Tilottama Basnet, B. Optom

Student, Acharya Institute of Allied Health Sciences, Bengaluru, India


Myopia, also known as short-sightedness or near-sightedness is a prevalent disorder that mostly affects children.(1) The trend of myopia and high myopia prevalence is seen to be increasing from 23% to 54% and 3% to 20% from the year 2000 to 2050.(2)

High myopia has been found to be associated with vision-threatening ocular complications such as myopic maculopathy, glaucoma, or even retinal detachment.(3) Thus, the need for an effective treatment controlling myopia progression is vital in order to maintain good ocular health in turn leading to better quality of life.

With a variety of approaches to slow down the progression, an emerging approach of repeated low-level red-light (RLRL) therapy is also known as photo-biomodulation or low-level laser therapy (LLLT).(4-6) It is a non-invasive technique that involves delivering light directly to the retina for brief periods, using a device that emits red light at a wavelength of 600-700 nm.(7) By utilising low-intensity red light wavelength, this approach aims to stimulate healing and alleviate inflammation across diverse tissues within the body.(8,9)

A review article on the red-light effect on the animals indicated that the therapy induces hyperopia which as a result will reduce the myopic progression. In addition, it indicated a positive effect on the cornea and retina at a cellular level.(9) Similarly a human study involving children that was aimed at finding efficacy and safety of RLRL concluded that the therapy was effective with no adverse effect on the treatment. The intervention drastically slowed progression, axial elongation, and spherical equivalent error change.(5,6) Nearly a quarter of children have >0.05mm axial length (AL) shortening following 12 months of repeated low-level red light (RLRL) therapy, whereas AL shortening rarely occurred among control.(10)

In contrast to the above literature, a review article proposed the dual effect of red-light therapy on myopes. According to the authors, myopia progression can be inhibited in the myopes who are sensitive to red illumination but not white illumination; on the other hand, it can lead to the progression of myopia for those who are sensitive to both red and white illumination.(11)


The effectiveness of red-light therapy is still a question mark. Though studies have shown a reduction in myopia progression the proposed dual theory of the red-light therapy cannot be neglected. Also, it leaves the path open for new approaches to deal with myopia progression.



  1. Dolgin E. The myopia boom. Nature. 2015 Mar 19;519(7543):276-8. doi: 10.1038/519276a. PMID: 25788077.
  2. Holden BA, Fricke TR, Wilson DA, et al. Global prevalence of myopia and high myopia and temporal trends from 2000 through 2050. Ophthalmology. 2016;123(5): 1036e1042.
  3. Morgan IG, Ohno-Matsui K, Saw SM. Myopia. Lancet. 2012 May 5;379(9827):1739-48. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60272-4. PMID: 22559900.
  4. Xiong F, Mao T, Liao H, et al. Orthokeratology and low-intensity laser therapy for slowing the progression of myopia in children. Biomed Res Int. 2021;2021: 8915867.
  5. Jiang Y, Zhu Z, Tan X, et al. Effect of repeated low-level redlight therapy in myopia control in children: a multicenter randomized controlled trial. Ophthalmology. 2022;129(5):509e519.
  6. Avci P, Gupta A, Sadasivam M, Vecchio D, Pam Z, Pam N, Hamblin MR. Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) in skin: stimulating, healing, restoring. Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2013 Mar;32(1):41-52. PMID: 24049929; PMCID: PMC4126803.
  7. Xiong R, Zhu Z, Jiang Y, Kong X, Zhang J, Wang W, Kiburg K, Yuan Y, Chen Y, Zhang S, Xuan M, Zeng J, Morgan IG, He M. Sustained and rebound effect of repeated low-level red-light therapy on myopia control: A 2-year post-trial follow-up study. Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2022 Dec;50(9):1013-1024. doi: 10.1111/ceo.14149. Epub 2022 Sep 7. PMID: 36054314; PMCID: PMC10086781.
  8. Lynda Seminara. Red-Light Therapy for Myopia Control. American academy of ophthalmology, may 2022
  9. Huang, Z., He, T., Zhang, J., & Du, C. (2022). Red light irradiation as an intervention for myopia. Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, 70(9), 3198.
  10. Baird PN, Saw SM, Lanca C, et al. Myopia. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2020;6(1):99.
  11. Huang, J., Jiang, B. C., Chu, R. Y., & Qu, X. M. (2009). Double effects of red light on the development of myopia. Bioscience Hypotheses, 2(6), 410-412.