What is Light Therapy (Phototherapy)?

Category: Procedures

Most popular types: Blue light therapy Dawn Simulation Anodyne therapy

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See also: Light Box

Light therapy or phototherapy consists of exposure to daylight or to specific wavelengths of light using lasers, light-emitting diodes, fluorescent lamps, dichroic lamps or very bright, full-spectrum light, for a prescribed amount of time and, in some cases, at a specific time of day.

Reported purpose & perceived effectiveness
Purpose Patients Evaluations Perceived Effectiveness
Seasonal affective disorder 46 36
Major depressive disorder 27 22
Psoriasis 7 6
Psoriatic plaques (scaly patches) 6 8
Fatigue 5 9

Show all 34 reasons taken


  • Major
  • Moderate
  • Slight
  • None
  • Can't tell

Side effects

Side effects as an overall problem

Side effects as an overall problem
Severity Evaluations Percentage
Severe 5
Moderate 9
Mild 13
None 73

Commonly reported side effects and conditions associated with Light Therapy (Phototherapy)

Side effect Patients Percentage
Headaches 3
Burning sensation 2
Eye pain 2
Itching 2
Mania 2
Agitation 1

Show all 15 reported side effects

Dosages

Based on patients currently having Light Therapy (Phototherapy)

Dosage Patients Percentage
daily 14
30 min daily 2
3 times a week 2
20 min daily 1
as needed 1
three times daily 1
twice daily 1
Adherence
Adherence Evaluations Percentage
Always 31
Usually 46
Sometimes 19
Never taken as prescribed 4
Burden
Burden Evaluations Percentage
Very hard to take 8
Somewhat hard to take 25
A little hard to take 32
Not at all hard to take 35
Cost per month
Cost per month Evaluations Percentage
$200+ 8
$100-199 6
$50-99 1
$25-49 2
< $25 30
Not specified 53
Last updated:

10 patient evaluations for Light Therapy (Phototherapy)

Dec 1, 2018 (Started Nov 01, 2018)

  • Effectiveness
    None (for major depressive disorder)
  • Effectiveness
    None (for seasonal affective disorder)
  • Side effects
    None
  • Adherence
    Usually
  • Burden
    A little hard to take
Dosage: Daily
Advice & Tips: Did NOT seem to help my depression.

  • 0 helpful marks

Jun 18, 2017 (Started Jul 01, 2014)

  • Effectiveness
    Moderate (for seasonal affective disorder)
  • Side effects
    None
  • Adherence
    Usually
  • Burden
    Somewhat hard to take
Dosage: 3 times a week
Cost: $100-199 monthly

Apr 24, 2016 (Started Jul 01, 2014)

  • Effectiveness
    Moderate (for seasonal affective disorder)
  • Side effects
    None
  • Adherence
    Usually
  • Burden
    Not at all hard to take
Dosage: 3 times a week
Advice & Tips: I have had Seasonally Affected Depression since I was a kid when my grades always dropped in the January-March grading period.  Now living in the NW where winter nights are long and days are often dark, my full-spectrum light has really helped especially when adding 400 units of daily liquid Vitamin D each day in the winter.  Caution:  the cheap lights don't work as well. 
Cost: $100-199 monthly

  • 0 helpful marks

Mar 4, 2013 (Started Feb 01, 2012)

  • Effectiveness
    Major (for psoriasis)
  • Side effects
    Mild (dry skin, itching, pustules, hyperpigmentation (skin darkening))
  • Adherence
    Always
  • Burden
    Somewhat hard to take
Cost: $200+ monthly

Mar 2, 2013 (Started Feb 01, 2012)

  • Effectiveness
    Major (for psoriasis)
  • Side effects
    None
  • Adherence
    Always
  • Burden
    Somewhat hard to take
Dosage: M,W,F
Cost: $200+ monthly

Jul 17, 2012 (Started Feb 01, 2012)

  • Effectiveness
    Major (for psoriasis)
  • Side effects
    Moderate (dry skin, itching, pustules, hyperpigmentation (skin darkening))
  • Adherence
    Always
  • Burden
    Somewhat hard to take
Dosage: M,W,F
Cost: $200+ monthly

Jul 11, 2012 (Started Feb 01, 2012)

  • Effectiveness
    Moderate (for psoriasis)
  • Side effects
    Mild (dry skin, itching, pustules, hyperpigmentation (skin darkening))
  • Adherence
    Always
  • Burden
    Somewhat hard to take
Dosage: M,W,F
Advice & Tips: I was having 4 treatments per week and things were going well. Within a month of dropping to twice weekly, I was almost as bad as when I started. Went back up to 4x/week, and showing positive results again.
Cost: $200+ monthly

May 25, 2012 (Started Feb 01, 2012)

  • Effectiveness
    Major (for psoriasis)
  • Side effects
    Mild (dry skin, itching, pustules, hyperpigmentation (skin darkening))
  • Adherence
    Always
  • Burden
    Somewhat hard to take
Dosage: M,W,F
Advice & Tips: Elevated mood
Cost: $200+ monthly

Feb 12, 2012 (Started Feb 01, 2012)

  • Effectiveness
    Moderate (for psoriasis)
  • Side effects
    Severe (dry skin, itching, pustules, hyperpigmentation (skin darkening))
  • Adherence
    Always
  • Burden
    Somewhat hard to take
Dosage: M,W,F
Advice & Tips: Treatment is somewhat of a burden because I live 40 minutes away from where I have to go 4 mornings a week, and the treatment currently only lasts 20 seconds.
Cost: $200+ monthly

  • 0 helpful marks
Last updated:
Showing 3 of 10 patient evaluations for Light Therapy (Phototherapy)