Purple lights around Wichita may linger a while

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Three months ago, some street lights in Wichita began turning purple. Since then, Evergy said they have been working on addressing the issue.

“Right now, there are about 1,500 lights in the Wichita area that need to be replaced,” said Andrew Baker, an Evergy spokesperson.

That initial 1,500 may just be scratching the surface.

“As the lights age, additional failures are anticipated,” Baker said.

A component within the light fixture is prematurely failing and only time will tell how many lights are truly impacted. 

“Replacements will begin in the Wichita area starting about late June,” added Baker.

The good news is the manufacturer is responsible for the cost.

“This is not something that’s going to be on the customer,” Baker said. 

The bad news, according to neuro-ophthalmologist Michele Riggins, is that the lights can affect those with eye sensitivities. 

“If you’ve had a very long day and you’re driving home and you notice those lights, you might be more susceptible to having discomfort compared to someone who might be more well rested,” said Riggins. 

Riggins said studies show that ‘cooler’ colors, like purple, are more likely to cause discomfort to the eyes.

“It all depends on if a person has a history of headaches or migraines and or if they’re near or far sighted because each light has a different wavelength and how it gets bent into the eye,” Riggins said. 

Baker said the purple lights are not isolated to just Sedgwick County. Topeka is also dealing with the purple light issue.

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