Will Bright Full Spectrum Lighting Cause My Bird to Go Blind?

Will Bright Full Spectrum Lighting Cause My Bird to Go Blind?

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Rob K. has a “Light question”

Mitch, I have read much and understood all of your points about lighting.

My bird is a Congo African Grey.

My concern is that I have also read articles about the danger of eye damage such as cataracts from such closeness and intensity of the light. At the equator, high noon footcandles range from 9-10,000 and cycle up and down moonlight to moonlight (.01 FC @ full moon) and between dawn & dusk (10 FC).

I have a full spectrum bulb in my ceiling 5′ above his cage.

He spends more time on top, or on the tree next to it, or elsewhere in the house except at night and when we are out.


dual full spectrum lighting over cockatiel cage















Windy City Parrot Cockatiel Playtop Cage Lighting

I would be very reluctant to shine high lumens of full-spectrum including UV at close range practically directly in his eyes 12 hours a day.


Can Lighting Benefit My Blue Crown Conure With Cataracts?


Can you help me reconcile these competing concerns?


Thank you, and I love your weekly reads!




Dear Rob

The sun is the brightest thing there is and the inhabitants of the planet do not go blind under it as we/they do not stare upwards at it for extended periods of time.


Cage lights are suspended above the birds if hung properly.


The birds don’t sit and look up directly into the light for extended periods unless they are sick or mentally damaged in some way. 


Yes, some bulbs can be so bright that they can be intrusive and uncomfortable.

3 clamp on light over budgie aviary

Windy City Parrot Budgie Cage Lighting

Studies have been made in which the researchers increased the lumens, UV’s more and more and this resulted in blindness in the birds.


These studies were done to see if increasing the lighting would result in more or better Vitamin D3 production which has been disproven.


The lights instead help with hormonal behavior and the brightest light out there is not necessary.

In conjunction with what Catherine said, you are doing anything but “shine high lumens of full-spectrum including UV at close range practically directly in his eyes 12 hours a day”


There are no studies of “blindness in the birds.” Parrots have lived in the equatorial regions of earth for 10 of millions of years where the sun  is the brightest. Birds cherish their sight too much to let it die off due to evolution as opposed to the golden mole who can’t attract a mate with its shiny coat: it lives underground and is completely blind..


We are in contact with the veterinary college of Guelph and HARI – nothing on the radar about bird lighting and bird blindness.


Some localized unexplained events show up but parrots have been indigenous to equatorial parts of the earth for 100  million years and can all see just fine.


Windy City Parrot Double Cage Permamanet Lighting project ~ Video

Due to a law of physics called the “Inverse Square Law of Light (sound, energy, etc) at 5 feet away the light your bird is receiving has no value.


Why Do Pet Bird Keepers Get The Lighting Thing Wrong?


Look at the label (below) from ZooMed and you will see at a 5-foot height, the light your bird is receiving is close to darkness

zoomed bulb box illustration of the inverse square law of light










Leave a Reply

Close Menu