English scientists conducted the first experiment involving human subjects, which showed that age-related decline in vision can be slowed down, the daily short-term exposure to long-wave radiation.

The photoreceptors of the retina consist of cones and sticks. Cones are responsible for color vision sticks provide peripheral vision and can see in low light. The sensitivity of the retina decreases in people older than 40 years. Aging of the retina is due to the number of mitochondria in its cells — more of them than in any other tissue of the body. Mitochondria produce energy in the form of ATP molecules. Energy-intensive processes lead to accelerated aging of the retina. For 40 years, the ATP synthesis it is reduced by 70%.

The ability of mitochondria to produce ATP depends on the wavelength of light they absorb. Light with a wavelength of from 650 to 1000 nanometers improves the performance of mitochondria. Researchers from University College London tried to “reset” the aging cells of the human retina, affecting her short flashes of far-red light. The results of the first of its kind experiment on humans published in The journals of Gerontology.

Previously, scientists have carried out similar studies on mice, fruit flies and bumblebees. The function of the photoreceptors of the retina test subjects improved after exposure to red light with a wavelength of 670 nanometers. For the experiment with the participation of the people invited 24 volunteers: 12 men and 12 women aged from 28 to 72 years with no eye diseases.

In the beginning of the study all participants tested the sensitivity of the rods and cones of the retina. Functions of cones was evaluated by asking the volunteers to distinguish the colored letters with a low color contrast. The sensitivity of the sticks were tested in the dark, showing the participants of the experiment weak light signals and analyzing the dilated pupils.

Then all participants were given a small led flashlight that they needed to take home. Every day for 3 minutes people looked at the rich red light of the flashlight. After 2 weeks their vision re-checked in the laboratory. The researchers found that exposure to light with a wavelength of 670 nanometers has had no impact on young people. But the vision of the subjects older than 40 years has improved significantly.

Color sensitivity age of participants increased by 20%. Some volunteers were better able to distinguish between blue and blue colors, which are more difficult to identify as aging. The ability to see at dusk, also improved in people over 40 years, but not as much as color sensitivity.

The study’s lead author, Professor Glen Jeffrey, expressed the hope that their work will help to create an inexpensive device for home use, which will reduce the deterioration of vision in aged patients. 3 minutes a day and one led flashlight — low price for one of the most important abilities of the human body.