We’ve tried out the AYO light therapy glasses and put them through rigorous scientific testing, and in this review, we’ll share with you everything we’ve found, and what our thoughts are on this device!
The aim of light therapy products is to align your circadian rhythm and alleviate the symptoms of insomnia, depression, and seasonal affective disorder.
The AYO Glasses
The AYO glasses are a fantastic, lightweight, easy-to-use circadian tool that stems from a successful 2015 Indiegogo campaign in which Novalogy LTD raised $370,000 to start their project!
The AYO available today has come a long way since then, so let’s unbox them and see what’s inside!
The hard carrying case that comes with these is a nice touch since one of the main use cases for light therapy glasses is jet lag optimization during travel.
It also comes with a soft pouch and a USB-C charging cable, which I’m very happy about.
- Weight: 32g
- Warranty (world): 1 year
- Warranty (EU): 2 years
- LED Color: Turquoise Blue
- Session time: 20 minutes
- Battery life: 9.5 sessions
- Charge time: 90 minutes
- Guarantee: 60 Days
Here’s our video review if that’s more of your style!
Let’s talk about what it’s like to use the AYO glasses.
Using the AYO Glasses
Picking these up for the first time, I was amazed at how light they were!
Weighing in at just 32g, they’re only slightly heavier than a normal pair of glasses.
I have a pair of blue blocking glasses that weigh 28g, so I was pretty astounded at how light they were able to make these.
On top of that, the batteries and other components are stored in the rear of the glasses, which helps keep weight off the nose section, further improving comfort.
There’s a silicon nose piece that can be adjusted to fit your nose and move the glasses either farther away or closer to your eyes.
Ideally, you want to fit these so that they’re just above your eyes, this way you can maximize the light hitting your eyes while keeping your view unobstructed.
There’s a quick start guide in the box that illustrates this perfectly:
I found the fit to be just about perfect. I whipped my head around as hard as I could and they didn’t budge, so I’m pretty comfortable saying you could run and exercise in these, worry-free.
Using these glasses really could not be any easier, you just open them up and they’ll automatically turn on! No need to fiddle around with an app or anything like that.
There’s also this nice subtle warm-up period that makes it a bit more pleasant to use than if the lights just went straight to 100% right away.
Now, there is only one brightness setting with the AYO. After having used it for a while, I’m completely fine with this.
The light output is well-calibrated and effective as you’ll soon see…
How Effective is the AYO?
The AYO utilizes 4 LEDs, two above each eye, whose light is bounced off a cleverly designed frosted visor.
This gives the light a nice dispersion pattern on the eyes, without being too glaring.
Testing the AYO
To determine the effectiveness of the AYO LEDs, we outfitted a mannequin head with a lab-grade spectrometer!
Henry gives us the ability to take lab-grade measurements at eye level!
Well, I think it’s cool anyway.
So we took a bunch of readings and here’s what we found:
The light emitted from AYO’s LEDs is a narrowband turquoise blue, peaking at around 463 nm.
AYO has an advantage over some other light therapy glasses because of the LEDs they’ve chosen.
It turns out that 463 nm is right about smack dab in the middle of the melanopic bell curve.
This was no accident! AYO’s developers chose these LEDs specifically for their efficiency in activating the melanopically sensitive cells in the eye.
This is probably why many people seem to find the light from this device more pleasant than devices like the Luminette 3 which uses a white light.
The AYO simply doesn’t have to be as bright to have a similar circadian impact.
We used the data we gathered from Henry and ran it through the LHRC’s circadian stimulus calculator to find out what kind of effect this light can have.
Here’s what we got:
- Brightness: 36-95 lux
- Power Output: 56-148 µW/cm2
- Circadian Light: 528-1430 CLA
- Circadian Stimulus (30 min): 0.425-0.576
- Melanopic EDI: 326-862
This varies depending on facial structure and placement on the nose, but these readings should apply to most.
According to the Circadian Stimulus standard, a CS score of >0.3 should be met during morning and daytime hours.
While the CS calculator doesn’t allow us to see the CS of a 20-minute session with AYO. We can see that a 30-minute session gives us a CS of 0.425 to 0.576, which is quite a bit higher than 0.3, so we can infer that 20 minutes is sufficient to hit this limit.
The melanopic-EDI metric adopted by the WELL standard, requires 250 lux m-EDI is recommended for humans during the day, and the AYO exceeds this by quite a bit!
All in all, the AYO glasses easily exceed all current circadian standards.
Using the AYO with Glasses
The AYO will be less effective with glasses on, no doubt about that.
Many glasses today block some amount of blue light, and the AYO LEDs will be further from your eyes due to
To give you an idea of how glasses can impact the effectiveness of the AYO, here are a couple of side shots of Henry with and without glasses.
Fret not! The AYO is still effective at this range, but it’s a gradient. It will certainly be more effective without the glasses.
Circadian Data with Glasses
- Brightness: 27 lux
- Power Output: 44 µW/cm2
- Circadian Light: 416 CLA
- Circadian Stimulus (30 min): 0.380
- Melanopic EDI: 259
As you can see, the CS score is getting a bit low with glasses on.
If you’re looking to shift your melatonin onset to earlier in the evening, have trouble falling asleep, or are battling jetlag, you may want to consider keeping the glasses off until you’re done using the AYO.
The AYO Circadian App
The original AYO glasses used Bluetooth to connect with their phone app, where the user then had to select from options to use the headband.
AYO just recently released their new app, which is still being updated as we speak.
The idea is to provide the user with notifications and guidance to optimize their circadian rhythm based on sleep and activity data.
Things like food, light, coffee, exercise, and sleep recommendations will be offered.
They’re currently working on Apple Health and Google Fit integration which I’ve been told should be ready by Q2 2023.
This will allow them to recommend certain habits and AYO usage based on your sleep and activity data.
So right now the app is fairly basic, but they’ve laid the foundation for a nice application that is still being actively worked on, so I look forward to seeing what they come up with in the future.
So far, AYO has completed 2 clinical trials and is currently working on 10 others!
I was able to locate the two trials that have used the AYO, so let’s go over those for those of you who like this kind of stuff.
The first study involved 42 submarine personnel who were either assigned to a control group or a group who received 40 minutes of AYO light in the morning as well as two hours of blue-blocking glasses at night.
Just about everyone who used the glasses saw a significant improvement in energy and wakefulness. While most of the complaints centered around difficulty seeing in dimly lit environments.
I can attest to this! If you’re in a very dimly lit environment, the AYO is certainly bright enough to make it difficult to make out your surroundings.
The second study involved 30 undergraduate students who were split up into two groups, one used the AYO for 30 minutes every morning for 3 weeks, and the other was a dim light control group.
Sleep problems and sleep quality were both significantly better in the AYO group.
Overall I think the AYO is a great little device!
It’s amazingly lightweight and comfortable, doesn’t budge during morning workouts, and the light output is effective without being too glaring.
Both Malissa and I have been using them every morning before work, and we’ve had no complaints!
During testing, I even wore them for a whole hour (3 total sessions) and still didn’t experience any discomfort, which surprised me!
If you’re looking for a pair of light therapy glasses for jetlag optimization, insomnia, seasonal affective disorder, or just sleep optimization in general. The AYO is a great option!
AYO Light Therapy Glasses
Now check out our guide on 19 Ways to Align Your Circadian Rhythm for more tips on how to get better sleep!