A recent study shows that a simple task can save the eyesight of millions of individuals. The study published in The Journals of Gerontology. It shows that a regular practice of looking into red light can reduce the decline in eyesight with age.
This research can prove to be a breakthrough finding if supported by further studies. Millions of individuals can benefit from this therapy and perform it at home. If the US Food and Drug Administration approves the results of the study, it can help numerous people fight the aging of eyes.
The lead author of the study, Glen Jeffery is a neuroscience professor at the Institute of Ophthalmology at University College London. He said that the results of this study are accurate. Also, the effect of red light is in improving the mitochondrial health which is the powerhouse of the cell.
The mitochondria are involved in several diseases which include Parkinson’s disease and diabetes. This research can open the gateway to the treatment of these diseases involving mitochondria. It targets the battery of the cells in improving their functioning. Hence it can help further studies related to other diseases.
The research involved a small number of participants. It involved 12 men and 12 women who took part in the study to test the effect of red light. The participants were aged between 28 to 72 years old. Each individual had a red-light flash with a 670 nm wavelength. The light is invisible to the naked eye as it is at the end of the visible light spectrum. Hence, it is not harmful to the eyes. However, the light is used for a few minutes on daily basis.
The participants had a daily routine in which they looked into the flashlight every day for about three minutes. They can perform this routine easily everyday like a person brushes his teeth. Thus a person can incorporate this practice in the morning routine or at night.
The red light is effective on the rods and cones present inside the eye. Cons are responsible for the detection of color. These are photoreceptors present in the eye and do not work well in dim light. Although, the rods are present more abundantly in the eye, they do not need bright light to function properly. This light helps improve the functioning of rods and cones.
The ability of the participants to see colors distinctly improved by 14 percent. However, the researchers observed a significant improvement in the participants aged above 40. The sensitivity of these patients to distinguish between colors increased by 20 percent. Although a greater improvement occurred in older participants but the eyes of younger people were already healthy enough.
According to the suggestions of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older people have a higher risk of eye diseases. Adults aged above 40 have a greater risk to develop cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration related to age, and other eye defects.
The younger population suffers from these diseases but it the incidence of these disease is more common in older population. The new study suggests that there is no side effect of red light on the eye. The research is based on the evidence from tests on mice and fruit flies. Later they applied it on human participants.
The findings of the study show that red light improves the functioning of the mitochondria. This is a pilot study with a small number of participants. A study at a higher scale can confirm the positive effects of the red light on the health of the eyes. This shows that it can help maintain vision later in life.