Morning exposure to deep red light can improve declining eyesight

Our eyesight naturally declines as we age, but a new study from University College London has found that exposing our retinas to short bursts of deep red light in the morning can help deteriorating vision.

The research, published in the journal Scientific Reports, shows that three minutes of exposure to 670-nanometer (long wavelength) deep red light in the morning once a week can improve color contrast vision by 17 percent. When the same test was done in the afternoon, however, there was no improvement.

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The study builds on the team’s previous findings, which showed that daily three-minute exposure to longwave deep red light ’switched on’ energy-producing mitochondria cells in the human retina, aiding in the restoration of naturally deteriorating vision.

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Scientists say the findings mark a breakthrough for eye health and could lead to affordable home-based eye therapies, which would benefit millions of people worldwide who suffer from naturally declining vision.

“We demonstrate that one single exposure to long wave deep red light in the morning can significantly improve declining vision, which is a major health and wellbeing issue, affecting millions of people globally,” lead author, Professor Glen Jeffery (UCL Institute of Ophthalmology), said.

“This simple intervention applied at the population level would significantly impact on quality of life as people age and would likely result in reduced social costs that arise from problems associated with reduced vision.”

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