BBC Calls on Expertise of The LIA for SAD Lamp Investigation


The LIA Laboratory has been showcasing its breadth of expertise as CEO Ayça Donaghy recently featured on the BBC’s Morning Live to discuss Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  

The call to The LIA Laboratory came as the BBC set out to investigate the effectiveness of SAD lamps; a common technology used to counter the effects of the disorder. Known for their technical prowess, The LIA Laboratory were selected to test the products, with Ayça taking to our screens to present the findings.  


With over two million people in the UK suffering with SAD, it is a vital topic to raise awareness of. SAD is a form of depression that occurs during the winter months when there is less daylight. SAD presents as persistent low mood, oversleeping and overeating, with fatigue affecting sufferers in their day-to-day activities. 

Medical professionals recommend a higher dose of vitamin D alongside trying to get more sunlight during the day to treat SAD. Another tool used to treat the condition is SAD lamps. These are designed to deliver a dose of light that can potentially deliver the same levels of light as being in sunlight.  

With a plethora of SAD lamps on the market, across very different price points from £10 up to £300, it is difficult for consumers to know where to start. This was the driving factor behind the BBC enlisting The LIA Laboratory’s expertise to test the lamps. 

Any lamp can be marketed as a SAD lamp, and there is no requirement for them to be registered as medical devices. The three lamps selected by the BBC team and scrutinised by The LIA Laboratory are not registered, so the testing on these lamps is likely to be limited in its scope. The lamps spanned three price ranges – low, middle and high.  

First, the lamps were tested for their UV output. Ayça revealed to viewers that all of the products were risk group zero, or exempt, which meant they could not cause any damage to the end-user.  

Next, The LIA Laboratory tested colour temperature. Ayça was able to confirm that all products were in 1% of their claims, meaning they are close to the natural sunlight levels they state they are. 

Finally, lux levels were tested. It is recommended that SAD lamps have a brightness level of 10,000 lux to mimic outdoor light. All three lamps passed this, however, The LIA Laboratory also tested how far users need to be from the lamp to benefit from the effects and receive the 10,000 lux.  

Ayça told viewers that it was actually the lowest price point product that performed best when it came to the lux levels. Users could sit as far away as 18cm from the product to get the 10,000 lux. From the middle of the range, it was 13cm and the highest price point product, it was 8cm.  

Overall, of the three products tested, Ayça concluded for viewers that it was the lowest price point product that performed best.  

Speaking of the experience, Ayça said: “We are honoured to have been approached by the BBC for testing, a testament to the excellence of our accredited laboratory and the expertise within the LIA Laboratory team. The positive collaboration has sparked a mutual desire to work together again so watch this space!” 

For consumers looking to buy a SAD lamp, Ayça has this advice: “Do your research, have a look at the instruction manual and what it says the correct distance to sit away from the lamp is to achieve the correct levels for the desired effect. If you want the extra reassurance, you can look for the ‘Class 2A Medical Device’ which means it has gone through third-party verification above and beyond what is required.” 

While the scientific evidence on the effectiveness of SAD lamps on treating the disorder remains limited at present, lots of users report strong success rates. The LIA Laboratory testing does conclude that price isn’t always the best indicator of effectiveness, which will no doubt be a useful message for those currently making a purchase. 

Watch the feature on BBC iPlayer from 9 minutes 50 seconds onwards –  

About the LIA: 

The Lighting Industry Association (LIA) is the largest trade association dedicated to lighting in Europe and is dedicated to serving the UK’s lighting industry and its supply chain. The LIA offers technical support, training, and advocacy to drive product innovation and improve the quality, safety, performance, and sustainability of the UK’s lighting market.