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What is the best light therapy for jaundice?

Jaundice is a common condition that affects many newborns in their first week of life. That yellowish hue on your little one’s skin can be disconcerting for new parents. But don’t worry – in most cases, neonatal jaundice is harmless and temporary. With some simple light therapy at home, you can help your baby overcome jaundice quickly and comfortably. In this article, we’ll shed light on everything you need to know about jaundice and how light therapy can help.

light therapy jaundice

Source: The picture comes from the Internet

what is jaundice?

Jaundice is a condition in which the skin, sclera (whites of the eyes), and mucous membranes turn yellow due to an excessive buildup of bilirubin. Bilirubin is a yellow-orange bile pigment that is produced when old or damaged red blood cells are broken down. Normally, the liver helps remove bilirubin from the bloodstream and excrete it into the intestines as bile. However, in jaundice, the liver is unable to properly process and remove bilirubin, leading to its accumulation in the blood and tissues.

Some key facts about neonatal jaundice:

– Affects over 60% of term babies and 80% of preterm babies
– Usually appears 2-4 days after birth
– Common causes include blood type incompatibility, bruising during birth, liver immaturity
– Most cases are mild and resolve within 1-2 weeks without treatment
– Severe cases can lead to brain damage if bilirubin levels get too high

Diagnosing Jaundice with a Bilirubin Test:

To check for jaundice, your pediatrician will first do a visual inspection of your baby’s skin. If they suspect jaundice, a blood test will be ordered to measure the bilirubin level.

A bilirubin level between 5-15 mg/dL is considered normal in newborns. Mild jaundice is 15-20 mg/dL, moderate is 20-25 mg/dL, and severe is over 25 mg/dL. The higher the level, the more intensive the treatment needed to prevent lasting effects of jaundice.

what is jaundice?

Source: The picture comes from the Internet

When to Use Light Therapy for Jaundice?

For mild jaundice under 15 mg/dL, no treatment is required beyond monitoring. Moderate jaundice between 15-20 mg/dL may warrant light therapy if it persists more than 2 weeks or is worsening.

For bilirubin levels over 20 mg/dL, light therapy is strongly recommended. The higher the level, the more urgent it is to start treatment right away to prevent severe jaundice complications.

Without light therapy, very high bilirubin can cross the blood-brain barrier and cause kernicterus – permanent brain damage. Starting light therapy when bilirubin reaches toxic levels can prevent the irreversible effects of kernicterus.

What is the best light therapy for jaundice?

Light therapy, also known as Phototherapy, is the most common and effective treatment for reducing bilirubin levels in jaundiced newborns. It involves exposing the baby’s skin to special blue-green light waves that help convert bilirubin into forms that can be excreted from the body more easily. The best light therapy for jaundice uses blue light at a wavelength of around 460 to 490 nm.

How does Light Therapy treat Jaundice?

Here is a brief overview of how light therapy works to reduce bilirubin levels:

  • Blue-green light is absorbed by the bilirubin circulating in the baby’s skin capillaries, leading to a photochemical reaction.
  • The absorbed light energy causes the bilirubin molecule to isomerize from its insoluble native form to more water-soluble configurational isomers called lumirubin and photoisomers.
  • These isomerized forms of bilirubin can be readily excreted in urine and bile by the kidneys and liver.
  • This decreases the overall bilirubin load in the body through enhanced elimination.
  • Consequently, the bilirubin levels drop in the blood and tissues, reversing the visible jaundice.
  • Light therapy is most effective if done soon after birth before higher bilirubin levels accumulate. Starting treatment early can decrease the need for exchange transfusions.
  • The blue-green spectrum is used because those wavelengths are most strongly absorbed by bilirubin, making the photochemical reaction more efficient.

So in summary, light therapy works by utilizing light energy to convert hydrophobic unconjugated bilirubin into more hydrophilic isomers that are eliminated from the body faster, thereby reducing jaundice. Light therapy has been proven safe and effective for over 50 years. Risks are minimal compared to other jaundice treatments.

Research Proves Light Therapy for Jaundice

These strong evidences support its safety and efficacy in the treatment of jaundice. A 2021 study published in the journal Pediatr Res found that blue LED light centered at 478 nm had a greater bilirubin-lowering effect than blue LED light centered at 459 nm[1]. Another Danish clinical trial in 2021 found that phototherapy was effective in reducing bilirubin levels.[2]

Precautions for Light Therapy in the Treatment of Jaundice

Source: The picture comes from the Internet

Precautions for Light Therapy in the Treatment of Jaundice

While phototherapy is very safe, a few precautions should be taken to minimize potential side effects:

  • Baby’s eyes should be protected with fitted eye masks or patches to prevent retinal damage from light exposure. Eyes should be routinely checked.
  • Increased fluid intake to prevent dehydration which may be caused due to increased insensible water loss under light.
  • Frequent feeding and diaper changes to replace fluids and electrolytes lost from loose stools.
  • Periodic stopping treatment to inspect skin for rashes and assess hydration status.
  • Use fiberoptic pads judiciously over bony prominences to avoid skin burns. Check skin under pads.
  • Monitor body temperature for hyperthermia or hypothermia and adjust ambient temperature accordingly.
  • Breastfeeding should continue during treatment. Supplements like formula or IV fluids may be given if required.
  • Turn baby frequently for even exposure. Check proper eye shielding and positioning.
  • Use only the prescribed light dose. Higher irradiance or longer durations not necessarily better.
  • Bilirubin levels should be monitored to guide adequate but not excessive treatment.
  • Phototherapy should be provided under the guidance and supervision of a pediatrician or neonatal specialist.

By following these simple precautions, the risk of side effects is minimal compared to the benefits of rapidly eliminating neonatal jaundice.


While jaundice can be unnerving for new parents, RedDot LED offers an effective solution. RedDot LED home light therapy gently lowers bilirubin while keeping your baby comfortable and close.



[1]Finn Ebbesen, Maria Rodrigo-Domingo, Anne M Moeller, et al. Effect of blue LED phototherapy centered at 478 nm versus 459 nm in hyperbilirubinemic neonates: a randomized study. Pediatr Res. 2021 Feb;89(3):598-603.

[2]Finn Ebbesen, Pernille K Vandborg, Mette L Donneborg. The effectiveness of phototherapy using blue-green light for neonatal hyperbilirubinemia – Danish clinical trials. Semin Perinatol. 2021 Feb;45(1):151358.

Published by reddotled.com (Repost Tips)