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The effect of near-infrared light exposure on visual function


1st supervisor: Dr Marisa Rodriguez-Carmona

2nd supervisor: Dr Michael Powner

Research Centre

Applied Vision Research

Project description

Near infrared light has been shown to elicit biological responses in vitro and in vivo. The therapeutic use of red light is known as photobiomodulation (PBM). Typically, it involves brief repeated illumination with far red/near infrared light (600-1000 nm), usually derived from light emitting diodes (LED). This treatment modality has been recently considered for treating ocular disease and the results demonstrated improvement in visual acuity in patients with dry and wet AMD treated following exposure to 780nm light.

Although the exact process behind this healing effect are yet to be fully understood. It is thought that the ameliorative effect of deep red light is brought about by an improvement in mitochondrial function. Mitochondria play an important role for cellular respiration. They are responsible for producing adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the universal energy currency, primarily via the electron transport chain. In disease and old age, a decline in mitochondrial membrane potentials and ATP production contributes to cell death. In mitochondria, there is absorption of light of specific long wavelengths by mechanisms of the electron transport chain. This facilitates improvement in respiration and in turn cellular function and survival.

The properties of light which are most effective for treatment are yet to be determined. In this study we will examine a number of long wavelengths to determine if certain wavelengths are absorbed more readily, and are therefore more effective. We will also investigate the effects of flickering light versus a continuous light beam.

In this study, we intend to use investigate the effect of near infrared light on visual function in both young and old people. The assessment of visual performance will consist of a number of tests developed at City, University of London.

This project will be carried out in collaboration with the Engineering department and the Optometry and Visual science division. This will be suitable for a student with a biology, engineering or physics background.

If you would like to have an informal discussion please contact Marisa.Rodriguez-Carmona.1@city.ac.uk.