Woman getting laser treatment while wearing protective glasses

Red Light Therapy and Eye Safety at Home

Red light therapy has emerged as a popular remedy for addressing various medical conditions due to its wide range of therapeutic advantages. It's often seen as a non-invasive, non-toxic, and gentler option compared to conventional skin treatments. 

However, to fully reap its benefits without risking harm to vital organs, it's essential to follow specific protocols, the most important one being the protection of your eyes from damaging radiation. 

While certain light wavelengths are known to remove eye fatigue and improve eyesight, the rule does not apply to all radiations. In fact, exposure to the wrong wavelength can lead to serious retinal conditions like glaucoma. To steer clear of such issues, it's important to understand the right kind of eye protection to utilize and the appropriate times to wear during the treatment process. 

The article explores the fascinating world of red light therapy and guides how to safely engage in this innovative approach at home without putting your eyes at risk.

Is Red Light Therapy Bad for Your Eyes?

Before we begin talking about the precautions involved, let's first answer the big question: Is red light therapy entirely bad for your eyes?

The answer to this varies depending on the type of wavelength emitted by the red light source. Research suggests that the optimal wavelength range for the eyes is between 620 to 700 nanometers, primarily within the red spectrum. This type of radiation stimulates the mitochondria and promotes the regeneration of cells in the retina and cornea. 

By doing so, it protects from mitochondrial dysfunction, which is a major cause of vision loss in many individuals. Apart from the restoration of vision, red light also helps treat conditions such as optic nerve injuries, amblyopia, dry eyes, and recovery from ocular implants. 

In contrast to this, exposure to blue, violet, or UV light (200 to 480 nm), as well as infra-red light over 1400 nm, has been proven to be quite hazardous for your retina and/or cornea and must be avoided at all costs. Direct contact or prolonged exposure to such wavelengths puts the user at risk of visual loss and impairments and may ultimately result in retinal damage, macular degeneration, or photosensitivity.

Do You Need Glasses for Red Light Therapy?

The decision to wear protective glasses during red light therapy is a crucial one to make. Wearing them at the wrong time can make you miss out on the multiple health benefits, while not wearing them when needed can increase the risk of severe eye diseases. 

For best results, it's advised to wear protective eyewear whenever using near-infrared radiation (NIR), especially when you're standing in the beam window of the light source. The beam window refers to the area directly ahead of the RLT device at the recommended treatment distance. 

These safety glasses prevent the NIR rays from passing directly through your eyes. In addition, these goggles get rid of light sensitivity problems for individuals with high sensitivity to deep red light. 

Whereas, eyewear is not mandatory if your eyes are not within the beam window or are outside the area that is being treated. Similarly, if any children or pets are present within the treatment distance, protective eyewear becomes a must for them.

While red light therapy using an LED panel, with an adequate distance in between, is generally safe to perform without glasses, make sure to consult your optometrist about this matter before going ahead.

How to Pick the Right Glasses for Red Light Therapy

With the ever-growing popularity of red light therapy, various brands have come up with innovatively designed protective gear for users. Here's a list of factors that can help you pick the right eye safety equipment to put on during the red light treatment:

1.    Gear Type

There are several alternatives available when it comes to eye-protective gadgets. The most popular choices include:

  • Glasses: These frames seem similar to the regular ones but feature special lenses that prevent red light from passing through. Eyeglasses are best suited to people with prescription glasses.
  • Goggles: RLT goggles are manufactured from lightweight, comfortable, and flexible materials that offer full coverage of the eye area. These goggles are the most in demand and offer maximum protection.
  • Eye Patches: These adhesive patches can block red light from entering your eyes but only offer limited coverage in contrast to the other two options.

2.    Specified Wavelength

Once you have decided on the type of eyewear, it's time to check whether it's safe and functional for use during red light treatment. Aim for an eyewear that successfully blocks out both red and near-infrared light since they make up the major portion of the beam.

3.    Comfort and Fit

A safe and comfortable fit is essential for longer durations of red light treatment. Make sure that the selected eyewear is easy to wear, covers the entire eye region, and sits securely on your face.

4.    Certification

Last but not least, always look for a product that is backed by safety standards. For this reason, we suggest browsing through renowned brands, such as Hooga, who guarantee that the products are up to par after rigorous testing and compliance with the ocular safety standards.

Other Preventative Measures During Red Light Therapy

Apart from investing in protective goggles, here are some other practices that can ensure optimal eye safety during red light therapy:

Appropriate Positioning

Always follow the guidelines on the light source's manual and position the device a safe distance away, with little to no direct exposure to the eye area. This becomes essential when the device emits high-intensity radiation, which can cause skin damage and burns if not handled cautiously.

Controlled Durations

Remember to time the duration of the RLT sessions for an effective and speedy treatment without the risk of overexposure. Start with shorter sessions before moving on to longer exposure periods.

Professional Consultation

It is important to seek a professional's advice before starting red light therapy, especially in cases where the individual is on medication or suffering from any underlying eye condition. An optometrist can help you decide if RLT is fitting for you and guide you on the best way to carry it out.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What type of eye protection should I use during red light therapy?

While regular sunglasses can protect your eyes from brightness, they are not safe to use during RLT. Instead, opt for specialized, FDA-approved glasses with dedicated lenses to filter out red and near-infrared radiation. Another alternative is blackout goggles, which offer protection against eye fatigue and damage.

Should I keep my eyes open or closed during red light therapy?

If you are using a low irradiance device or are a generous distance away from the device, then it is safe for you to keep your eyes open during the treatment. However, using protective goggles and shutting your eyes close is recommended. The eyelids are thin enough to let certain red light pass through them and avail their health benefits. 

How do I tell if my eyes have been overexposed to red or infrared light?

Overexposure can lead to several problems and must be avoided at all costs by wearing eye safety glasses. Some common symptoms of overexposure include irritation, discomfort, and strain in your eyes. 

What are the safest wavelengths of light for the eyes?

Lights with wavelengths between the red light and near-infrared, between 620 to 700 nm, are considered the safest for use. Meanwhile, direct contact with infrared with over 1400 nm and blue light can do more harm than good to your eyes.

What eye-related precautions should you take when using red light therapy devices at home?

Make sure to read the device's instruction manual thoroughly, follow its guidelines, use appropriate eye safety goggles, and ensure that the red light therapy device and gear are FDA-approved.


The immeasurable benefits of red light therapy for the skin, body, and mind can't be ignored. However, to truly avail the full advantages of this treatment without any harm or injuries, it is important to follow the advised safety protocols, including wearing protective eyewear equipment.

Eyes respond to the emitted light in a similar way to that of skin. Standing too close to the light source or for longer periods can lead to severe eye diseases, while standing too far away decreases the effectiveness of the treatment. 

Therefore, for treating non-eye regions, if you are using a high-power density light source or standing barely two feet away or less from the device, it is mandatory to wear certified safety goggles. Whereas, for greater distances and exposed intervals between five to twenty minutes per day, keeping your eyes closed should be more than enough. 

Make sure to consult an expert to time your sessions as per your condition and incorporate reliable protective eyewear, amongst other preventive measures, to achieve optimal health benefits from the red light therapy without any risks. 

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