Is Red Light Therapy Damaging To Eyes?

Is Red Light Therapy Damaging To Eyes?

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Shining a light into your eyes is probably a bad idea, right? You’d be correct in most cases. But not exactly, when it comes to red light.
Research has proven that red light therapy can heal various eye problems, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, and optic nerve injuries. But then why do red-light therapy devices come with protective goggles? Do you need to wear them? And is red light therapy bad for your eyes?

Let’s look at the research on this topic to answer this question.


What Is Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy is a safe, non-invasive treatment during which LEDs producing red and infrared wavelengths are exposed to the affected area of the body. These wavelengths of red light (in the mid-600nm range) and near-infrared light (in the mid-800nm range) have proven my multiple research studies to have healing properties. The wavelengths penetrate deep into the skin to 8 to 10 millimeters. The light is absorbed by chromophores, which are light-absorbing molecules in the mitochondria, particularly by cytochrome c oxidase, a key enzyme. When cytochrome c oxidase absorbs red light, it facilitates increased production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the cell's energy currency. Increased energy means cells have more reserves for healing damaged tissue, repairing and regenerating.

Doctors use red light's regenerative properties to treat a myriad of problems, including skin rejuvenation, reducing stretch marks and cellulite, anti-aging, hair growth, wound healing, muscle recovery, and pain reduction.
That’s great, you’re probably thinking, but what about eye health? Can red light therapy damage eyes? Or does it help with eye problems as well?


Is Red Light Therapy Bad For Eyes?

No, red light therapy does not damage the eyes. Research has proven red light to help fix a myriad of eye problems, including glaucoma, AMD, inflammation and Retinitis Pigmentosa.

 Is red light therapy bad for eyes

What does the research say about red light therapy being damaging to eyes?

Research on red light therapy (RLT) and its potential for treating eye diseases is still in its early stages, but some promising findings have been reported. Here’s an overview of the eye diseases that red light therapy can potentially treat.

A study published in Neurobiology of Aging demonstrated that near-infrared light (670 nm) exposure improved mitochondrial function in aged mice retinas, indicating potential benefits for AMD.
Research published in Investigative Opthalmology & Visual Science found that RLT could reduce inflammation and apoptosis in retinal tissues, in patients with diabetic retinopathy, thus promoting cell survival.
Similarly, a study in the Journal of Personalized Medicine reported that RLT could provide neuroprotective effects for retinal ganglion cells, which are crucial in glaucoma management.

These positive outcomes are attributed to RLT's ability to improve cellular energy production, reduce oxidative stress, and modulate inflammatory responses. However, DO NOT attempt to self-diagnose and treat your eye issues with a red light panel yourself. Consult your doctor before beginning any treatment that involves light and your eyes.


But I thought shining light into your eyes could damage them?

First let’s get one thing clear, red and infrared light are not the same as Ultraviolet (UV) light. White light is composed of the 7 colors of the rainbow. On the far right, we have red and infrared light. And the far left, we have violet and ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet light (such as from the sun), is harmful to the skin and eyes. Long-term exposure can cause photokeratitis, a painful condition similar to sunburn on the cornea, and can accelerate the formation of cataracts, a clouding of the eye’s lens that impairs vision. Additionally, UVA light can penetrate deeper into the eye and potentially damage the retina, increasing the risk of macular degeneration and vision loss. That’s the reason doctors recommend you wear sunglasses and never look directly at the sun. UV light has shorter wavelengths (100-400nm) and carries higher energy. Its high energy can break chemical bonds, leading to molecular damage.
On the other hand, red and infrared light has longer wavelengths (600nm+) and thus carries lower energy compared to UV light. This lower energy is less likely to break chemical bonds or directly damage DNA. Infrared light primarily interacts with tissues by generating heat. This can lead to a warming effect but does not typically cause the same kind of cellular damage as UV light. So yes, shining a torch into your eyes or looking directly at the sun can damage the eyes, but red light typically does not have the same effects.



Do You Need Eye Protection When Getting Red Light Therapy?

Red light is not bad for the eyes, but do you still need to wear eye protection when using a red light therapy panel on your face, or other parts of the body? And why wear goggles if it’s safe?

Red light therapy for eyes at home

At BlockBlueLight, we recommend that you wear safety goggles when using red light therapy panels to treat your face, scalp or any body part. Any responsible manufacturer would recommend the same.
Your eyes are sensitive and precious and if you’re not directly treating them for any illness or issue, there’s no need to expose them to red light therapy. If you want to use red light therapy for your eyes, you MUST consult with a healthcare professional before starting. DO NOT self-diagnose and try to treat eye issues yourself with a red light therapy panel.

However, if you’re treating other body parts, we recommend you wear goggles during the treatment. Here’s why:

  • Red light therapy panels produce heat which could get uncomfortable for your eyes
  • The high brightness can get uncomfortable and temporarily strain your eyes which can be annoying.
  • If you have light sensitivity, prolonged exposure to the bright light can cause discomfort
  • Even though it is minimal, wearing eye protection safeguards you from unnecessary risk
All of BlockBlueLight’s red light therapy panels come with comfortable goggles to ensure you’re protected and can have risk-free and relaxing treatment sessions. They also have built-in timers to prevent overheating and overexposure during sessions.

    When buying red light therapy panels, ensure they have robust safety settings such as in-built timers and low heat output. At BlockBlueLight, we don’t take risks with your health. All of BlockBlueLight’s panels have the above features and they are certified by the Australian electrical safety standards for light therapy devices, ensuring zero risk of overheating or electrical hazards.

    To learn more about red light therapy, refer to the following articles:

    People Also Ask:

    Do you need to wear eye protection when using red light therapy?

    Yes, even though the risk is minimal, wearing eye protection during a RLT session is recommended. The prolonged, bright light can cause temporary eye strain and make the sessions uncomfortable. Use a pair of high-quality goggles such as the ones that come with all of BlockBlueLight’s red light therapy devices.

    Can I just close my eyes when using red light therapy?

    No, simply closing your eyes is not enough. Wear high-quality goggles during your RLT session. Though red light is not inherently harmful, prolonged exposure to bright light can cause discomfort, eye strain or glare. All of BlockBlueLight’s red light therapy devices come with high-quality, comfortable eye goggles.

    Are there any risks to red light therapy?

    Red light therapy is generally safe and can be administered at home. However, some customers report migraines, eye aches and skin redness after sessions. To avoid side effects, use protective goggles, don’t look directly into the slight and always set a timer before starting the session to prevent overexposure or falling asleep with the device on.

    Does infrared light damage the eyes?

    Infrared light isn’t harmful to the eyes. Research has proven red light to be beneficial for treating various eye problems such as AMD, cataracts and optic eye damage. However, DO NOT treat your eyes with red light therapy without consulting a doctor.

    Is red light therapy good for under eyes?

    Red light therapy can help to reduce dark circles, puffiness, and fine lines by stimulating collagen production and improving blood circulation. However, start treatment for the sensitive under-eye area in consultation with a healthcare professional.

    Why do I have blurry vision after red light therapy?

    If your vision gets blurry vision after a red light therapy session for your face/body, it could be due to eye strain. Eyes can temporarily get strained when exposed to bright lights for an extended period. The discomfort is temporary. To avoid this, wear high-quality protective goggles and close your eyes during the treatment. Suspend sessions and consult a doctor if the issue persists.