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The Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen conducts a lot of research into Parkinson’s disease. A phased study is currently underway into the possibilities of using blue light in Parkinson’s patients. Blue light glasses have been introduced as a possible new method to treat sleep and mood disorders in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Assessing patient acceptance is an important first step towards formal testing and introduction into clinical practice. The results of the first phase were published in Parkinson’s Disease (Hindawi) Volume 2019 in June. Below you can find a summary and a link to the publication.
Light glasses with monochromatic blue light have been introduced as a possible new method of treating sleep disorders in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Assessing patient acceptance is an important step towards testing and introduction into clinical practice. Fifty-eight patients with Parkinson’s disease use light glasses for at least a week. 74% of respondents reported subjective improvements in nighttime sleep, daytime sleepiness, depressive symptoms, motor skills, or a combination thereof. All but one patient want to continue to use the light glasses, usually because they see it as a useful tool.
Portable light therapy with monochromatic blue light appears to have a positive effect on sleep, mood and motor symptoms in Parkinson’s disease. Patients generally had a positive rating of light glasses as a treatment for sleep and mood disorders. A lot of research has already been done into the relationship between light, sleep and Parkinson’s disease. The studies offer hope with often special results. Light expert Toine Schoutens is involved from Chrono Eyewear BV (Propeaq) in studies into the effects of specific blue light in the bandwidth of the patented Propeaq glasses. The results of the first investigation were published in a peer-revied international journal in June 2019:
Blue Light Therapy Glasses in Parkinson’s Disease Patients’ Experience: Hindawi Parkinsons Disease:, Bastiaan Bloem PhD, Daniel van Wamelen PhD, Katarzyna Smilowska PhD from the department of Neurology, Radboud University Nijmegen (NL) and Toine Schoutens from Chrono Eyewear BV, Tilburg the Netherlands.
Volume 2019 |Article ID 1906271 | 4 pages | https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/1906271
The conclusions in this study are promising.
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the coexistence of motor and non-motor symptoms. Sleep disturbances are among the most common non-motor symptoms occurring in up to 90% of patients; these sleep disturbances reduce the quality of life and hinder daytime functioning. In Parkinson’s disease, the circadian system appears to influence motor and non-motor symptoms. For example, worsening motor symptoms (rigidity, tremor and bradykinesia) indicate abnormal circadian rhythm with worsening symptomatology throughout the day.
Although many different pharmacological and non-pharmacological strategies have been introduced to reduce sleep problems in Parkinson’s disease, their efficiency remains limited. Sleep medication often leads to side effects and sometimes even worsening of the symptoms. Blue light is more effective in regulating the biological clock compared to traditional polychromatic white light boxes. The light glasses used emit blue light via integrated LED light sources with a wavelength of approximately 468 nm at a light intensity of 35 – 40 Lux at 1.5 cm from the eyes (0.9 µW / cm2).
1. Immediately after getting up 30 minutes of blue light with light blue glasses
2. At the end of the afternoon 30 minutes of blue light With blue light glasses.
3. Before going to sleep 30 minutes in orange glasses with the blue light off.
An online survey was conducted in February and March 2018 among patients who purchased the Propeaq light glasses. The study included 10 items from the System Usability Scale (SUS), supplemented with 22 questions about the effect of the glasses. In total, 39 questions were asked. The research was approved by the medical ethics review committee of the RadboudUMC.
The mean disease duration from PD diagnosis among the respondents was 6.7 ± 4.6 years. Most patients (28/31, 90%) were on medication, mainly levodopa preparations. Seven respondents (24%) used sleep medication. Most patients (23/31, 74%) used the light glasses twice a day: once in the morning and once in the evening for 30-60 minutes each time. Of the 31 patients, 23 patients (74%) reported an effect of the glasses. Of these, 16 patients (70%) reported an improvement in nighttime sleep, four (13%) an improvement in daytime sleepiness, five (16%) an improvement in depressive symptoms and four (12%) an improvement in motor skills. Five patients (16%) reported side effects; one patient reported transient calf cramps, and two other patients reported transient nausea, fatigue, headache, or dizziness.