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Best Light Therapy Glasses in 2024: A Review Of Top 5 Brands

If you already use light therapy at home using a lamp or a light box, wearables like light therapy glasses offer a portable alternative. Daylight glasses may help manage our internal clocks by exposing the eyes to specific wavelengths of light, particularly blue light. By mimicking sunrise or sunset, light therapy glasses may help shift sleep patterns.

Below, we've compiled a list of the best light therapy glasses currently available on the market, highlighting their specific benefits and what you can expect while using them.

Best light therapy glasses: a shortlist

  1. Luminette 3 — best overall light therapy glasses backed by research
  2. AYO — best light therapy glasses for extended use
  3. Re-Timer — unique design for light therapy glasses
  4. Lumos — most discreet glasses with the option to personalize
  5. Pegasi 2 — best light therapy glasses with a quick recharge

How did we put the list of the top light therapy glasses?

Just like there's no one-size-fits-all approach to wellness, choosing the right light therapy glasses should be based on different needs and preferences. Here's a breakdown of the methodology we adopted to rank the daylight glasses:

Brightness levelsA range of brightness options ensures that users can customize their therapy based on individual sensitivity
Session durationThe recommended usage time affects the ease of integrating therapy into daily routines
Battery lifeLonger battery life means less frequent charging, making the product more convenient for regular use
Design & comfortComfort and weight of the glasses during the session
PriceEvaluating the quality and price ratio to justify the experience
  • Brightness levels. Light intensity influences the effectiveness of light therapy glasses, so we ensured that the wearables on our list had comfortable and beneficial brightness qualities.
  • Session duration. Because light therapy sessions for sleep can be slightly different from session lengths for mood, we made sure these devices had a minimum session duration known to be effective for most needs.
  • Battery life. The point of a wearable is that it's portable, but having to charge a device constantly defeats the purpose of convenience. We evaluated the battery life of each product, noting how long a user can expect the device to function between charges.
  • Design & comfort. We looked at the design, weight, and feedback from users regarding wearability and fit and assessed the ergonomics of the glasses to estimate their comfort level.
  • Price. While most light therapy glasses are high-end products that often offer superior quality, we wanted to ensure a good balance. So we evaluated the balance between the features offered and their cost, ensuring users get excellent value for their money.

Best light therapy glasses: reviewing top daylight glasses

Our list is a curated selection that ticks all the right boxes, offering you a comprehensive guide to make an informed decision.

1. Luminette 3 — best overall light therapy glasses used by researchers to study light therapy

Luminette 3 glasses

The Luminette 3 dates back to 2006. This third-generation device represents over a decade of collaborative research with the University of Liege.

Utilizing a blue-enriched white light peaking at 468/570 nm, it's tailored for the body's optimal sunlight response, minus UV and infrared rays. Eight LEDs project light onto a hologram, redirecting it to the eyes, enabling users to continue daily activities without glare.

With brightness levels ranging from 500 to 1500 lux, users can choose between short 20-minute or extended 45-minute sessions. Moreover, its battery endures up to 10 days after a 2-hour charge. While it pairs with Bluetooth and a basic app, its core value is in its standalone features.

Priced at $199, it offers a 30-day return and 2-year warranty, reflected in its stellar 4.5-star average rating.

2. AYO — best light therapy glasses for extended use

AYO glasses and phone

Originating from the Netherlands, AYO introduced its "light-based personal energy system” — a circadian system targeting wearable that focuses on improving sleep, alleviating jet lag-induced tiredness, and boosting energy. It can be paired with a tailored AYO app and has Bluetooth capabilities to adjust the light intensity and session duration settings conveniently — through your smartphone.

AYO is equipped with 4 LEDs for blue-turquoise light and an additional 2 LEDs specifically for red light. According to the makers of the device, it emits no UV and IR light and is glare-free.

Unique to AYO is its award-winning protective case, which is accompanied by a soft pouch to allow for easy carrying of the wearable.

Device charging with AYO is facilitated through a USB-C charging mechanism, enabling the use of various cables, including the USB-A to USB-C cable provided in the packaging, as well as USB-C to USB-C cables.

AYO wearable can be yours for the price of $229, though, mind you, without the app. Now, if you decide to choose the option that comes with the app — either the annual plan at $269 or the lifetime plan at $299 — you will be able to appreciate extra functions of the device, including the option to customize intensity and duration, along with the inclusion of the red light feature.

3. Re-Timer — most unique design with signature turquoise-green light

Re-Timer glasses

The Re-Timer light therapy glasses use a signature green-turquoise light, which peaks at around 500 nm. Scientific research suggests this could address circadian rhythm misalignment and may effectively tackle conditions like insomnia, depression, and seasonal affective disorder.

The Re-Timer offers customizable therapy sessions ranging from 30 to 60 minutes. The flexibility extends to brightness levels as well, and users can choose between half and full intensities.

