Technical Explanation: The CRI is a unit that measures the ability of a light source to reproduce the colors of objects faithfully in comparison with an ideal source of light, or natural sources such as sunlight. The CRI is a determined value from 0 to 100, with 100 being the value “perfect” or daylight.
Real World Explanation: The CRI determines how you and your surroundings appear to you and the other people in your environment.
How old are you? How long are you going to live in your home? These are two of the most important questions that should influence your lighting decisions. If you are 25 years old and are going to be moving up to a new house in 5-10 years lighting is not as crucial as if you are 55 and plan to live in your house for 20-25 years.
As you age less and less light reaches your retina. When you are 60 only 1/3 as much light reaches your retina as when you were 20! That taken together with the facts that 50% of the 65-75 year old population have cataracts (70% of over 75 year olds), 25% have macular degeneration, and 3% have glaucoma makes lighting a very important consideration. Take control of your lighting design. Chances are your contractor and electrician are a lot younger than you so they do not appreciate your vision. The same applies to your children. They can not appreciate what you see or do not see.
I am 66 and plan to live independently as long as possible. I know that my vision is not as good as it used to be. I am studying lighting as it pertains to older Americans. If you want some advice, call me. Please visit FoggLighting.com and email any questions or comments. The American Lighting Association is a great resource for information.