Reactions to Bright Lights & Noise
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Q:  Reactions to Bright Lights & Noise

My girlfriend has been on different medications for bipolar for the last 18months. She's been on a new medication for a few months now which seems to be stabilizing her. But for the last 6 months or so she's been having bad reactions to bright lights and noise which hasn't changed with the new medication. Although the mood swings are better with new medication she still having trouble with bright lights. Cant drive of a nite or go into brightly lit rooms etc. She's had MRI scans etc but now they are looking into epilepsy. Would like to know what u think or would  appreciate your advice.
Thank you

Dear Mr. S.-

That is interesting. I am very interested in the relationship between light and darkness and bipolar control. I wonder if perhaps reaction to the light might have been there before the new medication but not so obvious in the face of poor mood control. Otherwise, we would have to worry that the new medication itself was responsible for this. However, if we laid it to the bipolar disorder itself, that might make some sense. I wrote a lengthy essay about the relationship between
light and darkness and bipolar treatment that you might find of interest in this respect.

As you will see in that essay, there is reason to think that blocking blue light in particular might be protective of a person's "need for darkness", and that this can be done with a pair of safety glasses designed to block that particular wavelength (website from which one can purchase them linked from my essay).

I even heard recently from a doctor with migraines that there has been some experimentation with using blue-blocker contact lenses to prevent migraines. However, there is apparently some evidence that this approach might interfere with seeing well at night (

I hope something in there is of some use to you.

Dr. Phelps


Published April, 2007

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