Ambient lighting in soft-copy reading rooms are currently kept at low values to preserve contrast rendition in the dark regions of a medical image. Low illuminance levels, however, create inadequate viewing conditions and may also cause eye-strain. This eye-strain may be attributed to notable variations in luminance adaptation state of
the reader's eyes when moving the gaze intermittently between the brighter display and darker surrounding surfaces. This paper presents a methodology to optimize the lighting conditions of reading rooms to reduce visual fatigue by minimizing this variation by exploiting the properties of LCDs with low diffuse reflection coefficients and high
luminance ratio. First, a computational model was developed to determine a global luminance adaptation value, Ladp, when viewing a medical image on display. The model is based on the diameter of the pupil size which depends on the luminance of the observed object. Second, this value was compared with the luminance reflected off surrounding surfaces, Ls, under various conditions of room illuminance, E , different values of diffuse reflection
coefficients of surrounding surfaces, Rs, and calibration settings of a typical LCD. The results suggest that for
typical luminance settings of current LCDs, it is possible to raise ambient illumination to minimize differences in eye adaptation, potentially reducing visual fatigue while also complying with the TG18 specifications for controlled contrast rendition. Specifically, room illumination in the 75-150 lux range and surface diffuse reflection coefficients in the practical range of 0.13-0.22 sr-1 provide an ideal setup for typical LCDs. Furthermore, displays with lower
diffuse reflectivity and with higher inherent luminance ratio than currently possible in most LCDs can potentially
help further decrease eye fatigue, providing an improved ergonomic viewing conditions in reading rooms.