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June 20, 2016
First randomized trial of blue light blocking glasses (orange tinted shades) for acute bipolar mania treatment showed they were highly effective as an add-on treatment for patients in a manic episode, with a significant difference seen as early as three days after the start of the intervention.
This is exciting but early research. Since the downside is negligible compared to antipsychotic or lithium meds, this is a potential game changer, IF additional trials can confirm the findings. These glasses are already being used for 1-3 hours prior to bedtime for insomnia treatment by regulating melatonin. The current protocol included wear from 6 pm – 8 am (except while sleeping).
The mechanism underlying the effects of blue blocking glasses in mania need further investigation, but current focus is that the anti-manic effect seen during treatment is due to silencing of signalling in the ipRGC circuits directly influencing mood and cognition, rather than indirect effects via melatonin secretion, sleep or increased circadian synchrony.