The Therapeutic Role of Processor-Controlled LED Lighting to Combat the Global Epidemic of Myopia
The role of sunlight in influencing eye-ball growth has been well established. Recent research has established the link between myopia (short-sightedness) and reduced exposure to adequate levels of sunlight. Other researchers have established the wavelengths of visible light that trigger the so-called ‘retinal dopamine response’ instigated by the non-visual receptors, intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGC’s) as the primary zeitgeber for the circadian rhythm. Laboratory research using dopamine agonists and visual deprivation experiments in mammals supported by epidemiological evidence now suggests the retinal dopamine response plays a central role in the neural and neuro-transmitter control of eye-growth and therefore the pathogenesis of myopia.
Myopia is now regarded by WHO as a global epidemic. On average, developed and developing nations have experienced a three-fold increase in myopia over the past three decades. For example, in South Korea and China (and most of eastern Asia), 80% of high school graduates and 95% of university graduates are myopic. Apart from the personal costs, inconvenience and disability, myopia brings elevated risk of ocular morbidity for many of these sufferers in later life (glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinal detachment and cataract) which in turn poses the risk of an onerous burden on health and welfare costs both at a personal and State level. Once thought to be due to prolonged reading and close work, it is now understood that the primary cause of myopia is reduced exposure to sunlight and its beneficial triggers at the retinal level. Myopia represents a global health issue with the risk of profound visual disability for potentially millions of sufferers in coming years.
This paper provides an overview of the peer reviewed academic research and background to the neuro-physiology of the visual and non-visual processes responsible for achieving emmetropia (no visual error) and how with current LED technology, the strategic application of appropriately designed human-visuo-centric processor-controlled LED lighting can play a vital and essential role in the developing eyesight of humans to minimise the incidence and progression of myopia.
KEYWORDS: Eye-growth, ipRGCs, Myopia, LED, Sunlight,