3 minutes of deep red light once a week can improve eyesight – Tips & Results

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New research suggests that exposure to red light has benefits for a person’s vision. Luis Gustavo Lopez/EyeEm/Getty Images
  • A study has found that brief weekly exposure to red light can improve failing vision.
  • The light “turns on” mitochondria in the retina.
  • The knowledge has far-reaching consequences, because mitochondria are the energy source of the cells.

A study by researchers at University College London in the UK found that brief exposure to the right type of light can improve failing eyesight.

The study showed that 3-minute exposure to deep red light in the morning once a week can improve age-related vision decline for up to 1 week.

The researchers began their study with flies and mice before beginning work with the study’s human participants. lead author Prof. Glen Jeffery told Medical news today“It doesn’t matter what the animal is or to some extent what the cell is, the light will have an impact.”

The deep red light used by the researchers had a specific hue with a wavelength of 670 nanometers.

The study appears in the journal Scientific Reports.

Prof Jeffery said the vision improvement the study found results from the fact that “the lights we use affect the mitochondria”. He explained their importance:

“These are highly conserved sources of energy in cells – they are the cells’ batteries. The light increases the charge on the mitochondria, allowing them to increase their energy output that has declined with age or disease.”

The chemical source of this energy is Adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

Vision begins to decline after the age of 40 and is associated with a 70% reduction in ATP, meaning cells lack the energy to function properly.

According to Prof. Jeffery, the mitochondria in the eye in particular offer some unique research advantages:

“The great thing about the retina is that it has more mitochondria than any other organ because it uses so much energy. What’s more, you have easy optical access – you can shine light directly onto the mitochondria of the retina, which you can’t do with mitochondria in the liver or kidney. Add to that the fact that the retina ages faster than any other organ and you can test its function simply by asking people what they see and you have a perfect target for red light therapy.”

The small study cohort of women and men ranged in age from 34 to 70 years. Researchers measured improvements in participants’ vision by rating their color-contrast vision, or ability to distinguish between colors. All participants had normal color contrast vision at the start of the study.

Some subjects were exposed to deep red light for 3 minutes in the morning, others in the afternoon. The red light was about one camera stop brighter, or about twice as bright as the overall lighting in the test area.

Participants’ color contrast vision was tested 3 hours after red light exposure and again 1 week later.

The color contrast vision of participants exposed to red light in the morning improved by an average of 17%.

The researchers found that the application of light must be done in the morning to have an effect.

They found no improvement in color contrast vision in participants exposed to light in the afternoon.

One likely reason is that the mitochondria follow the body’s circadian rhythm, and as Prof. Jeffery said of them, “They’re probably busy doing other things in the afternoon.”

Another possibility has to do with the need for energy, which is only required for the early hours of the day. “Maybe it’s just about getting up in the morning and being ready to do things,” Prof Jeffery speculated. “This consumes energy that needs to be replaced. No matter what you do, [mitochondria] Do not respond for the rest of the day or night.”

The study also found that 3 minutes is the optimal duration for light exposure and that vision improvement lasts up to 1 week.

Three minutes is as effective as a 45 minute exposure, but use [it] for hours and it doesn’t work,” said Prof. Jeffery.

The impact of the study goes beyond improving vision, according to Prof. Jeffery:

“Mitochondria rule so many aspects of our lives, and we need a way to improve their health, especially as we age. The use of red light is now used in a large number of laboratories and also in clinical trials. It will likely give us a very simple and economical way to do it with broad applicability.”

As an example, he noticed this red light was shown to be neuroprotective in a monkey model of Parkinson’s disease.

“To give broader context,” said Prof. Jeffery, “so are we Working on bees, because some of the most important insecticides, the neonicotinoids, damage mitochondria and kill bees. We used almost identical technologies to protect them.”

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