Red light to prevent vision loss
According to the researchers, a few minutes of exposure to red light would help prevent age-related loss of vision.
Is red light the new weapon of the future to protect our eyes? In any case, this is what a study published in The Journals of Gerontology suggests. In fact, scientists say this would provide a new layer of protection against the classic aging process. And the results would be fast. "You don't have to use it for long to start getting a solid result," says lead author Glen Jeffery, a professor of neuroscience at the Institute of Ophthalmology at University College London, cited by CNN.
If this new type of therapy were approved by the Food and Drug Administration, it would make this method accessible to as many people as possible. In detail, this exposure to red light would have the benefit of stimulating the health of the mitochondria that function as batteries for the cells of the human body.
Improvement in people over 40
So far, this is an initial pilot study of just 24 people, twelve men and twelve women. Each participant received a small flashlight that emitted red light with a wavelength of 670 nanometers. They all looked at the light for three minutes every day for two weeks. To see the results, the researchers measured the sensitivity of each participant's eyes by asking them to detect light signals in the dark and to distinguish low-contrast colored letters. In this study, participants reported no adverse effects.
According to the researchers, there was a 14% improvement in the ability to see colors, or the sensitivity of the color contrast of the cones, for all participants. The improvement was most significant in study participants older than 40 years. At these ages, the color contrast sensitivity of the cones increased by 20% during the study. These results should be confirmed in future studies with more participants and a control group. This age group also experienced a significant increase in the stem threshold, corresponding to the ability to see in low light. "The retina ages faster than any other organ in your body. From an evolutionary point of view, we basically never live after 40 years," says Glen Jeffery. Today, age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of visual impairment in people over 50 in developed countries.
The power of mitochondria.
Researchers from University College London used small red lights to stimulate retinal mitochondria to stop vision loss. This new human study is based on results from flies and mice, which also showed that red light can improve the functioning of mitochondria. As CNN recalls, other studies have shown the effectiveness of red light in the past. One study confirmed its usefulness for improving fly mobility, and another showed that it could improve retinal function by 25% in mice.
Mitochondria are involved in a wide range of diseases (Parkinson's disease and diabetes). "Every disease could have a mitochondrial angle. In diabetes, for example, your mitochondria are very upset," says Glen Jeffery. Before concluding: "We will all suffer from aging. So let's go slow, if possible."