When we think of surgery lighting, we tend to picture an unconscious patient lying on a table under bright lights. But some surgery is done with patients awake. In those cases, lighting needs to be about more than just making sure the surgeon can see. Surgery lighting should be designed to keep patients stress-free and relaxed. This is particularly true of lighting for oral surgery. Patients tend to be more stressed about dental procedures than any other form of minor surgery. Octo Lights has some suggestions for ceiling lighting in dental surgery rooms. These lessons could also be applied to a general physician’s surgery room, and even to hospitals.
Dental Surgery Lighting
Hospitals have a long history of using fluorescent tube lighting. Like many institutions, hospitals made the switch to cheap, efficient fluorescent light nearly a century ago. So it’s not surprising that fluorescent lighting systems are also being used in doctors’ and dentists’ offices. As a result, all sorts of outpatient surgeries, both medical and dental, are performed under standard fluorescent lights.
An alternative method of lighting is the light emitting diode or LED. LEDs were once well known for lighting the displays of calculators, digital watches, and other electronics. More recently, LEDs have become standard in car headlamps and flat-screen TVs. In the last few years, plunging prices have made LED a good option for general lighting. They are quickly replacing older light sources in the home, and are slowly taking over even in offices, hospitals, and other large institutions.
However, neither light source is without its problems. The bright, highly-directed light that LED offers is offset by built-in diffuser panels, but they only go so far. The garish light emitted by individual fluorescent tubes is not suitable in an unmodified form for general space lighting let alone dental surgery lighting. Again, most offices use transparent or translucent diffusers of some sort, but they are not a complete solution.
We Can’t Eliminate Stress, But We Can Reduce It
Sitting in a dentist’s waiting room is stressful enough. The added stress of extra bright lights as soon as you enter the actual surgery can be overwhelming. And the stress builds. There is more stress once the dentist begins probing around with a sharp needle. And unless a patient is a masochist, they will automatically cringe once that high-pitched drill starts up. However, stress is like a snowball—the more you have at the top of the hill, the bigger it will be at the bottom.
Dental patients need to be relaxed when they start, and a dentist’s choice of dental surgery lighting can help them. The more comfortable the patients are, the less they will be likely to flinch and move about. Relaxed patients are just easier to work on. Some dental surgeons use music that they select according to the age of the patient. Others decorate their operating rooms in an appealing way. But how many have thought of the possible benefits of the right lighting?
Sky-and-Cloud Panels and Other Surgery Lighting Options
Like most medical offices, an oral surgeon’s room will likely have fluorescent or LED lighting. The bright, direct light is diffused through frosted panels of glass or plastic. Sky-and-cloud panels convert that plain diffuser into a beautiful, slightly cloudy blue sky. The resulting light is more evenly balanced and less harsh.
To create the effect of a real skylight, sky-and-cloud panels are printed with original photographs of sky scenes. The scenes are printed onto a thin film that lies over the existing diffuser. There is no need for tools or special attachments. With our variety of images and the option to upload your own, there are almost limitless options for the types of clouds you can use.
If you prefer, you can have a night scene—the moon, stars, even distant galaxies—featuring beautiful genuine photographs. Some of these images were taken with special cameras attached to powerful telescopes, including NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. These images display the details of individual constellations, cloud-like nebulae, and even black holes. Patients will be so engrossed in what they are seeing that they might not even notice the start of surgery.
Sky-and-cloud panels can be used to make any form of surgery room lighting more interesting. They work in a physician’s surgery room, as dental surgery lighting, or even in a hospital ward or recovery room. Decorative LED or fluorescent lighting panels help to calm patients, so they are better prepared for the treatment to come.