International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health
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Reading increases ocular illuminance during light treatment
1Department of Psychiatry, Mood and Anxiety Program, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
2St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, Psychiatry Residency Training Program, Washington, DC, USA
3Department of Ophthalmology, University of Maryland, School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
4Department of Psychology, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, USA
5Department of Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Division, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
Citation Information: . Volume 24, Issue 4, Pages 339–342, ISSN (Online) 2191-0278, ISSN (Print) 0334-0139, DOI: 10.1515/ijamh.2012.049, April 2012
- Published Online:
Background: Bright-light treatment is a safe and effective treatment for the management of winter seasonal affective disorder (SAD). In a recent study, we found that the relative duration of reading was positively associated with likelihood of remission after six weeks of light treatment.
Methods: Two technicians measured the illuminance of a light box with a light meter directed towards the center of reading material that was placed on a table in front of the light box. The measurement was also performed after reading material was removed. The two measurements were performed in a randomized order. Friedman analysis of variance with Wilcoxon post-hoc tests were used to compare illuminance with vs. without reading.
Results: The presence of the reading material increased illuminance by 470.93 lux (95% CI 300.10–641.75), p<0.0001.
Limitations: This is a technical report done under conditions intended to mimic those of typical ambulatory light treatment as much as possible.
Conclusions: As reading materials reflect light from the light box, reading during light therapy increases ocular illuminance. If confirmed by future studies using continuous recordings in randomized design, instructing SAD patients to read during light therapy may contribute to a more complete response to light treatment. The downside of specific relevance for students, is that reading, in particular, with bright light in the late evening/early night may induce or worsen circadian phase delay, adversely affecting health and functioning.