Bipolar disorder is a serious disease that can make day-to-day life nearly impossible for those who suffer from it. It causes severe cycles of mania and depression that create an unbalanced personalty that constantly veers between extreme happiness and intense sadness. While it can be treated with medications and behavioral modification therapy, these techniques aren't perfect. However, dark therapy with contact lenses, a relatively new complementary treatment, may help make life easier for those with bipolar disorder.

What Is Dark Therapy?

Dark therapy focuses on treating bipolar disorder by blocking blue spectrum light. Light in this spectrum, which is common from computer and television screens, disrupts the body's natural circadian rhythm (the sleep cycle) and can lead to severe depression and anxiety. In fact, it can lead to even more severe cycling for bipolar patients, leading to shorter and shorter cycles between mania and depression.

In theory, this practice is similar to the way depression is treated by immersing patients in "light." But dark therapy, set forth by Dr. Jim Phelps, requires wearing amber-colored contact lenses to regulate the eye's intake of light. This helps regulate the body's creation of mood-altering chemicals.

Why Contact Lenses Instead Of Glasses?

For people that don't like wearing contact lenses, dark therapy eye glasses are available. However, contact lenses are the most popular dark therapy method because they more fully block blue spectrum light. To be as effective, dark therapy eye glasses would have to be shaped in an extreme manner that covered the entire eye.

While wearing these contact lenses, the patient's eyes receives the same amount of blue spectrum light that it would receive in total darkness. However, they would be able to see through their contact lenses just fine and live their life without any serious distraction.

Can Amber-Colored Contact Lenses Replace Medicines?

While dark therapy using colored contact lenses is generally accepted as complementary treatment for bipolar disorder, they cannot replace your core treatment. You simply can't put on a pair of contact lenses and then throw away your medication, discard your therapy, and ignore your lifestyle modifications. Those methods are still key to treating your disorder.

But, amber-colored contact lenses, along with other alternative treatments like meditation and acupuncture, may help alleviate some of your symptoms and make your life a little more balanced and happy. And that's really the most important thing for someone with bipolar disorder: stability. Even if dark therapy and amber-colored contact lenses can't treat bipolar disorder on their own, they are a risk-free way to help. Talk to an optometrist, like Robert A. Marini, OD, for more information about contact lenses.