The BioBrite Light Visor™ is the result of scientific study focused on developing a mobile light source capable of delivering light therapy without severely restricting movement or limiting activities of patients receiving the therapy. The first light therapy devices were light boxes. Early models were large, heavy , and awkward to move around. Current models have been greatly refined and are much easier to transport; however, these devices necessarily confine the patient to remaining in front of stationary boxes while receiving light therapy. The restrictive nature of light boxes and their concomitant effects on patients’ quality of life led pioneering scientists in the field, including Dr. George Brainard of the Thomas Jefferson University College of Medicine, and Drs. Norman Rosenthal and Thomas Wehr of the National Institutes of Health, to experiment with head-mounted, battery- operated units capable of shining bright light into patients’ eyes without requiring the recipients to remain immobile. BioBrite worked with these investigators to develop and market a lightweight, easy to use, mobile head-mounted device, now trade-marked as the BioBrite Light Visor™ . The Light Visor™ has been tested in controlled clinical trials. The earliest, in 1992, was in fact the largest single trial conducted in one season on the use of light to treat SAD (Joffe, R.T., et. al.; Psychiatry Research , 46, 1993). There were more than 100 patients involved. The response rate was good, comparable to light boxes, however, some patients responded to low Visor light intensities, raising the placebo issue. In retrospect, based on current knowledge of the biological effects of light on humans, a feasible argument can be made that under the circumstances of the experimental design, low intensity light might have been effective for some people. Nevertheless, a review of published data from light box trials and head mounted units (HMUs) trials by two authoritative clinicians led them to conclude that HMUs produce response rates similar to light boxes for SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder and Beyond: Light Treatment for SAD and Non-SAD Conditions. Ed. Lam, R. W., American Psychiatric Press, Inc, Washington, DC, 1998). In evaluating clinical results of Visor trials, some investigators have ignored, or are not aware, that four different models of the Light Visor™ have been marketed by BioBrite. Each model incorporates improvements over earlier models. Therefore, data from the first prototype model cannot fairly be compared with data from more current models. Design problems with the Light Visor™ principally relate to filling the field of vision of users with light, yet not obstructing vision. This is a considerable challenge, considering anatomical differences of human heads. The design of the relatively new LED model has significantly addressed this problem. The light bar is located further forward, directing light to the eyes at less of an angle, and an array of LEDs provides a much larger area of light to the eyes. Dr. George Brainard, Jefferson Medical College, an acclaimed expert on the biological effects of light in humans, and Dr. Brenda Byrne, a clinical expert on SAD, at the same institution, have conducted controlled clinical trials to measure the effect of the LED model Light Visor™ on melatonin (“the light hormone”) suppression in normal human volunteers.
The data was presented at the annual meeting of the 1999 Society for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms (SLTBR), clearly demonstrated that LED Visor light can significantly suppress melatonin, an important marker for the biological activity of light. Later, prominent clinical investigators at Yale Medical School, and Jefferson Medical College, conducted an open trial of the LED Visor in SAD patients. All of the 10 patients who completed the study responded very well, and were pleased with the Visor. These results were reported at the 2000 annual meeting of the SLTBR, and can be found in the published abstracts, Vol. 12, of the society.