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Ask the Experts


Is blue light therapy is as effective as 10,000 lux white light in the treatment of depression?

Also, are there any commercial products that you could recommend?

Answered by: Michael Terman

Blue light therapy has been commercially hyped as superior to broad-spectrum white light therapy -- but there is no evidence to support this. In fact, the action of short-wavelength blue light depends on coordinated action with longer wavelengths of light contained in the white spectrum. There are also drawbacks to narrow-band blue exposure: it creates aversive glare, it degrades visual acuity, and in the long term it presents a potential hazard to the health of retinal photoreceptors. (It is indeed contraindicated for those with, or at risk for, age-related macular degeneration.)

It is best to use clinically established and safe white light. See Criteria for Light Box Selection on the THERAPY page at