Red Light Therapy for Aging Eyes

Good eyesight is something young people often take for granted but adults over the age of 40 know that declining vision can be a frustrating part of aging and one that no amount of exercise or healthy eating can completely prevent.  A new study using red light therapy may offer help for older adults to improve their vision with just a few minutes of treatment each day. 

Researchers studied 24 participants between the ages of 28 and 72, none of whom had a prior diagnosis of any health conditions that could affect their vision; half were men and half were women.   Each was given a deep red 670nm light to stare at each day for a few minutes.  Participants over the age of 40 demonstrated measurable improvements in their ability to discern one color from another.  

As we age, the sensitivity of the retina and color vision gradually diminishes over time which can impair vision, especially at night.  By using the longer wavelengths of red light in short sessions of three minutes a day for two weeks, researchers sought to improve the retina’s aging cells’ performance. The ability to detect color improved by up to 20 percent in some people over the age of 40.  The ability to see in low light also significantly improved among study participants over 40.  

The technology offers an inexpensive, non-invasive treatment option for older adults who experience difficulty seeing well at night or discerning color.  The University College London study was recently published in the Journals of Gerontology.  

Red Light Therapy is also used to decrease skin inflammation treating acne as well as the signs of aging and skin conditions such as psoriasis or rosacea.  It has also be used as a treatment for pain and injury and to stimulate hair growth. RLT may also contribute to weight loss when combined with healthy lifestyle choices.