Easy on the Eyes--Tips to Improve Your Work Area

Easy on the Eyes--Tips to Improve Your Work Area

by Roberta Grace, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

Whether you bead at the kitchen table or have a totally decked-out jewelry design studio, one of the most important factors affecting the results of your jewelry-making sessions is your ability to comfortably see the design you're working on.

Face it, we are creatures of habit. Often times we continue using the same workplace set-up we've always had based on our set routines without pausing to realize that it could be much better. When was the last time you reviewed your visual comfort level? It could be time to make adjustments to lighting and to consider magnifying tools designed to enhance visual acuity and alleviate eyestrain.

The study of ergonomics (human-factors engineering) reports that for up-close work, the strongest lighting should be right on the spot where you are actually touching and looking closely at your object--this light level should be 10 times brighter than the light in the background of the room. To avoid eye fatigue, it helps if the strong lighting on the working area is diffused, such as from a daylight spectrum fluorescent lamp.

Naturalight™ Lamp with Magnifying Lens Naturalight™ magnifying lamps are designed to produce a full spectrum of natural light. They can also save you money as the bulbs last 10 times longer than ordinary bulbs and they also use about 80% less power than regular lamps.

The Daylight™ table top with magnifier lamp has long flexible arms for both the bulb and the magnifier, so you can position them to the perfect comfort level. It too uses less power than regular lamps. Daylight™ Lamp with Magnifying Lens

Third Hand (Helping Hand) Magnifier We've all had moments of wishing we had a third hand. Certain assembly and soldering tasks are safer and easier to do with a tool that can hold and magnify your work-in-progress. A "third hand/helping hand" tool is surprisingly inexpensive. Once you have one, you'll likely wonder why you didn't obtain one sooner!

Do you ever find yourself squinting when performing close-up work? Squinting narrows your field of vision by reducing the area you're looking at, allowing your eyes to focus more clearly on what is still in your vision. But it can also cause headaches and promotes wrinkles in the delicate skin around the eye. There is no need to squint! Fire Mountain Gems' jewelry-making expert Tim Cronkhite's favorite vision tool is the magnifying headband. As Tim put it, "They make working with sizes 11 to 15 seed beads or 1.5mm chatons or flatbacks a breeze." An abundance of easy-to-use magnifying devices are readily available. MagniClips® clip-on style lenses can be positioned on eyeglasses or sunglasses. Lightweight magnifier headbands with VELCRO® adjustable straps offer variable focal ranges so you can see without squinting.
MagniClips® Clip-On Style Lenses Magnifering Headbands

So take a step back and look at your work area with the discerning eye of an ergonomics engineer. Are there any tweaks you can make to improve the lighting? Is it time for you to investigate the various magnifying tools on the market?

Please drop us a line and share with us what your favorite vision tool is and why you like it. Is there an item in your work area that you're especially happy with and can't imagine getting anything done without it? Let us know!

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Customer Comments

We would like to share some of the customer comments we received in response to the article "Make Your Own Beads and Components," as featured in an email newsletter. Please keep in mind that the comments expressed below are those of our customers and do not reflect the views of Fire Mountain Gems and Beads.

"Thank you for the article about lighting. I have been considering buying a magnifying/natural lamp for some time, so this information will help me move forward."
- Mary A.

"Your vision tips will NOT work for people who develop problems with glare. Glare is usually caused by cataracts, but can be caused by retinal disease, or by invasive surgery for glaucoma, or a few other things. With glare problems it is best to use magnification but NOT to brightly light the area if reflective components are being used. Changing design goals to keep reflective beads and findings to a minimum helps. Using antiqued beads and finding helps. For finishing a necklace people with glare problems will find bead caps incredibly difficult to use. Try instead using large hole beads to cover the crimps. That trick also works with reduced visual acuity. With glare expect any projects to take longer and to need eye breaks. Some people might be helped by polarized inside lenses, but I am not."
- Sukie

"Loved the "Need 3 hands" article. I ordered it! Thanks!"
- Pat B.


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