As humans age, we, unfortunately, begin to deteriorate, and one of the aspects of us that are affected is our vision. But what if we can slow this decline down?
According to a new study published in the Journals of Gerontology, researchers have found that staring at a deep red light for three minutes a day can significantly improve declining eyesight. Lead author, Professor Glen Jeffery (UCL Institute of Ophthalmology) explains that as humans age, our visual system begins to decline, and this is even more prevalent once a person is over 40.
“As you age your visual system declines significantly, particularly once over 40. Your retinal sensitivity and your color vision are both gradually undermined, and with an aging 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.” Researchers know that 40+-year-old humans are already experiencing aging in their retina’s, and this is partly due to the cell’s mitochondria, which produces energy called ATP.
Mitochondria density plays a big roll in the retina’s photoreceptor cells, and due to the photoreceptor cells high energy demand the retina ages faster than other organs. It’s estimated that over life the ATP will reduce by 70%, which then causes a large decline in the photoreceptor function.
Researchers took their already established findings in mice, bumblebees, and fruit flies, which indicated significant improvement in the retina’s photoreceptor when they were exposed to 670 nanometre of deep red light. They then applied to the same method to human eyes and found that while 670nm light had no impact in younger people, it did have a significant impact and garnered improvements in people who were 40 years and older. If you are interested in reading more, check out the study here.
Jeffery said the following: “Mitochondria have specific light absorbance characteristics influencing their performance: longer wavelengths spanning 650 to 1000nm are absorbed and improve mitochondrial performance to increase energy production.“
“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.“
“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. Our devices cost about £12 to make, so the technology is highly accessible to members of the public.“