Light Therapy: eyes closed or opened?


2Light Therapy: What is the risk to the eyes?

In general, the research indicates that red and infrared light are extremely beneficial for eye health. While there is no official consensus among researchers about this, it is likely that you do not need any special protective eyewear as you would with many other types of light, like UV light. Having said that, there is some research indicating that long-duration exposure in the eyes may not be a good idea, and you may want to keep the dose very low for the eyes (i.e. the eyes may not tolerate larger doses as well as other body parts.) One researcher commented:

“Eye safety: In a study by Merry et al (2016), 50-80 mW/cm2 of visible red light appeared to improve vision, though in that study, subjects kept their eyes closed while looking at the Warp10 treatment device (670nm). Another scientific article on eye safety stated that 10 mW/cm2 would be a safe upper limit for an infrared light exposure of long duration.”

If you have any specific condition or eye health issues (e.g. post-cataract surgery), please talk to your doctor and make sure it’s okay for you.

You should also know that lasers are very different from LEDs. You should NEVER shine lasers into your eyes!

But LEDs are much safer for light exposure in the eyes. Whether they are 100% perfectly safe for large doses is not yet clear. If you have any eye health problems and you want to err on the side of caution, you may want to:

1. Make sure that you only expose your eyes to low doses (less than 5 Joules is probably a good estimate). Much less than you would dose all the other areas of your body.

2. Wear patient safety goggles (medical patient safety goggles) to protect your eyes while using the light.

Until we have more conclusive data, it doesn’t hurt to err on the side of caution.

(Remember to consult your doctor if you have any specific issues, these statements are not intended as medical advice or claims to treat or cure any specific eye condition).

The one other difference here is simply eye sensitivity. Some people find the brightness of a powerful red LED light to be hard on the eyes (in the sense that any bright light will be). So if you are sensitive to the light, feel free to close your eyes or use some sort of fabric or blindfold to cover your eyes. Note that the infrared light is not visible to the human eye, so you won’t have any bright light that your eyes are sensitive to infrared.

Here is a study saying that infrared light could potentially be harmful to the eyes

They are mainly saying:

1. Laser light (coherent light) can damage eye health. That means you MUST always protect your eyes from laser light by wearing medical patient safety goggles. So if you are using a laser device, then yes, it can damage your eyes.

2. They are speculating that it might be possible that very bright LEDs could potentially be hazardous to eye health, but more research is needed.

Keep in mind that there is actually research showing that it can benefit eye health. There might be too many studies out there. That’s the upshot of one new study, That’s the upshot of one new study, however more research will no doubt be necessary.


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