Light Therapy Glasses Can Cure Seasonal Affective Disorder
The device shines fake sunlight into the wearer's peripheral vision to help eliminate blues associated with lack of Vitamin D.
Seasonal Affective Disorder affects millions of people in the country. As the season gets darker and colder, people who are susceptible to the disorder also start to feel lethargic, sleepy, moody and depressed. Some of the treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD includes phototherapy or light therapy, psychotherapy, and medications.
The most common treatment for SAD is light therapy, which involves using special lamps or light boxes that mimic the effects of sunlight. People with the disorder are directed to expose themselves to the light for several hours each day.
Students at Drexel University have designed a pair of glasses that helps treat SAD by beaming light around the wearer’s eyes.
Developed by product design student Troy Hudson with the help of Kevin Sacherman, a student in Drexel’s School of Biomedical Engineering Science and Health Systems, the Light Therapy Glasses are designed to simulate sunlight and trick the brain into thinking it’s getting as much sunlight as it does during summer time.
It’s basically light therapy sans the special lamps and light boxes. With the Light Therapy Glasses, people can just bring the light with them wherever they go and the glasses can project light into the wearer’s eyes throughout the day.
For light therapy to be effective, the light has to hit the person’s retina to simulate the effects of natural light. The Light Therapy Glasses beam light from its frames at the sides of the wearer’s face. The glasses produce approximately 2,000 lux at the corners of the retina and help increase the wearer’s serotonin levels, which can help improve his or her mood.
Usually a person needs to sit and look directly into light lamps during light therapy, and having the light emitted from a pair of glasses makes the treatment less inconvenient and tiresome. The light from the special glasses are also less blinding than the light from the lamps.
The wearer can track his or her progress with the Light Therapy Glasses through a mobile app.
Hudson created the prototype glasses as part of his senior thesis for Drexel’s product design class.