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In this blog, we are going to talk about the different ways red light therapy can protect and heal your eyes.
- Conditions #1 – Glaucoma
- Conditions #2 – Optic Nerve Injuries
- Conditions #3 – Age-related vision problems
- Conditions #4 – Retinitis Pigmentosa
- Condition #5 – Ocular Implants
To start, there is a lot of misinformation about red light therapy (RLT) and eye health. The truth is, RLT is a natural and safe way to heal and protect your eyesight from external damage and digital strain symptoms, as shown in several peer-reviewed clinical studies.
The wavelengths that we use, which are 660 (red) and 850 (near-infrared), have been found to be safe and effective when it comes to ocular health. If you use any of our devices, you can be assured your eyes will be fine.
This being said, let’s dive into the different conditions you can treat, and the benefits that you can expect for your eyes, after using RLT.
Condition #1 – Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve. Nowadays there is no cure for glaucoma, but in recent studies, RLT has been shown to be an effective, natural, and safe treatment, with none of the discomfort or side effects that eye drops, prescription drugs, or surgery have.
The way RLT improves the effect of glaucoma is by protecting the cornea and retina against ocular pressure and fluid buildup, which can cause nerve damage and loss of vision.
A study conducted in 2017 determined that RLT reduced the damage of the corneal cells and even promoted their growth, leading to better chances of the cell’s survival and protecting the eye against vision loss (related to glaucoma). (2)
A 2016 trial that analyzed retinal cells, reported similar results. (3) Researchers found that RLT helped in protecting the retinal cells against ocular pressure.
Finally, one last study (4) suggests that RLT is more effective at reaching and treating these cells than optical ointments, and it also has the advantage of being non-invasive and natural.
Condition #2 – Optic Nerve Injuries
Optic nerve injuries are one of the biggest risks to our vision. The optic nerve connects our eye to the brain and if pressure builds up in the eye, the nerve can get damaged and cause loss of vision.
A study conducted in 2016 analyzed the effect of RLT on cells after an optic nerve injury. The results were that red light effectively prevented cell death in retina cells. (5)
Different studies agreed that RLT has substantial healing effects after optic nerve injuries. Some of them are:
- Early Cell Survival: In the first week, retinal cells survived at 20% higher rates with RLT. (6)
- Restoring Vision: After RLT, the eye’s natural response to follow an object was restored. (7)
- Protection from Secondary Degeneration: Secondary degeneration happens to the cells that are near the initial injury. RLT was shown to protect these exposed cells with 3 months of treatment. (8)
Based on scientific studies, RLT is showing very promising results as a natural treatment that can heal and protect the eye from nerve damage.
Condition #3 – Age-related vision problems
In 2018 a long-term study (9) that followed 33 patients for 5 years showed that patients who received RLT experienced the following benefits:
- Increase in visual acuity.
- Decrease in edema and hemorrhaging.
- No negative side effects.
Other studies also show reduced inflammation and increased ATP energy production, which greatly benefits eye health and vision by protecting the cells of the eye. (10, 11, 12)
Condition #4 – Retinitis Pigmentosa
The most common cause of inherited blindness is retinitis pigmentosa. Researchers in 2012 used RLT in a mammal model, discovering that light treatments:
- Promoted mitochondrial integrity and function.
- Prevented photoreceptor cell death.
- Preserved retinal function.
The trials used 670nm (red) and 830nm (infrared) light and found them both safe for clinical use. (13)
Condition #5 – Ocular Implants
Finally, in cases where there is a loss of an eye, it’s common for the individual to receive an ocular implant or an artificial eye. In a controlled clinical trial, people who had undergone ocular prosthesis surgery and were treated with RLT healed up to 10 days faster than those treated with standard medication. (14)
As you can see after reading the examples, red light therapy has a lot of potential, and it is constantly showing great results and benefits for people treating their eyes.
It is a safe and natural form of therapy that will help you treat your eyes with no side effects or uncomfortable treatments.
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*Studies & sources of information:
- Bright Focus Foundation https://www.brightfocus.org/glaucoma
- Núñez-Álvarez C, Del Olmo-Aguado S, et al. Near infra-red light attenuates corneal endothelial cell dysfunction in situ and in vitro. Experimental eye Research. 2017 jun.
- Del Olmo-Aguado S, Núñez-Álvarez C, et al. Red light of the visual spectrum attenuates cell death in culture and retinal ganglion cell death in situ. Acta Ophthalmologica 2019 Feb.
- Osborne NN, Núñez-Álvarez C, et al. European Journal of Pharmacology. Glaucoma: Focus on mitochondria in relation to pathogenesis and neuroprotection. 2016 Sep.
- Beirne K, Rozanowska M, et al. Red Light Treatment in an Axotomy Model of Neurodegeneration. Photochemistry and Photobiology. 2016 Jul.
- So KF, Leung MC. Effects of low level laser treatment on the survival of axotomized retinal ganglion cells in adult Hamsters. Neural Regeneration Research. 2014 Nov.
- Fitzgerald M, Bartlett CA, et al. Near infrared light reduces oxidative stress and preserves function in CNS tissue vulnerable to secondary degeneration following partial transection of the optic nerve. Journal of Neurotrauma. 2010 Nov.
- Szymanski CR, Chiha W, et al. Paranode Abnormalities and Oxidative Stress in Optic Nerve Vulnerable to Secondary Degeneration: Modulation by 670 nm Light Treatment. 2013 June.
- Koev K, Avramov L, et al. Five-year follow-up of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) in patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Journal of Physics. 2018.
- Kokkinopoulos I, Colman A, et al. Age-related retinal inflammation is reduced by 670 nm light via increased mitochondrial membrane potential. Neurobiology of Aging. 2013 Feb.
- Calaza KC, Kam JH, et al. Mitochondrial decline precedes phenotype development in the complement factor H mouse model of retinal degeneration but can be corrected by near infrared light. Neurobiology of Aging. 2015 Jun.
- Sivapathasuntharam C, Sivaprasad S, et al. Aging retinal function is improved by near infrared light (670 nm) that is associated with corrected mitochondrial decline.Neurobiology of Aging. 2017 Apr.
- Gopalakrishnan, S. Photobiomodulation in Inherited Retinal Degeneration. 2012. Theses and Dissertations. 4.
- Xu QH, Zhao C, et al. Helium-neon laser therapy in the treatment of hydroxyapatite orbital implant exposure: A superior option. Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine. 2015 Jun.