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Before You Buy a Light Box

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Updated July 03, 2014

There are many light box products on the market that claim to help Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but not all light boxes meet the recommended requirements for treating SAD. These are the requirements recommended by the Center for Environmental Therapeutics (CET) for effective light box therapy. Make sure that any unit you purchase meets these specifications.

Clinical Testing

The light box that you buy should have data from peer-reviewed clinical trials backing it up.

Sufficient Output

When you are seated at a comfortable distance from the light box, it should provide you with 10,000 lux of illumination. Avoid products which missing or unverified specifications.

UV Filters

Fluorescent lamps should have a smooth diffusing screen to filters out harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.

White Light Only

Boxes that emit white light are preferred over "full spectrum" lamps and blue lamps, which do not provide any known advantage.

Minimize Glare

In order to minimize glare, the light should be projected downward toward the eyes at an angle.

Sufficient Size

A larger light box is better because even small head movements can take the eyes out of the therapeutic range of the light when a smaller light box is used.

More About SAD

  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Depression
  4. Types of Depression
  5. Seasonal Affective Disorder
  6. Before You Buy a Light Box

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