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Light Therapy and Eye Safety

Can Bright Light Therapy Damage the Eye?

Researchers have expressed concern regarding the use of bright light therapy because the visible blue light wavelengths emitted by bright light therapy lamps may cause retinal damage and could contribute to the development of age related blindness. Refs. For many years cautions have been expressed that users of bright light therapy lamps be screened by ophthalmologists, and those with pre-existing retinal conditions or other risk factors abstain from light therapy treatment or be closely monitored. Refs. The risk of retinal damage to those using blue light or " blue-enhanced" light therapy units is even greater.

Blue visible light with wavelengths shorter than 480 nm induce greater oxidative stress in the outer retina than other visible light wavelengths. Indigestible debris that increases the level of oxidative stress when it absorbs blue light accumulates in the retina over a lifetime and is related to the development of age-related blindness. By age 75, more than one in every three people has their vision affected by Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), and this increases to over one half of people by age 85.

Lo-LIGHT therapy lamps eliminate the risk of permanent retinal damage inherent in the use of bright light therapy lamps or blue light therapy lamps. The combination of low intensity as well as the elimination of the more hazardous light wavelengths found in the blue portion of the visible light spectrum make the Lo-LIGHT safer than the lighting found indoors because Lo-LIGHT therapy lamps operate at normal indoor light intensity and screen out the blue wavelengths of visible light that are most damaging to the retina.

It is worth considering what Herbert Kern, the first person to use bright light therapy and therefore the person with the longest history of bright light therapy use, said in the Sept 14, 2007 issue of Science regarding his developing AMD. After explaining that light therapy became less and less effective for him over the years as his eyesight faded, he said "Now I can hardly see, and all hell has broken loose" "I have had periods of depression lasting over a year, and highs lasting as long."
See Part II - Light exposure and AMD
More information on the loss of vision from the use of bright light and blue light therapy.


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Purchase or "No Risk" Rental Plans

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The Sunnex Biotechnologies Lo-LIGHT phototherapy lamp comes with a five year warranty. Details