Fluorescent lights eyestrain: How acceptable is a fluorescent light?
As a light it is prefectly acceptable, especially considering the economy in the context of the world-wide energy crisis. It also lends itself well to architectural design.
A tube-light because of its alternating rapid cycle, tends to cause a flicker if a knife is used in a kitchen or a pot is stirred rapidly. The wide light also cuts down on contrast values which are the basis for clear vision and discrimination of fine details in sewing and reading.
The problem is also one of maintaining a flicker-free light of a constant value. As a tube-light tend to ale (sometimes even new units are not blameless) the flicker increases. A diffuser certainly helps but also robs one of a lot of light energy. A diffuser, unless made of glass also ages and yellows with time, thus progessively and inexorably decreasing light further.
If care is taken, tubes may be used, but to be on the safe side use a tube for general illumination. Use a bulb for specific jobs and reading.
In offices where tube-lights are very prevalent, the addition of a small table lamp serves the function adequately. The table lamp with a bulb gives the flicker-free steady light of adequate intensity while the tube-lights give the general illumination so needed to prevent fluorescent lights eyestrain.
A logical alternative, as is practised in many large office complexes in America, is a spotlight fixed in a recessed alcove in the ceiling which directs a circle of light on the working area of the desk—basically identical to a table lamp, albeit more sophisticated.