Earlier in 2020, we reported on red light therapy (RLT) as a promising advanced treatment for chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and seasonal affective disorder. Now, a new study has found that RLT may be a safe and effective treatment for improvement of vision decline.
Read on to learn about how RLT may improve vision loss and other eye conditions. We’ll also touch on how RLT may help chronic pain sufferers with other long-term medical problems.
What Is Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy is also called low-level laser light therapy (LLLT) and photobiomodulation (PBM). It uses an LED red-light therapy device to produce natural infrared or near-infrared (NIR) light. The user or therapist directs the light to treat pain and inflammation in many areas of the body.
The wavelengths of red light penetrate the skin and are absorbed by the cells. The light can’t be seen by the human eye but can produce a gentle heat on the skin surface.
In the study noted above, subjects were treated for three minutes a day for two weeks with near-infrared light. At the end of the study, subjects had 14% better color contrast sensitivity. Those subjects over 40 had the most significant improvement at 20%. Both groups also had improved ability to see in low light. Once again, those over 40 had greater improvement.
Is There Other Research into the Effectiveness of RLT?
Yes, there is a relatively large body of research. Prior to the new study, previous research was done with animals. Several studies, for example, have demonstrated improvement of age-related retinal changes in mice.
Others have found that red-light wavelengths may improve other signs of aging. A 2015 study concluded that NIR used on fruit flies extended their lifespan significantly; 100% to 175% of flies treated with daily NIR lived to old age compared to untreated flies. The treated flies also showed greater mobility, which could be great news for people with chronic joint pain.