Light Therapy Helps Alleviate Nonseasonal Depression in Older Adults

March 27, 2018

Light therapy has a positive effect on nonseasonal depression in geriatric patients, researchers concluded in a meta-analysis published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

“Light therapy has become an increasingly common treatment for adults with depression, yet the role of light therapy for nonseasonal depression among older adults remains unclear,” the study team wrote.

The team conducted a review of 6 trials with a total of 359 patients. They considered 5 of the studies to have a low risk of bias.

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They determined that light therapies reduced depressive symptoms, as measured by various depression scales (SMD = 0.45; 95% CI= [0.14, 0.75]).

The review also analyzed results in terms of light type, intervention time, light intensity, and the depression scale used for measurement. The subgroup analysis found these factors did not have any moderating effects.

Researchers warned that “most of the study samples were not representative of the larger population of adults” and “studies with larger sample sizes are needed to confirm the curative effect of light therapy in the future.”

—Terri Airov


Zhao X, Ma J, Wu S, Chi I, Bai Z. Light therapy for older patients with non-seasonal depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders. 2018;232:291-299.