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Science Daily: “Declining Eyesight Improved by Looking at Deep Red Light” — Retinal Mitochondrial Health

Among other improvements from magnesium supplementation and especially lung function, recent magnesium supplementation gives me the distinct impression that my dim-light eyesight has improved, though I have no hard data to back up that claim.

Some caution is advised, as this is a very small study (cohort of 12 male and 12 female subjects).

Science Daily: Declining Eyesight Improved by Looking at Deep Red Light

Staring at a deep red light for three minutes a day can significantly improve declining eyesight, finds a new UCL-led study, the first of its kind in humans.

Scientists believe the discovery, published in the Journals of Gerontology, could signal the dawn of new affordable home-based eye therapies, helping the millions of people globally with naturally declining vision.

...

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.

Researchers built on their previous findings in mice, bumblebees and fruit flies, which all found significant improvements in the function of the retina's photoreceptors when their eyes were exposed to 670 nanometre (long wavelength) deep red light.

"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," said Professor Jeffery.

... Professor Jeffery 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.

"The technology is simple and very safe, using a deep red light of a specific wavelength, that is absorbed by mitochondria in the retina that supply energy for cellular function.

WIND: will this finding be noted among allopathic medical doctors given that it is prevention and not a treatment requiring an expensive drug treatment? It it holds up to scrutiny, could this effect improve other aspects of eye health?

Wavelength of 670nm is very deep red, close to the faux-infrared cutoff wavelength I have long favored for infrared photography of around 720nm. At least half the energy of sunlight is very deep red and infrared, a fact that a camera modified for IR will tell you just based on exposure time. So I wonder what simply going outdoors in bright sun achieves?

Protecting eyes from both UV and IR with sunglasses always seemed like the smart move, but now it seems that some infrared exposure might be a good thing: does getting out into the sun without sunglasses for a short period where there is a lot of reflected light (say a beach or snow) perhaps yield a dose of infrared that is beneficial for your eyes?

See also Death Valley Eureka Dunes in Infrared.

Eureaka Dunes in infrared
Eureaka Dunes in infrared
f9 @ 1/200 sec, ISO 200; 2007-02-24 13:35:54
Canon EOS 5D + Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS @ 24mm

[low-res image for bot]

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