Red light therapy involves using red light of lower wavelength in treating various skin conditions such as persistent wounds, scars, and wrinkles. As one gets older, it becomes challenging to differentiate multiple colors. You will experience difficulty reading in dimly-lit environments. Studies reveal that frequent exposure to the light is vital in improving eyesight. It is possible via adenosine triphosphate and mitochondrial actions.
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Mitochondria and Photoreceptor Cells
Mitochondria is responsible for the generation of most chemical energy used in biochemical reactions within the body. Energy gets stored as ATP and later gets converted to adenosine diphosphate. Note that to be full of energy and keep healthy, cellular processes in your body require ATP. However, the aging process interferes with the production of ATP from the mitochondria.
Photoreceptor cells within the retina require high energy and several mitochondria. Besides, the aging of the retina is faster when compared to other organs. Studies indicate that over 70% of adenosine triphosphate gets utilized in the retina. The data translates to a remarkable decline in one’s eyesight. Deteriorating eyesight sets in when the photoreceptor cells cannot obtain the energy to function correctly.
Light absorbance traits for mitochondria are specific and regulate their performance. Longer wavelengths ranging from 650 nm to 1000 nm get absorbed to improve mitochondria’s energy production performance. Cones and rods comprise the retinal photoreceptor cells. Cones are responsible for color vision, while rods enhance peripheral eyesight and allow for seeing in poorly or dimly lit areas.
Does Red Light Improve Eyesight?
Studies indicate that staring at deep red lights for about three minutes every day can significantly improve eyesight. With the 70% ATP decline over life, photoreceptor function is interrupted considerably. Age-related conditions are the primary reasons for poor eyesight among the elderly. The mitochondria’s ability to absorb light at a longer wavelength makes it possible to improve a patient’s vision via photobiomodulation.
In determining whether exposure to a wavelength of 670 nm can improve vision among the aging human retina’s function, researchers carried out the study using 24 healthy participants. The participants’ ages varied from 28 to about 70 years. The subjects were in different groups where they underwent various tests to determine the color contrast sensitivity and rod threshold measurement.
In determining the color contrast sensitivity, the researchers determined the color contrast threshold across the blue visual and red visual axis pre-and post-exposure to 670 nm. For rod threshold testing, the participants dilated their pupils and adapted to dark for about 40 minutes. At baseline, participants above 40 years exhibited signs of declining vision.
From the study, participants whose ages ranged between 28 and 68 years recorded 14% improvement in eyesight upon exposure to 670 nm. Participants above 38 years of age exhibited 22% improvement. However, there wasn’t a change in Protan thresholds among the younger group after exposure to 670 nm.
The improvement realized in individuals older than 40 years is due to the red-light absorption by the retina. Mitochondria make it possible through the production of ATP. Red-light therapy heals the eyes, improving color differentiation among the elderly. The study confirmed that brief exposures to red light at 670 nm improve the aging human photoreceptors’ functions despite the differences in Tritan and Protan thresholds.
Although declining eyesight seems to be part of the normal aging process, individuals could loose their eyesight. Note that red-light alone cannot effectively correct eyesight among patients with macular degeneration and ocular conditions such as cataracts. It would be best if individuals above 40 years embrace a preventive mechanism.
Besides taking a healthy diet and protecting your eyes from sun rays, consider an annual eye examination. While outdoors, put on 100% Ultraviolet light-blocking sunglass. Healthy nutrition, on the other hand, consists of colorful or green leafy vegetables. They ensure the retina remains healthy even as one ages. It would be best if the aging population avoided excess processed foods and sugar because of their harmful effect.
Note that most eye conditions are asymptomatic in the early stages. Hence, regular or annual eye examination is needed to detect the prospective conditions early enough before exacerbating into chronic conditions.
Effect of Infrared light on eyesight
Although it is rare, infrared light may damage the yes depending on length of exposure, wavelength, and intensity. The human eye is opaque to infrared with longer wavelengths of about 1050 nm. The deepest red that the human eye may perceive is about 800 nm.
Even though red light wavelengths are proven to be safe for the human eye, when using red + NIR (near infrared) devices, it’s best to limit eye exposure to a maximum of 5 minutes and use protective sun glasses or eye wear after for longer exposure.
Note that wavelengths of light ranging from 800 to 1050 nm could reach the back of the eye. However, the human retina isn’t sensitive enough to such a wavelength span, so individuals may not realize it. With light in such a spectral band, the retina can burn without noticing till the damage occurs. Medical practitioners and patients who subject themselves to infrared light therapy for extended periods may experience the side effects such as cell and tissue damage.
Light-emitting diode 670 nm is an example of the devices used in the application of red-light therapy. Researchers liken the outcome of exposure to red-light to battery recharging because of the stimulation of mitochondria activity. Enhancing mitochondrial performance is critical in the metabolically demanding tissues. It is important to note that having these devices at home does not imply that you cannot have eye conditions detected earlier during ophthalmologists’ examination.
Eye Scars & Wound Healing
Red light is essential in accelerating wound healing. Wound healing is possible through the following methods:
- Angiogenesis stimulation helps to heal eyes. The growth of new blood vessels will improve the function of the retina.
- Increase in production of collagen on the skin.
- Increase of useful fibroblasts on the skin.
Besides reducing inflammation and managing acne, red light therapy is very useful and safe in improving eyesight. Benefits result from the rejuvenation of cells such as mitochondria upon exposure to the red light. In the management of acne, red-light therapy is effective in combination with blue-light treatment. The light penetrates deep into the tissues.
Regularly reach out to your ophthalmologist for an eye examination to maintain healthy vision and avoid risk factors that may impair your eyesight. They may recommend the use of red-light therapy at home.