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Red Light May ”Recharge” The Ageing Retina

Posted on 29 June 2020

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According to a study published in the Journals of Gerontology, simply staring at deep red light for three minutes a day significantly improved declining eyesight, a finding that could lead to affordable home-based eye therapies for millions.

In humans around 40 years-old, cells in the eye’s retina begin to age, and the pace of this ageing is caused, in part, when the cell’s mitochondria, whose role is to produce energy (known as ATP) and boost cell function, also start to decline. Mitochondrial density is greatest in the retina’s photoreceptor cells, which have high energy demands. As a result, the retina ages faster than other organs, with a 70% ATP reduction over life, causing a significant decline in photoreceptor function as they lack the energy to perform their normal role.

It appears that long wavelength light may partially rejuvenate these ageing photoreceptors by improving mitochondrial metabolism and rectifying the cell’s energy deficit.

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.

After treatment, participants who were over 40 had improved cone sensitivity of up to 20%, as well as a significant but lesser increase in rod sensitivity. While the idea that such a simple and inexpensive intervention could improve eyesight is enticing, further research is needed to confirm these findings, as the present study was very small (24 participants in total).

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    Declining eyesight improved by looking at deep red light:

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