Its minimalist yet effective design features a large button that facilitates its operation, while its shape is purposefully crafted to bypass the eyebrows to ensure an optimal light delivery to the eyes. A charge of 3.5 hours yields up to 6 hours of usage, making it a reliable companion for those on the go.

Priced at $179, the Re-Timer represents a blend of research-driven efficacy, thoughtful design, and commendable battery longevity. Further, bolstering user confidence, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 1-year manufacturer's warranty.

4. Lumos — most discreet light therapy glasses, coming soon

The newest light therapy glasses by Lumos are currently available for pre-order only, and detailed information about pricing, battery life, and charging times is not yet available. However, they're the only pair that looks like regular eyeglasses, making them discreet to wear outside the house.

Unlike the other glasses, which specify certain light colors (blue, green, turquoise, and more.), Lumos provides a broad-spectrum light mimicking natural daylight. This can have a more holistic effect on the circadian rhythm. These light modules are strategically placed to ensure light reaches the lower part of the retina, which is crucial in regulating the body's internal clock.

The glasses offer an adjustable fit, ensuring they are snug, yet cozy for wearers of all kinds. An added benefit lies in their usability — designed to be worn while conducting daily tasks, they don't tether the user to a single spot.

5. Pegasi 2 — best lightweight, quick-charging glasses with customization options

The Pegasi 2 light therapy glasses are based on research conducted at Johns Hopkins University over the span of 14 years. They weight just 1.7 oz (48 g) and offer a UV-free blue-green light, optimizing melatonin regulation.

The choice of blue-green isn't arbitrary. While blue light is widely recognized for melatonin production, green has been reported to have potential efficacy in treating pain, including headaches (more specifically, both episodic and chronic migraines). In addition, at low brightness settings and shorter durations, green light's 555 nm wavelength competes effectively with blue's 460 nm, ensuring users get the alertness they desire.

Users can tailor their sessions: from a robust 20-minute strong brightness to a 40-minute mild treatment or the standard 30-minute balance. Best used between 7–9 a.m., it syncs with the body's rhythm. Charging takes a swift 70 minutes.

Priced at $189.99, with a 1-year warranty, its unique light choice, backed by extensive research, positions Pegasi 2 as a credible light therapy device.

Comparing the best light therapy glasses

Feature/AspectPrice pointsDesign & user experienceLight Source/colorInnovation and researchBattery lifeWarranty
Luminette 3$199.00Indirect light via hologramBlue-enriched white lightOver a decade with University of Liege10 days2-year manufacturer's warranty
AYO$199.00–$229.00 (+ app cost)Integrates with app, wear detectionBlue-turquoise lightUsed in over 10 scientific studies, with two published7 days 1-year manufacturer's warranty
Re-Timer
$179.00Avoids eyebrow blockageGreen-turquoise lightUsed in over a dozen published research studies6 hours1-year manufacturer's warranty

What is light therapy?

If you use light therapy but don't want to carry around a lamp or "light box," wearables like Luminette light therapy glasses offer a portable alternative. These glasses are designed to regulate our internal clocks by exposing the eyes to specific wavelengths of light, particularly blue light.

While some blue light, such as high-energy short-wave blue light between 415 and 455 nm, emitted from electronic devices can disrupt sleep, the right type of light exposure is designed to mimic sunrise or sunset and signal to our brains that it's either time to wake up or wind down.

Doing so can help shift sleep patterns, especially for those suffering from conditions like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), jet lag, or shift work sleep disorder. Light therapy has also been found to have a beneficial effect on those with mood disorders.

Benefits of light therapy glasses

Light therapy glasses are specialized eyewear designed to deliver targeted light directly to the wearer. By mimicking the beneficial aspects of natural daylight, these glasses aim to improve mood, boost energy levels, and reset disrupted sleep-wake cycles. Their portable design offers a hands-free approach to traditional light therapy.

Sleep enhancement

Light therapy, specifically using blue light wavelengths, can recalibrate disrupted melatonin production. Melatonin, our sleep hormone, naturally peaks at night. However, factors like jet lag or nighttime device usage can offset this rhythm, leading to daytime drowsiness.

Administering light therapy in the morning suppresses this misaligned melatonin synthesis, realigning its peak to nighttime. By restoring a natural sleep-wake cycle, light therapy can significantly improve sleep patterns and alleviate conditions like insomnia.

Combating jet lag

Traveling across multiple time zones can disrupt our body's circadian rhythm, the internal clock that dictates our sleep-wake cycle. When we travel, our internal clock remains synced to our original time zone, leading to a misalignment with the destination's day-night cycle. This misalignment results in jet lag, with symptoms like fatigue and insomnia.

Light therapy glasses assist globetrotters by emitting specific light wavelengths that stimulate the body to adjust its internal clock. Through this recalibration, they can effectively mitigate the exhaustive effects of jet lag, aiding travelers in adapting swiftly to new time zones.

