How Red Light Therapy Can Help with Digital Eye Strain

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A Digital Life

From smartphones to delivery services to online payments to clean energy, technology has impacted our lives in almost every way. Technology is growing increasingly faster, more portable, and higher-powered than ever before. It’s changed the way we do everything, and for reasons good and bad, we’ve become reliant on our devices. But all of this excessive screen time comes with a hidden cost – our vision. We now spend most of our lives staring at screens: from studying or working on our computers, to scrolling through social media platforms, to binge-watching shows, gaming, or shopping for entertainment. What we fail to realize is that the more time we spend staring at screens, the worse our eyesight becomes. [1]

Causes of eye strain

Viewing digital screens for long periods of time can make a person’s eyes work harder than usual. This can put the eyes under strain, which may lead to the development of vision-related problems. We soon find ourselves with tired, itchy, and dry eyes, and eventually even get headaches and blurred vision.[2] People actually came up with a name for this: Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) – which is basically all the vision-related problems you experiences as a result of prolonged usage of digital devices (i.e. computers, smart phones, tablets, TV), and not to mention the more serious problems like migraines, glaucoma, trauma, and needing prescription glasses.[4]

According to the American Optometric Association, the eyes are under greater strain when we view screens versus when we read printed words on a page. This is partly because the letters on many screens are not as sharply defined as printed letters. It is also because many screens have less contrast than the printed page, and because they are affected by reflection and glare. All of this can make a person’s eyes work extra hard when reading words on a screen.[4]

Source: Anna Tarazevich on Pexels[5]

Common Symptoms

The most common symptoms associated with CVS or digital eyestrain are:

  • Eyestrain.
  • Headaches.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Dry eyes.
  • Neck and shoulder pain.

These symptoms may be caused by:

  • Poor lighting.
  • Glare on a digital screen.
  • Improper viewing distances.
  • Poor seating posture.
  • Uncorrected vision problems.
  • A combination of these factors.

How RLT helps with Digital Eye Strain

There are several solutions to minimize eye strain like lifestyle changes and prescription glasses. However, Red Light Therapy is an easy, effective, and holistic solution to prevent declining eyesight. Red Light Therapy may be best known for helping with acne, muscle pain, and sleep disorders, but it’s also a ground-breaking way to help with vision problems, and it’s mostly to do with the mitochondria and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) interaction. Here’s how it works:

The Mitochondria produce most of the chemical energy needed for all biochemical reactions within the body. The energy produced is stored as ATP, which then converts into adenosine diphosphate (ADP) or to adenosine monophosphate (AMP). For the human body to stay healthy, ATP is essential for the cellular process. 

Going back to the eyes, the retina ages faster than any other in the body, and up to 70% of the ATP in the retinas will decline over a person’s lifetime, which causes reduced eye function. [6]

This is where Red Light Therapy plays an major role in improving eye function and vision. Because RLT is believed increase ATP production in the mitochondria, it can help improve and restore cellular energy, which keep your eyes healthy and functioning optimally. 

In short, Red Light Therapy “uses simple brief exposures to light wavelengths that re-charge the energy system that has declined in the retina cells, rather like re-charging a battery.” [7]

How to use RLT for Digital Eye Strain

  • Device to use
    • Our Model1 Pro is the ideal device to use, because of its size and coverage area. Shop the Model1 Pro and our other RLT devices here.
  • Time of day
    • Best used in the mornings. One likely reason is that mitochondria follow the body’s circadian rhythm. Another possibility has to do with energy requirements unique to early daytime. [8]
  • Duration
    • 3 minutes is the optimal length for light exposure and that the vision improvement lasts up to 1 week.
  • Distance
    • We recommend positioning the device 3 inches away from your face.
  • Wavelength:
    • For optimal results, we recommend 660nm.

Other tips:

  1. Be consistent and patient. Red light therapy is not a quick fix; it takes time and consistency for your body to heal. 
  2. Choose a high light-energy output LED device. The highest possible total energy output (irradiance) will ensure deep absorption into the tissues.
  3.  Don’t try to accelerate results with longer sessions or by moving closer to the device. 

Source: Luminousred Instagram (@luminousred.light) [10]

3 Common Misconceptions about RLT for the Eyes

  • WON’T DAMAGE YOUR EYES. Unlike ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) light, red light will not burn your eyes, although you may feel a gentle warmth during treatment. But because eyes are extremely photosensitive, damage could occur from too much exposure. Most research on the ocular use of red light therapy involved two minutes of exposure daily or every other day, so this is a solid starting.
  • SAFE TO USE. Red light has no adverse effects when used as directed; however, daily use is often too much. Studies on using red light therapy to treat eye conditions point to no more than two minutes per session every other day.
  • NOT A CURE-ALL. Red Light Therapy aids with the symptoms and effects of digital eyestrain, but users should still try to address the root cause of the problem. This includes getting good quality blue-light-blocking eyeglasses, and most importantly, taking time off the screen more often.[11]

Also Helps with Other Eye Issues

Research suggests that red light therapy is a safe, painless, and effective option for treating age-related vision loss and a variety of eye disorders. Because of that, this promising treatment method has recently caught the attention of ophthalmologists as a safe approach for treating various eye conditions, such as. 

• Reduced Inflammation
• Amblyopia
• Corneal Injury
• Diabetic Retinopathy
• Glaucoma
• Leber’s Optic Neuropathy
• Ocular Implants
• Optic Nerve Injury
• Retinitis Pigmentosa
• Retinopathy of Prematurity

NOTE: For purposes of this article, we only recommend using Red Light, and NOT Near Infrared Light (NIR), because not enough tests and studies have been conducted regarding NIR for eye health, and using NIR on your eyes might potentially lead to tissue heating that might be harmful for sensitive tissues like the eyes.


[1] How Digital Devices Affect Your Eyes (https://nevadaeyephysicians.com/how-digital-devices-affect-your-eyes)

[2] What to Know About Computer Eye Strain (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/computer-eye-strain)

[4] Computer Vision Syndrome (https://www.aoa.org/healthy-eyes/eye-and-vision-conditions/computer-vision-syndrome?sso=y)

[5] https://www.pexels.com/de-de/foto/frau-im-weissen-tragershirt-unter-verwendung-des-schwarzen-laptop-computers-6173696/

[6] Declining Eyesight Improved by Looking at Deep Red Light (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/06/200629120241.htm)

[7] Ophthalmologists: Light Therapy May be the Solution to Eye Strain and Declining Eyesight (https://www.kaiyanmedical.com/post/opthamologists-light-therapy-may-be-the-solution-to-eye-strain-and-declining-eyesight)

[8] 3 Minutes of Deep Red Light Can Improve a Person’s Vision (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/3-minutes-of-deep-red-light-can-improve-a-persons-vision#Timing-is-everything)

[10] https://www.instagram.com/p/CXMATE6tviZ/

[11] How Technology is Hurting Your Eyes (https://www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-living/how-technology-is-hurting-your-eyes.aspx)

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