There is little data to prove dark sunglasses increase risk of depression:
Here is a case report but it is not in the greatest of journals.
Likely moderation of sun exposure help in depressed patients assuming they do not have a high macular degeneration risk.
#2. Is interesting but only one of its kind that I could find.
1. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2006 Sep;114(3):216-8; discussion 218-9.
Bright light therapy for seasonal affective disorder in Israel (latitude 32.6 degrees N): a single case placebo-controlled study.
We describe a patient diagnosed as having seasonal affective disorder (SAD, winter depression), an unlikely condition in Israel (latitude 32.6 degrees N), a country with relatively minor daylight photoperiodic changes between seasons.
A 46-year-old woman with a clinical picture of depression (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders diagnostic criteria for ‘major depression with seasonal pattern’) reacted positively to 3 weeks of daily bright light therapy of 10,000 lux/wide spectrum. She was asked to wear dark sunglasses during placebo sessions to accommodate an A-B-C single-case-design. The intervention resulted in an improvement of 74-80% in the Hamilton anxiety and depression scales (clinician-rated) and the Beck depression inventory, similar to results obtained in high latitude regions. The depression and anxiety levels returned close to baseline levels following 1 week of the placebo intervention.
Seasonal affective disorder is apparently not limited to certain latitudes. The effect of light therapy was short-lived after discontinuation of the treatment, with rapid relapse occurring in the placebo phase.
J Clin Sleep Med. 2013 Jul 15;9(7):641-6. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.2824.
The effectiveness of light/dark exposure to treat insomnia in female nurses undertaking shift work during the evening/night shift.
The present study investigated whether bright light exposure during the first half of the evening/night shift combined with light attenuation in the morning is effective in improving sleep problems in nurses undertaking rotating shift work who suffer from clinical insomnia.
This was a prospective, randomized control study. The Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) and the Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale (HADS) were used to evaluate insomnia and anxiety/depression severity, respectively. Female hospital nurses on rotating shifts during the evening or night shift with an ISI score > 14 were enrolled. Subjects in the treatment group (n = 46) were exposed to bright light at 7,000-10,000 lux for ≥ 30 minutes. Exposure was continued for at least 10 days during 2 weeks, and the subjects avoided daytime outdoor sun exposure after work by wearing darksunglasses. Subjects in the control group (n = 46) were not exposed to bright light, but also wore sunglasses after work. Statistical analyses were performed to examine group differences and differences across treatments.
After treatment, the treatment group showed significant improvements in the ISI score and the HADS total and subscale scores as compared with pre-treatment. The ISI, HADS, and subscales of the HADS scores were significantly improved across treatments in the treatment group as compared with the control group.
The design of this study is easy to put into practice in the real world. This is the first study to document that a higher intensity and briefer duration of bright light exposure during the first half of the evening/night shift with a daytime darkness procedure performed in rotating shift work female nurses suffering from clinical insomnia could improve their insomnia, anxiety, and depression severity.
Full article below:
This paper seems to indicate St. John’s wort users may be at an increased risk of photo damage to their lens.
Free Radic Biol Med. 2013 Jul;60:347-54. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2013.02.023. Epub 2013 Feb 27.
Hypericin-mediated photooxidative damage of α-crystallin in human lens epithelial cells.
St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), a perennial herb native to Europe, is widely used for and seems to be effective in treatment of mild to moderate depression. Hypericin, a singlet oxygen-generating photosensitizer that absorbs in both the visible and the UVA range, is considered to be one of the bioactive ingredients of St. John’s wort, and commercial preparations are frequently calibrated to contain a standard concentration. Hypericin can accumulate in ocular tissues, including lenses, and can bind in vitro to α-crystallin, a major lens protein. α-crystallin is required for lens transparency and also acts as a chaperone to ensure its own integrity and the integrity of all lens proteins. Because there is no crystallin turnover, damage to α-crystallin is cumulative over the lifetime of the lens and can lead to cataracts, the principal cause of blindness worldwide. In this work we study hypericin photosensitization of α-crystallin and detect extensive polymerization of bovine α-crystallin exposed in vitro to hypericin and UVA. We use fluorescence confocal microscopy to visualize binding between hypericin and α-crystallin in a human lens epithelial (HLE) cell line. Further, we show that UVA irradiation of hypericin-treated HLE cells results in a dramatic decrease in α-crystallin detection concurrent with a dramatic accumulation of the tryptophan oxidation product N-formylkynurenine (NFK). Examination of actin in HLE cells indicates that this cytoskeleton protein accumulates NFK resulting from hypericin-mediated photosensitization. This work also shows that filtration of wavelengths <400nm provides incomplete protection against α-crystallin modification and NFK accumulation, suggesting that even by wearing UV-blocking sunglasses, routine users of St. John’s wort cannot adequately shield their lenses from hypericin-mediated photosensitized damage.