For most people, a good night’s sleep means turning the lights off, but for people with diabetic retinopathy, having a bit more light at night might be a good idea.
In diabetic eye disease, the micro-vasculature, or small blood vessels, become damaged so can’t provide the oxygen the retina needs as easily.
During sleep, our rods, the photo-receptors that help us see in dim light, are more metabolically active, requiring more oxygen. Having the light on reduces their activity causing less oxygen to be required by the retina and reduce the sequence of changes that result from hypoxia or oxygen starvation of the retina.
Long term studies still need to be done and having the lights on might have unintended consequences, but still it is a promising area of research.
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