Simple Ways to Improve and Protect Your Vision

If you’re squinting to read this letter – or you had to put on a pair of reading glasses – I’ve got good news for you.

A recent study from researchers at University College in London discovered that brief exposure to a certain kind of light can improve your eyesight.

And maybe even allow you to throw away your glasses forever.

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, reveals that exposing your eyes to deep red light first thing in the morning can improve vision loss. And the effects will last for seven days. More on this in a moment. First let’s talk about what caused your vision loss in the first place…

If you’re one of the 93% of older Americans who wears glasses or contact lenses, you probably believe your bad vision is genetic.

It’s not.

Yet, the belief that vision loss is hereditary is so common that no one ever questions it. And your eye doctor is more interested in writing a prescription for glasses – and selling you a pair – than finding out the true cause of your poor eyesight.

But, new research has discovered declining vision is directly linked to mitochondrial decline.

You see, as your eyes age, the mitochondria in your retinal cells become less active… And this robs the cells of the energy they need to function. With the signals between your eyes and brain firing less frequently, images become blurry and harder to decipher.

In this new study, researchers found that just three minutes of exposure to longwave deep red light was able to “turn on” inactive mitochondria in the human retina…naturally boosting declining eyesight.

Researchers provided participants with a 670 nanometer LED deep red-light device. They used it to expose their eyes to long wave red light in the morning between 8 and 9 am.

Eye tests demonstrated up to a 20% improvement in vision.

But when researchers repeated the light exposure in the afternoon, no improvement at all was detected. This suggests that circadian cycles play a significant role in when retina mitochondria are most receptive to deep red-light treatment.1

Red light therapy helps support your vision in two additional ways:

    • It has anti-inflammatory effects. Red light therapy appears to suppress the expression of proinflammatory cytokines. They are proteins that signal the body to go into reaction mode to fight illness or infection. While this is a good thing to an extent, an inflammation overdrive can have negative effects, including, in this case, damage to neural tissue, which can affect eye health.
    • It increases blood flow. Red light therapy is also known to improve circulation. Decreased blood flow is associated with a number of eye conditions, including glaucoma, macular degeneration, and retinitis pigmentosa.

Take 2 simple steps to protect your vision today

Scientists say the benefits of deep red light will soon lead to affordable home-based eye therapies. Existing devices currently sell for hundreds, even thousands, of dollars. But until the therapy is more easily available, there are nutrients you can use to protect, and even improve, your vision – today.

    1. Supplement with nature’s best eye boosters. Two of the most important nutrients for improving vision and protecting your eye health are lutein and zeaxanthin. In fact, your eyes can’t function without them. According to a Harvard study, people with the lowest levels of zeaxanthin and lutein in their eyes were significantly more likely to suffer from vision loss.2 In fact, if you have low levels, your vision loss risk goes up almost 75%. Additional studies found that eating foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin can increase the pigment density in the macula… and, therefore, lower the risk of macular degeneration. Your best food sources for lutein and zeaxanthin are dark, leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and collard greens. But, it’s not easy getting enough from your foods. I recommend supplementing with 20 mg of lutein and 1 mg of zeaxanthin.
    2. Start at the top. Old-fashioned eye charts always have the letter E at the top. In my book, that E stands for vitamin E — one of the most important nutrients you can “feed” your eyes. It works together with vitamins A and C to keep cells in the eyes free from the damaging effects of inflammation. As you know, inflammation is the root cause of almost every disease — including diseases of the eyes. If not treated, it can lead to vision loss and even macular degeneration. In fact, some studies have found that supplementing with vitamin E can lower your risk of developing this blinding eye condition, especially when combined with vitamin A. I recommend taking at least 400 IU a day.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

Al Sears, MD, CNS

 


References:

1. Shinhmar H, et al. “Weeklong improved colour contrasts sensitivity after single 670 nm exposures associated with enhanced mitochondrial function.” Sci Rep. 2021;11(22872)
2. Seddon JM, et al. “Dietary carotenoids, vitamins A, C, and E, and advanced age-related macular degeneration. Eye Disease Case-Control Study Group.” JAMA. 1994;272(18):1413-1420.