Just stare at the red light – scientists found a new way to reduce age-related eyesight decline – Innovita Research

Just stare at the red light – scientists found a new way to reduce age-related eyesight decline

Aging is no fun. Your entire body is getting worn out and it might pose certain health risks. One of the worst parts of aging is declining vision. Once you hit 40, your colour sensing ability and general sharpness of your eyes starts declining rapidly. But scientists from UCL say that there is one way to combat that and you can do it at home.

Looking at a red light for 3 minutes can at least slow down the eyesight deterioration. Image credit: Simon Whitehead via Simon WhiteheadWikimedia(CC BY 2.0)

Your retinal sensitivity declines with age. And that’s just natural. In nature younger people would be hunting and, possibly, going to war, which is where ney need eagle-eyed vision. As you age, your vision is just losing its sharpness. One of the reasons is mitochondria in retina cells begin to decline. Glasses help, but it is still a painful process. As population ages, particularly in the West, more and more people are going to encounter vision problems. But scientists from UCL thought that short bursts of longwave light can help rebooting the retina’s ageing cells.

This might sound like a crazy idea, but mitochondria have specific light absorbance characteristics – 650-1000 nm lightwaves are absorbed and improve energy production properties. Scientists invited 12 men and 12 women, aged between 28 and 72, to participate in this study. Their vision and the sensitivity of their rods and cones were measured at the beginning of the study. Then they were asked to look into 670 nm light beam for three minutes every day for two weeks. After that scientists found that this simple home-based procedure brought significant improvements in people over 40 years of age. Cone colour contrast sensitivity improved by up to 20% and rod sensitivity was better too.

Professor Glen Jeffery, lead author of the study, said: “Our study shows that it is possible to significantly improve vision that has declined in aged individuals using simple brief exposures to light wavelengths that recharge the energy system that has declined in the retina cells, rather like re-charging a battery”

Scientists say that this technique is not just simple – it is also very safe. These red light LEDs are unbelievably cheap to make and can be distributed fairly easily. However, you shouldn’t think that you can look at any light for a long period of time. Other properties are important as well and more studies will be needed to verify these results and to ensure that this little remedy can be safe across the table.

By the way, it is interesting how they did it. That LED torch is a very simple device. You just place your eye over it one at a time. And the eyelid can be kept shut for comfort as it does not actually filter red light and cannot reduce the effectiveness of the procedure.

This is actually an interesting way to at least slow down the age-related vision loss. It is simple, cheap and painless. It just seems a bit odd. Do you think older people would agree to stare at a red light 3 minutes every day?


Source: UCL