Staring at a $16 red flashlight improved eyesight in people over 40

Exposing your eyes to deep red light for three minutes a day can "significantly improve declining eyesight," reports University College London. Researchers at UCL first tested the eyesight of 24 volunteers between the age of 28 and 72. They sent them home with inexpensive flashlights that emitted deep red 670-nanometer wavelength light and instructed them to look into the light for 3 minutes a day for 2 weeks. The results? No change for young people, but those over 40 saw significant improvements in both cone (color) and rod (light detection) sensitivity.

Lead researcher Professor Glen Jeffery (UCL Institute of Ophthalmology):

"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.  

"Our devices cost about £12 to make, so the technology is highly accessible to members of the public."  

The article notes, "These torches were produced for the study. There are currently no commercially available torches of the same specification." A quick online search revealed several sources for inexpensive 670-nanometer wavelength LEDs as well as several subreddit discussions about DIY approachesDon't try anything like this before talking to your doctor, of course!

This post originally appeared in my newsletter, The Magnet.

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