Adapted from Shinhmar H et al. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 29 Jun 2020
It sounds like a hoax, but staring at a deep red light for three minutes a day has been found by researchers to significantly improve declining eyesight in people aged over 40.
This is the first study of its kind in humans and it was conducted in the UK.
At around the age of 40, human retinal cells start degenerate increasingly rapidly and this causes visual deterioration.
It had already been discovered that retinal photoreceptors in animals improved if they were exposed to 670 nm deep red light.
For the study 24 people aged between 28 and 72 with no retinal disease were recruited. The gender balance was equal. The function of their rods and cones on the retina were tested. Then they were given a special pen torch which emitted the deep red light and they were told to use this for three minutes a day for two weeks.
The light had no effect in the under 40s but after this colour sensitivity improved by up to 20 per cent, particularly in the blue parts of the spectrum, which is particularly affected by ageing. Rod sensitivity also improves. This helps people to see in low levels of light.
Lead author Professor Glen Jeffrey said,” 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.”
My comment: I am very shortsighted and as a result of my eye shape I have very poor night vision. If these little torches were made available I would definitely use one.