as to accommodate the particular need for the specific area illumination and total light output. One such particular brand of light consists of five panels which use a total of 184 white and color producing LEDs and has a light output of 160,000 lux (That’s a whole bunch! Average outdoor sunlight ranges from 32,000 to 100,000 lux.). Each LED in the arrangement has a convergent lens, creating an overlapping matrix of light beams which create a uniform and focused light area which exhibits little to no shadows.  

The fact that the LED surgical lighting does not radiate heat into the surgical area as conventional lighting does is also a key feature in the use of LED lighting. With the use of LED lighting and the certain reduction of heat, the surgical staff realizes an additional measure of comfort. In addition, the reduction of operating room cooling and, in turn, the energy savings in that arena are further benefits of the use of LEDs. The fact that there is a lack of infrared (IR) as well as ultraviolet (UV) emissions also plays a big part in medical lighting, as some chemical compounds, diagnostic sensors and specialized treatments are negatively affected by IR and UV light.  

In addition to the surgical area lighting arrays, if a surgeon requires a more localized light source, there are LED surgical headlights. Typically utilizing a single high-output LED with a high color temperature, these lights can be mounted on a pair of glasses or a head mounted apparatus. The light can be adjusted in regard to position and thus directed to a specific area in need of greater illumination and definition while eliminating shadows and greatly improving the overall visibility. Models with custom features are available and allow for the adjustment of the beam diameter for better spot focusing and, as with the area arrays, there is the ability to adjust the intensity and the color of the light without disturbing the high color rendering aspects. If a surgical loupe is used in an operation, the light can be adjusted to focus on the immediate magnified area. Cree supplies a single high-output LED for lights of this sort, and that single LED provides an intense beam of light that duplicates sunlight. These LED surgical headlights are quite efficient and consume very little power. That, and the initial fact that they are LED powered, means that they can be powered by small batteries. Also, since LEDs are devices which require DC power (direct current – as in batteries), they do not need transformers/converters/drivers and heat sinks as is necessary with LEDs powered by AC (alternating current – as in power company supplied electricity). The light weight and portability of these lights makes for much greater unrestricted and natural feeling movement in the OR when compared to older technology which required tethered systems to provide the power necessary for the light needed.

This blog will be continued, as the use of artificial lighting in the medical field is quite extensive. In the meantime, if you need help with your LED lighting projects, please feel free to call Polar Ray at 303-494-5773 to speak with a lighting consultant. Thank you for perusing the Polar Ray website.