Study: Declining Eyesight Improved with Red Light Treatments

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Today, many people struggle with declining eyesight. It's a vision problem that's caused by age but advances more rapidly through the use of computers and other digital devices. Several factors cause a decline in eyesight, including:

  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Inflammation of the optic nerve

A decline in eyesight includes focusing, dryness, itchiness of the eyes, increased sensitivity to light, eye pain, discharge from the eyes, and white pupil. These symptoms often become more prevalent around 40-50, which decreases the ability to perform close-up tasks such as reading. In other words, the older you get, the worse your eyesight becomes. 

Of course, treatment options are over-the-counter eye drops, glasses, and lifestyle change. However, red light therapy is taking groundbreaking steps forward to help prevent declining eyesight. If your first thought is, “Is light therapy safe for eyes?” The answer is yes – and we’ll tell you why. But first, let’s see how red light therapy affects your eyes. 

How does red light therapy affect your eyes?

You know about light therapy, but you probably didn’t suspect it could be used to treat declining eyesight. While red light therapy has provided outstanding benefits for acne, joint and muscle pain, sleep disorders, and headaches, it can also aid vision problems. 

The findings from a study in The Journals of Gerontology could provide a glimpse into the possibility of home-based eye treatment, which has the potential of helping millions of people around the world deal with declining eyesight.

The study found that brief exposure to deep red light—three minutes a day for two weeks—improved adult’s ability to read letters against similar colored backgrounds. 

Lead author Professor Glen Jeffrey from UCL Institute of Ophthalmology said, "As you age your visual system declines significantly, particularly once over 40. Your retinal sensitivity and your colour vision are both gradually undermined, and with an ageing population, this is an increasingly important issue. To try to stem or reverse this decline, we sought to reboot the retina's aging cells with short bursts of longwave light." 

The retina ages faster than other organs, with a 70% adenosine triphosphate (ATP) decrease over life as well as a decline in photoreceptor function. However, red light therapy benefits eyes as the light stimulates the mitochondria, which helps increase ATP production. 

Professor Jeffrey continues, “mitochondrial density is the greatest in photoreceptors and their decline can be linked to reductions in retinal function and the onset of age-related disease.” In other words, by stimulating the production of ATP in the cells, the retina is able to increase in function which then helps improve the performance of photoreceptors. 

The findings were completed on mice, bumblebees, and fruit flies, all showing significant improvements in the retina's photoreceptors function, specifically when their eyes were exposed to 670 nanometres (long wavelength) of deep red light. However, this time, they decided to attempt a human study. 

The small study included 24 people (12 male, 12 female), between 28 and 72, with no ocular disease history. They were all provided with a small LED torch to take home and were asked to look into the device with their dominant eye every morning for 3 minutes. 

The findings revealed that there was an improved function of the photoreceptor after exposure to the 670-nm deep red light. "The technology is simple and very safe, using a deep red light of a specific wavelength, that is absorbed by mitochondria in the retina that supply energy for cellular function,” said Glen Jeffery. 

This is a massive finding and can greatly benefit people who are looking for an alternative treatment to prevent vision loss. Kayian's red light therapy products are highly accessible for clinical or at-home use, allowing professionals to treat their patients and members of the public to provide themselves with the care they need. For more information on creating your own private label product, please contact our team.