Bright light therapy is an important treatment modality in mental health but is underutilized. To help clinicians with using bright light therapy appropriately, on other pages on this website, we have discussed exactly how bright light therapy should be done (see Related Pages below).
We have also discussed in detail on other pages (see Related Pages below) the criteria for deciding which bright light devices to recommend and have made specific recommendations about both larger and smaller lightboxes.
For a discussion of whether wearable bright light therapy devices (e.g., visors) work, please see the following article on this website:
In that article, we noted that, as of November 2020, wearable (e.g., visor) devices for bright light therapy have not been shown in controlled clinical trials to be efficacious. So, for now, we generally do not recommend their use.
But, sometimes a patient who may benefit from bright light therapy is unable or unwilling to use one of the lightboxes that we have recommended on another page on this website (see Bright light therapy: Exactly which devices to recommend)?
In such situations, maybe it would be better to use a wearable bright light therapy device than to not use bright light therapy at all? Of course, we should tell the patient that using a wearable device is not optimal and not proven to work in research.
If a wearable device is used, it makes sense to at least use one that has been evaluated to some extent in research studies. On this page, we’ll look at some of these.
If a visor device is used, here are two visor devices whose physical characteristics were evaluated in a systematic study (Oldham et al., 2019).
1. Feel Bright light (https://feelbrightlight.com). This LED-based visor device was found in an independent study to provide light of 8900 lux intensity when used as directed (Oldham et al., 2019). Their “deluxe” model costs $149 (with free shipping) as of November 2020, but lower-priced versions are available as well.
2. SolarMax Light Visor (www.biobrite.com). This LED-based visor device was found in an independent study to provide light of 5900 lux intensity when used as directed (Oldham et al., 2019).
Available on Amazon.com ($149 as of November 2020) at the links below:
Tip on using a bright light therapy visor: Visor devices tend to have a glare (Oldham et al., 2019). So, it has been suggested that if a patient is using a visor device for bright light therapy, we should tell the patient to check in a mirror that the visor has been positioned correctly on the head because, otherwise, patients “are likely to” try to reduce glare from the visor device by positioning it inappropriately (Oldham et al., 2019).
Some clinical trials have used a wearable, LED-based bright light therapy device called Re-Timer® (https://www.re-timer.com) that was developed in Australia (e.g., Zalta et al., 2019; Swanson et al., 2018).
The device is worn like a pair of goggles and looks like something from the future! It looks like This device uses green-blue light and is recommended to be used for 60 minutes per day. As of November 2020, it costs $189.
The clinical trials mentioned above had small numbers of participants and were only pilot studies showing that this device was acceptable to patients and deserves to be studied further. They do not show conclusively that the device is more efficacious than a control condition. Note: These clinical trials did not involve any financial conflict of interest and was not funded by the manufacturer of Re-Timer.
The manufacturer’s website briefly describes other research studies that were done using the Re-Timer device. See https://www.re-timer.com/the-science/research/
Potential side effects of the Re-Timer device
As with other wearable bright light therapy devices, light from the Re-Timer device can be bothersome to the eyes and can lead to headache or eye irritation though these side effects tend to be mild (Lovato and Lack, 2015).
This is a wearable LED-based bright light therapy device developed in Belgium.
There is an ongoing controlled clinical trial using the Luminette device (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03685942) that will be completed in 20201
WE ARE STILL REVIEWING THE DATA ON THIS DEVICE. THIS SECTION WILL BE UPDATED SOON.[Optional to read: Studies that used the Luminette device include Bean et al., 2020, and Raymackers et al., 2019]
Disclosure: The links above are Amazon affiliate links. Buying products from Amazon.com using links on this website helps to support this website at no additional cost to the purchaser. But, we still want to be fully transparent about this.
Bean HR, Stafford L, Little R, Diggens J, Ftanou M, Alexander M, Francis PA, Bei B, Wiley JF. Light-enhanced cognitive behavioural therapy for sleep and fatigue: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial during chemotherapy for breast cancer. Trials. 2020 Mar 27;21(1):295. doi: 10.1186/s13063-020-4196-4. PMID: 32216832; PMCID: PMC7099834.
Corbett MA. A potential aid to circadian adaptation: re-timer. Aviat Space Environ Med. 2013 Oct;84(10):1113-4. doi: 10.3357/asem.3827.2013. PMID: 24261068.
Leggett AN, Conroy DA, Blow FC, Kales HC. Bright Light as a Preventive Intervention for Depression in Late-Life: A Pilot Study on Feasibility, Acceptability, and Symptom Improvement. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2018 May;26(5):598-602. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2017.11.007. Epub 2017 Nov 21. PMID: 29269208; PMCID: PMC6181116.
Lovato N, Lack L. Circadian phase delay using the newly developed re-timer portable light device. Sleep and Biological Rhythms 2016; 14: 157–164. Not on PubMed. Only the Abstract was reviewed at this link.
Oldham MA, Oldham MB, Desan PH. Commercially Available Phototherapy Devices for Treatment of Depression: Physical Characteristics of Emitted Light. Psych Res Clin Pract 2019;1(2):49-57.
Raymackers JM, Andrade M, Baey E, Vanneste M, Evrard F. Bright light therapy with a head-mounted device for anxiety, depression, sleepiness and fatigue in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Acta Neurol Belg. 2019 Dec;119(4):607-613. doi: 10.1007/s13760-019-01214-3. Epub 2019 Sep 30. PMID: 31571135.
Swanson LM, Burgess HJ, Zollars J, Todd Arnedt J. An open-label pilot study of a home wearable light therapy device for postpartum depression. Arch Womens Ment Health. 2018 Oct;21(5):583-586. doi: 10.1007/s00737-018-0836-z. Epub 2018 Mar 30. PMID: 29603017; PMCID: PMC6234841.
Zalta AK, Bravo K, Valdespino-Hayden Z, Pollack MH, Burgess HJ. A placebo-controlled pilot study of a wearable morning bright light treatment for probable PTSD. Depress Anxiety. 2019 Jul;36(7):617-624. doi: 10.1002/da.22897. Epub 2019 Apr 17. PMID: 30995350; PMCID: PMC6721597.
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