Improving mood

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) often manifests with depressive symptoms during certain times of the year, typically in winter. Light therapy glasses, designed to replicate the positive aspects of natural sunlight, can prove beneficial. They may also promote the production of serotonin, a crucial neurotransmitter influencing mood. By increasing serotonin levels, these glasses not only counteract SAD symptoms but may also enhance overall mood, offering a ray of hope during darker periods.

Enhancing alertness and cognition

Early morning light therapy may boost alertness and cognition, especially in those grappling with sleep deprivation. Studies have shown that this intervention appears to offset sleep deprivation's negative effects by energizing neural systems associated with alertness. Sleep deprivation compromises crucial cognitive functions, such as attention span and reaction time. Hence, for night shift workers, such a therapy may not only enhance their work productivity but can also play a pivotal role in ensuring their overall cognitive well-being.

Portable therapy

Light therapy glasses are designed for adaptability and mobility. Unlike their stationary light box counterparts, these glasses are tailored to accommodate users on the go. Their design facilitates seamless integration into daily routines, allowing users to benefit from therapeutic light in varied contexts, from morning commutes to late-night work sessions. If the glasses have a better chance of being used, they have a greater chance of being effective.

Is it safe to wear light therapy glasses?

Light therapy glasses are generally considered safe for regular use. However, like any therapeutic tool, it's crucial to adhere to recommended guidelines and session durations. The light emitted from these glasses is specifically designed to be gentle on the eyes, with many models excluding potentially harmful ultraviolet rays.

Harnessing the spectrum akin to sunlight, light therapy glasses interact with our body's inherent biological clock, the circadian rhythm. This interaction influences physiological processes, from sleep patterns to hormone production. By doing so, these glasses help to recalibrate our internal systems, supporting synchronization with the day-night cycle.

Risks of using light therapy glasses

Light therapy glasses generally offer a safe way to address circadian rhythm disruptions, but like all treatments, they aren't without potential risks. Some of the concerns associated with the use of light therapy glasses include:

  • Mood changes, such as irritability. There are rare instances where light therapy might cause irritability or mood swings, especially in people with bipolar disorder. It's essential to monitor any mood changes and consult with a mental health professional if necessary.
  • Eye discomfort or strain. Extended exposure to bright light may cause discomfort or strain to the eyes. While the risk is minimal, especially since most light therapy glasses are UV-free, it's still essential to follow the manufacturer's guidelines regarding usage duration.
  • Headaches. Some people might experience headaches initially when starting light therapy. This usually subsides after a few sessions, but if it persists, discontinuing use and consulting a healthcare professional is advised.
  • Aggravation of certain conditions. While light therapy can be beneficial for conditions like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), it might not be suitable for people with certain eye conditions or those taking medications that make them more sensitive to light.
  • Skin sensitivity. In very rare cases, some people might experience skin sensitivity or reactions when exposed to light, especially if they are on medications that increase photosensitivity.

Circadian rhythm: what is it?

The circadian rhythm is our body's internal clock. It regulates the sleep-wake cycle, repeating roughly every 24 hours. Governed primarily by the hypothalamus in the brain, this rhythm responds to external cues like light and darkness to synchronize our bodily functions with the day-night cycle. Besides governing sleep patterns, it influences hormone production, eating habits, digestion, body temperature, and cellular regeneration.

Light therapy glasses come into play by emitting specific wavelengths of light that mimic natural sunlight. When worn, they interact with the photoreceptors in our eyes, sending signals to the brain. This encourages the production or suppression of melatonin, depending on the desired outcome.

When should you get light therapy glasses?

Light therapy glasses can be particularly beneficial for certain symptoms or problems. Individuals might consider getting light therapy glasses if they:

  • Experience persistent sleep disorders like insomnia. An irregular sleep-wake pattern can lead to health issues, and light therapy can aid in re-establishing a balanced circadian rhythm.
  • Frequently travel across time zones. These glasses can help in adjusting to the new time zone faster.
  • Suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It's a type of depression linked to seasonal changes, usually during shorter winter days when sunlight exposure is limited.
  • Work shift hours, especially night shifts, which can disrupt the natural sleep cycle. Using light therapy glasses can assist in maintaining alertness during work and achieving restful sleep afterward.

Consulting a healthcare professional before investing in light therapy glasses is always advisable.

Our conclusion of the best therapy glasses

The science behind light therapy glasses highlights the relationship between our environment and our physiology. These wearables provide solutions to issues like jet lag, sleep disorders, and seasonal mood changes. While light therapy glasses are generally safe to use, if you suffer from sleep disturbances or mood changes, it's always wise to see a doctor before attempting at-home treatment.


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Comments

Don White
prefix 6 months ago
Excellent review, very thorough and helpful. Thank you for the generous discount code on the Luminette 3!