Say ‘No’ to Blue Light Therapy
On our Broad Spectrum VS Full Spectrum Lights page we explain how full spectrum lighting is bad because they still emit UV rays. The same goes with Blue Light Therapy. Blue light is part of the full spectrum lighting for depression used in light therapy, and studies have show that it can damage the retina and increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is common among people 50 and older. It generally leads to loss of vision or blindness. AMD is the deterioration or breakdown of the eye’s macula. The macula is the small area in the retina that is responsible for your central visions, allowing you to see fine details clearly.
Who is at risk for Macular Degeneration?
- People 50 and older; it is most common in people over 65
- If someone in your family had macular degeneration
- Smoking increases an individual’s chances of developing macular degeneration
- Those with high blood pressure are at a higher risk as well
If you are sensitive to light because of conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment and retinopathy, you should avoid blue light boxes and consult with your ophthalmologist on using light therapy.
There are certain drugs that can increase your sensitivity to sunlight or may cause skin reactions as a result of light therapy. If you’re taking any drug or supplement on a regular basis, check with your physician to make sure it won’t cause a reaction to lightbox therapy.
Remember, if you have an eye condition, eye disease or have a history of macular degeneration, you should avoid blue light.
In the 2005 revision of Winter Blues by Dr. Rosenthal, he says “The bottom-line answer is, at this time stay with conventional white-light fixtures. We have decades of experience indicating that these are effective and safe. As of the writing of this book, there is not one published study on the effectiveness of blue light for treating SAD. Nor is there the long track record of safety. On the contrary, there is long-standing concern about potential toxicity of blue light to the eyes.”