Is it really as simple as Chlorophyll eye drops ? Or is it just eating more greens ?
Washington is now developing ways to deliver chlorophyll to human eyes safely and easily, perhaps through drops. He believes that a night-vision drug would be most useful on the battlefield, so it is no surprise that the U.S. Department of Defense is funding his work. "The military would want this biological enhancement so they don't have to carry nighttime goggles" during operations in the dark, he says.
31 May 2007
Eating your greens rather than carrots could be the key to good night-time vision, according to scientists in the US. Ilyas Washington and colleagues at Columbia University, New York, have shown that a chlorophyll derivative can enhance eye sensitivity to red light
Chlorophyll derivative chlorine e6 enhances eye sensitivity to red light.In sight, light activates a visual pigment that sends an electrical signal to the brain. This process happens in the retina in cone and rod cells. Rod cells are insensitive to colour and the cone cells are mainly responsible for our colour vision. However, in dim light the cone cells cannot function and we largely perceive the world in black and white. This also means we are dependent on rod cells to see in the dark. Since these cells are particularly insensitive at the red end of the visible spectrum, Washington asked: 'How might one enhance red light night-time vision?'
"It is possible that taking a chlorophyll derivative supplement could improve night vision"
- Ilyas Washington Prompted by research suggesting that deep-sea dragonfish see using chlorophyll, the scientists gave mice a chlorophyll derivative, chlorin e6, to see if their red vision was improved. Using a technique called electroretinography, which measures retinal cell responses to a flash of light, the researchers found that the treated mice showed almost double the response to red light when compared to non-treated mice. The group also showed that the chlorin e6 was localised in the retina and conclude that the increased visual sensitivity is a result of light absorption by the chlorophyll derivative.Washington is currently performing similar research in people. It is possible that taking a chlorophyll derivative supplement could improve night vision, he said.