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‘I see red’ or I saw red, is one of those sayings that people use when they are angry. Red has long been associated with heightened arousal or warnings. Think stop lights and warning signs. But although this effect on arousal has some bearings in colour psychology, the reputation only goes so far. Science has a different view of the colour red.

In the series of article’s called ‘In LIGHT we trust’, I highlighted Near InfraRed (NIR) as being a potentially powerful healing colour. NIR is a deep red colour near the invisible end of the light spectrum.

One of those uses of NIR and deep red light is in red light eye therapy. Studies show that NIR deep red light has the ability to stimulate mitochondria in the eyes. Mitochondria is responsible for energy production and our eyes tend to have less of this cell type as we age.

The particular wavelength used in the studies on red light as a tool for healing is primarily 670nm.


Red light eye therapy timing and intensity


What this latest study set out to prove was what time of day was best to stimulate the eye’s this way. Also of interest was whether a less intense amount of light could be used compared to previous studies.

The results were both encouraging and significant enough to be explored further.

In this study only 3 minutes once a week was sufficient to give significant improvement.

Participants were aged between 34 and 70 with no eye disease, and the exposure was conducted between 8am and 9am in the morning.

Testing showed that vision improved between 17% and 20%. And surprisingly these improvements were still present a week later.

Morning exposure seemed to give results where afternoon exposure did not. This coincides with the timing of when mitochondria are most active.


Red light sunrise


Sunrise and sunset have a higher than average amount of this type of red light in the light spectrum. Another score for the value of getting outside early in the morning. I’m sure that many more products with 670nm red LED’s will start to appear on the back of this new finding also. And there are already products available to choose from for this purpose if you choose to experiment with your own.

Maybe next time you ‘see red’, it will bring up a different idea about the value of this colour.

I half expect to see people staring closely at stop lights after this, haha. Although to be clear, stop lights are not the right red for this particular use.


Red light eye therapy >>