Progress and Prospects in Parkinson's Research/Magazine Section/The Blue Light Mystery.
Strictly speaking this article has no right to be in this wiki, since the material presented is anecdotal and conjectural rather than founded on scientific observation. It is, however, sufficiently persuasive as not to be dismissed out of hand and may yet inspire serious scientific evaluation.
Blue Tinted Glasses may help to offset movement disorders.
In 1995 Tom Reiss made a posting to an on-line discussion group called the Parkinson's Information Exchange Network On-line. (PIENO). He suggested that there was evidence that stimulating the optic nerves with dark blue light activated neural pathways which helped some Pwp overcome their movement disorders.
This unleashed a rash of postings of anecdotal evidence, which has rumbled around ever since without resolution.
On 9.1.1995 H. M. Laswi wrote:-
I purchased a pair of Blue Glasses for my father who is a PD patient. The first reaction that my father had when he wore these glasses was better ability to open his eyes. He usually had a hard time opening his eyes during an OFF state. This relaxed his eye lids thus allowing him to open up his eyes. The shades slightly reduced the stiffness of his muscles. Try them, they do work.
An undated posting by Rita Weeks says:-
I am 50 year old woman with PD. My greatest problem with my PD used to occur when trying to walk (or breathe) in bright afternoon sunlight. I tried the blue filters and now have a pair of my prescription glasses tinted blue. I have dramatic improvement in my movement while wearing blue glasses. I have a dramatic reduction in my rigidity, and fine motor skills when wearing the blue glasses. Do not know what is causing the change in movement. I have discussed this with several neurologists as of yet we have no answers. Try dark blue.
On 10.1.1995 Jeffrey Romanyshyn wrote:-
I had the fortunate experience of trying a pair of blue glasses several months ago. My father was an observer and he was amazed at how much better I walked, without any dyskinesia or twitching. I am 27.
A further posting by Rita Weeks on 12.1.1995 described how she went about her experiments:-
I tried cellophane, first using report covers then overhead projector transparencies. If you wear glasses anyway, just cut a piece to fit behind your glasses to see if you have any improvement in movement.
I next moved on to Bright Blue camera filters.....looking for something more durable than cellophane.....again plopping these behind my regular prescription glasses.
My next stop was to buy "blue glasses" from a street vendor in Amsterdam (by the way, he was wearing purple glasses at the time!). My daughter (the juvenile probation officer) tells me that these blue glasses are the ones regularly worn by cocaine users.....check with your local drug supplier for accessory purchases I guess!! Finally, I went to the optician and got a dark blue tint on my prescription lens.
My one complaint is that my bright blue lens produce better improvement in movement than the prescription tint......which is a cosmetically better colour....less colour distortion in real life..........a dark sunglasses tint.
If I had 90% improvement with the bright blue lens/cellophane/camera filters then I am probably at a 70-75% improvement with the standard tint.
I do not suffer from dyskinesia. My problem is more lack of movement or impaired movement. I have exactly the same response to the blue glasses whether I am on or off on my mediations. Some mornings when I could not raise my arms to begin to dress myself, my husband will slip on my blue glasses and I am off and moving for the day in an instant. Take off the glasses and I am back to an immobile mannequin.
On 1.2.1885 Robert A Martone wrote:-
My wife Nancy went to her optometrist last week and had a pair of glasses tinted blue. This was done after experimenting with a felt tipped blue marker pen on a pair of her older glasses. The experiment did seem to provide relief from the drug induced dyskenisia that she suffers from taking Sinemet for 14 years.
The optometrist tinted a pair of Nancy’s glasses so the peripheral vision received a darker blue than the central vision but cosmetically the tinting looks uniform and quite normal.
After three days of use it is clear that these glasses are generating measurable benefits. The dyskenetic lateral movement of her head and the twisting of her upper torso has been reduced in frequency and in magnitude. Head movement while eating has been a major source of frustration as well as embarrassment. This movement often would span 6 inches to 12 inches and with a frequency of approximately one per second.
During the three nights we have had dinner together those movements have been reduced to maybe three inches and to 1 per five second interval. Tonight at dinner there was no dyskenisia at all. This was after wearing the blue glasses virtually all day outside on a bright and sunny 65 degree Fahrenheit day.
After a time the postings petered out. A school of Optometry in New York City on 42nd street was said to be prescribing blue glasses for PwP, and The Parkinson’s Institute at Sunnyvale, California was appealing for funds to enable it to research the subject scientifically.
This was all over 15 years ago. The topic has been resurrected by the posting to Youtube of a video showing a PD patient experimenting with blue light. The man sits in a room and is plainly suffering from extreme dyskinesia, bradykinesia and tremor. He lurches across the room to a floor marker and back to the seat with limbs and upper torso flailing wildly about. Then with the greatest difficulty he manages to put on a pair of blue-tinted spectacles. Immediately his movements calm down and he is able to repeat the walk with some semblance of a normal gait.
He then removes the glasses and the disorders return. He is handed a sheet of blue tinted plastic and when he succeeds with difficulty in getting it in front of his eyes his movements calm down again. A nurse then takes the sheet from him and walks backwards. There is a direct correlation between the distance and the degree of movement disorder exhibited.
At the moment the only active interest in this topic seems to be in the United States but you can check out the video for yourself at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrcO2oRv75I and read more on this topic at http://www.neurotalk.org/parkinson-s-disease/175580-blue-tinted-glasses.html
Comment[edit | edit source]
The proposition that simply looking at something could have a marked beneficial effect on a complex movement disorder might at first seem far fetched. However the topic page on Melatonin outlines a neurological pathway from the retinas to the basal ganglia and the topic page on Light Therapy gives further insight into its practicalities.