Can color-tinted glasses affect your mood?
A growing number of studies show color light therapy can have biological effects
TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - What if changing your mood was as easy as putting on a pair of glasses?
It turns out colorful glasses aren’t just a fashion statement. Studies show that wearing color-tinted lenses has the potential to influence how humans respond to emotional events.
Amy Thomas, an optometrist with Arizona Vision Therapy Center in Tucson, recommends the lenses to patients and says they can change the way you feel.
“I love every single one of these colors,” Thomas said, holding a stack of colored lenses. “When you need a certain color, it is the best color for you. Until it’s not.”
Thomas explained the research as Syntonic Phototherapy. It’s based on the premise that exposure to certain colors of light can influence the functioning of the eye and the brain.
“Lavender is really, really good. It chills you out. It detaches you from all of the drama that’s going around,” Thomas said. “But if you wear it too long then you become too detached.”
There is a list of colors from Lavender, Aqua, Pink, Yellow, Green and Blue. The colored lenses have been shown to affect some people’s mood or perception.
At Arizona Vision Therapy Center, they claim to measure which part of your brain needs stimulation and then recommend a colored lens that would be best for you to wear for about one to two months.
“At the very end of the program, we give you a list of what each one does because we now know which moods and which problems with your brain you’re going to be having. We have a list, and you can go back and you can pop those lenses into your frames almost like swatch glasses,” Thomas said.
More scientific research is needed to fully support the benefits of color light therapy. But, there is growing research from the University of Arizona showing Photobiomodulation or color light therapy can have different effects on the body.
“Using the right lens with the right filter can have biological effects,” said Dr. Mohab Ibrahim, a pain management physician and researcher at the U of A.
Ibrahim recently published studies that investigated the use of green LED light in treating acute and chronic pain in rats.
“We used contact lenses in addition to just regular exposure and what we’ve seen is that green light decreased the sensitivity to pain,” Ibrahim said.
“Both the fibromyalgia and migraine patients got better. Their pain intensities decreased, their quality of life improved, their sleep improved, their depression improved, and their anxiety decreased,” Ibrahim said. “But again, whether it decreased because their pain got better or it’s independent factors, we do not know yet, but we know all of these parameters improved.”
Another U of A researcher, Dr. William Killgore, Ph.D., published a clinical trial on the use of daily morning blue-light exposure on individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and found that the blue-light exposure every morning was associated with improvements in sleep duration and left amygdala volume.
However, Dr. Ibrahim makes an important distinction that one color will not always produce the same emotional effect for everyone.
“Maybe when someone was a child they had a very , very nice present that was wrapped in blue paper, gift wrapping.. so they associate blue with something happy. Someone else might associate blue with who knows maybe they almost drowned in water and they are afraid of the color blue because they associate that with a different experience,” Ibrahim said.
“But that being said, color can produce an emotional response. But what that emotional response may be is dependent on multiple factors,” he went on to say.
With the growing popularity of these color-tinted lenses, it’s important to note that while they may influence mood or perception for some individuals, the effects are subjective and not guaranteed.
Color light therapy is also not FDA-approved and should not be considered a substitute for professional treatment for mood-related conditions such as depression or anxiety.
But Thomas believes a wide range of people could benefit.
“Engineers who need to do the projects. Children who are trying to get through school and get through tests without anxiety. People who are struggling with attention. There’s so many things that these guys can help,” Thomas said.
Now it’s your turn to see what color could be right for you.
If you are interested in color-tinted glasses, speak with your eye care specialist and your physician about what is right for you.
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