How Red Light Therapy Can Improve Your Vision

Brian Tunney
Brian Tunney
5 minute read
December 2, 2022
Image of a woman stretching in Red Light Therapy, which may improve vision as you age.
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Red Light Therapy has been a part of our trusted wellness routines at Restore Hyper Wellness for quite some time now, and the modality has been linked to improved mood and energy, relief from pain and inflammation, and optimized sleep. But as studies continue, newer applications for its intended use continue to arise. Just a few years ago, Red Light Therapy was found to influence the gut microbiome and increase collagen production.  

Now, Red Light Therapy has been linked to eye health as we age past 40. 

Red Light Therapy Linked to Improved Vision

In a 2021 study, researchers asked their test subjects to use Red Light Therapy for three minutes a week. And the researchers found that this exposure to Red Light Therapy led to between a 17-20% improvement in visual acuity. 

How is this possible?

Eyesight declines after the age of 40 years and is linked with a 70% reduction in ATP, which means that the cells lack energy to function properly. Rods and cones, the most metabolically active cells in your entire body, require immense amounts of energy, or ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP has a direct relationship with mitochondria (which generate energy in your cells). Over time, your photoreceptors experience a build up of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which limits the ability of mitochondria to use ATP. Essentially, your eyes aren’t getting enough energy as you age. 

But, Red Light Therapy for just three minutes a week seems to allow for a reduction in reactive oxygen species and an improvement in ATP production and utilization. That in turn allows for the photoreceptors to convert light information into electrical signals more readily.

The study assembled males and females between the ages of 34 and 70 and measured improvements in the participants’ vision by scoring their color contrast vision, or the ability to differentiate between colors. All the participants had normal color contrast vision at the start of the trial.

Some individuals were exposed to 3 minutes of deep red light in the morning, and others in the afternoon. The color contrast vision of the participants was tested 3 hours after red light exposure, and again 1 week later.

The color contrast vision of the participants who were exposed to red light in the morning improved by an average of 17%.

Get Red Light Therapy In The Morning

There is a caveat though: This needs to be done within three hours of waking up. The researchers found no improvement in color contrast vision in the participants receiving light exposure in the afternoon. This timing is likely due to the fact that mitochondria follow the body’s circadian rhythms, and according to lead professor Glen Jeffery, “They are probably busy doing other things in the afternoon.” 

Basically, the mitochondria in your eyes are morning people, even if you’re not. Additionally, the study also found that improvements in vision lasted up to one week, so the researchers encouraged weekly use of Red Light Therapy to see continued improvements. 

According to professor Jeffrey, the implications of this study extend beyond vision improvement. “Mitochondria rule so many aspects of our lives, and we need a way to improve their health, particularly in aging. Red light use is now being applied in a large number of labs and also in clinical trials. It will likely provide us with a very simple and economic way of doing this with wide applicability.”

How Does Red Light Therapy Work?

Red Light Therapy uses low levels of red or near-infrared light to help power your cells and promote healing and energy. The low wavelength red light produced by our Red Light Therapy machines can be absorbed by the mitochondria in your body, which are responsible for many important processes in your day to day health, healing abilities, and energy production. Red Light Therapy, also known as PBM or Photobiomodulation Therapy, is a painless and relaxing service that takes only ten minutes. Customers usually remove their shirt or change into a robe so that their skin can soak up the maximum amount of light during their session. During your Red Light Therapy session, you’ll feel a mild warmth coming from the lights. You can choose to wear sunglasses during your PBM session or simply close your eyes, relax and soak up the glow!

Curious about Red Light Therapy at Restore? We can help get you started.

Photo by Jenna Kahn.

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