Fast Five Quiz: Mood Disorders

Stephen Soreff, MD


October 01, 2019

According to the American Psychiatric Association, BLT, talk therapy, antidepressant medications or some combination may be indicated for patients with SAD. Some people may begin BLT in early fall to prevent symptoms. Some patients with SAD who live in the northern hemisphere relocate in the fall to places with longer hours of daylight to prevent or lessen their winter depression.

Although no data suggest that BLT is associated with retinal or ocular damage, ophthalmologic examinations before initiation of BLT and at regular follow-up visits are recommended for patients with preexisting retinal disease, those taking photosensitizing medications, and those with systemic diseases that involve the retina. Patients often respond to BLT in as little as 1-2 weeks. Typically, BLT is continued until the time of their usual spring remission.

BLT for SAD is used at an intensity of 10,000 lux for 30-90 minutes daily, usually within 1 hour of arising in the morning. Like any effective antidepressant, BLT has the potential to precipitate a hypomanic or manic episode in susceptible individuals. Other common adverse effects include eye irritation, restlessness, and transient headaches. These lamps are not a significant source of UV light.

Read more about the treatment of SAD.

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