"Red Light Therapy Could Improve Age-Related Vision Decline"

Dec 21, 2021
Red light therapy

Red Light Therapy Could Improve Age-Related Vision Decline

It almost sounds too good to be true, but simple exposure to near-infrared light appears to improve color vision in those with declining eyesight due to age. 

A decline in vision occurs naturally as we grow older, but the process can be accelerated in those with macular degeneration or other retinal issues. During a pioneering new study, clinical scientists at University College London discovered that deep red light improved participants’ color contrast vision. 

How it Works

Mitochondria are the powerhouses inside our cells. They create a molecular fuel called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and perform other functions that are specific to the cell type. 

The retina’s photoreceptor cells have the highest mitochondrial density of any cell in the human body. These cells have huge energy demands, but ATP output decreases with age. This decline begins around the age of 40, with up to a 70 percent reduction of ATP occurring over a person’s lifetime. This energy deficit prevents retinal cells from performing at their normal level, and vision quality declines.

Deep red light exposure recharges the retina cell energy system, similar to how plugging in your cell phone recharges its battery. When these cells get recharged, they function better and vision is improved.  Click here to read more about UCL’s study.

How much red light exposure is necessary?

Test participants were asked to stare at a weak deep red light for three minutes a day, then took a color contrast vision test. Their test scores improved 12 to 17 percent after the red light treatment.

Daily therapy may not be necessary, however, as evidence shows that just one red light treatment can improve vision for a full week. But the effects are only seen when the light treatment is administered between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. This is because mitochondria follow the body’s circadian rhythms and are most active in the morning hours.

Who can benefit from red light therapy?

People suffering from age-related reduced vision are good candidates for red light therapy. Scientists are hopeful that their findings will soon lead to affordable, at-home eye therapies that will improve the vision of older people around the globe.

Are you or a loved one dealing with an age-related eyesight decline? Our welcoming and professional eye care experts can help you achieve your best vision at every stage of life. Please text or call (423) 855-8522 to make an appointment and click here to read about our current Covid safety protocols. We look forward to seeing you soon!