Red Light Therapy is a relatively new form of treatment that has the potential to heal muscle, skin tissues, and other parts of the body. It should not be confused with infrared light. Infrared light is the form of energy that is invisible to our eyes but, our body can sense it as heat. Whereas, Red light is also sensed by the body as heat but it is visible to the eyes. Red light therapy is also known by other names like Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), Low-Power Laser Therapy (LPLT) or Photobiomodulation (PBM).
The way red light therapy works is that you expose your skin or the specific body part to a lamp, device, or laser that emits red light. This red light is absorbed by the mitochondria of our cells which are also known as the ‘powerhouse of cells’ or ‘power generators’. Mitochondria later use this absorbed red light to generate more energy. This is where the healing and repairing properties of red light come from. In this therapy, very low levels of heat are used which does not burn the skin. It is to be kept in mind that it is not the same light that is used in tanning booths and it does not contain UV rays which can damage your skin.
Red light therapy is also proven to be safe for the eyes. It bears the potential to protect the vision and improve the healing process in people with eye damage or inflammation. All these uses of red light are supported by strong clinical evidence. Lately, red light therapy is also considered as a natural option for problems like macular degeneration, eye trauma/injury, and glaucoma.
Age-related macular degeneration is a condition in which the ATP/energy production decreases in the cells of our eyes with age. It affects nearly 200 million people all over the world. This may even lead to inflammation, degeneration of cells, and visual impairment. As the leading cause of this condition is decreased energy production, red light therapy is successful because it involves stimulating the energy production by mitochondria of the cells. Red light therapy can delay macular degeneration and keep your eyes working efficiently even as you age.
A research was published in 2018 which was based around the effect of red light therapy on the eyes and vision. This study included 33 patients with an average age of participants being 67 years. These participants were monitored for 5 years and their results were concluded in the research paper. According to this study, the following effects of red light therapy were noted:
– Increase in visual acuity and sharpness of vision. This is measured by the ability to make out distant letters and numbers.
– A decrease in the edema and hemorrhage which led to less distorted vision.
– Reduced ocular inflammation related to injury or stress.
– Increased ATP/energy production by cells in the eyes.
– Improvement in the effects of glaucoma
– Prevention of loss of vision by protecting the cornea and retina.
Red light therapy is also being studied for its effects on retinitis pigmentosa. Retinitis pigmentosa is the most common cause of inherited blindness. It is a degenerative disease and it involves the breakdown of retinal cells which eventually leads to blindness. So far, experiments performed on mammals have proved the beneficial effects of red light therapy for retinitis pigmentosa. It won’t be long when red light therapy will take over the world of ophthalmology.