Study Shows the Benefits of Deep Red Light in Improving Contrast Sensitivity

A study conducted at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology looked into the effect of exposing someone to deep red light on their contrast and color sensitivity.

CVI Scotland defines contrast vision as someone’s ability to differentiate shades of grey. Experts measure it by evaluating how much there should be in two shades of grey for a person to feel them apart.

If sensitivity lessens, images start to look washed or faded. Contrast sensitivity and is not always related to healthy eyesight as one can have good vision and have low contrast sensitivity.

Researchers titled their study Weeklong Improved Color Contrasts Sensitivity After Single 670nm Exposures Associated With Enhanced Mitochondrial Function. They published it in the Scientific Reports journal.

How researchers conducted the experiment 

The team gathered 20 volunteers and exposed them to a 670nm deep red light for about three minutes between 8-9 each morning. The participants experienced a 20% improvement that lasted for an average of one week.

This study is not the first to look into the benefits of red light on vision. For example, another study that used mice and flies used less red light for a shorter duration found that the procedure improved vision.

The lead study author, Professor Glen Jeffery, explains that red light significantly impacts vision. Using red light on aging people can lower the costs they use to treat their eyesight problems.

Jeffery later modified his experiments to involve humans. However, he pointed out that the animal they used should not make a difference.

The exposure only works in the morning

Jeffery explains that using an LED device weekly recharges the declination energy in the retina, which is responsible for poor vision. In addition, exposing people to LED light in the morning has the highest effect in treating their vision.

The mitochondrion is a cellular organelle that is abundant in the retina. It produces energy that plays a role in vision. However, this retina ages faster than other organs. Aging and disease can affect the functioning of mitochondria. Therefore exposing the retina to red light leads to higher energy production. Researchers used red light treatment in the afternoon to confirm this finding and discovered that there were no changes to vision.

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