In their study, which appeared in the journal Nutrition Research, the researchers hypothesized that the polyphenols in bog bilberry extract can protect retinal pigment epithelial cells from damage caused by blue light. To test this hypothesis, they first obtained bog bilberry extracts using water, ethanol, and HP20 resin as extraction solvents. They then analyzed the extracts and found that the resin fraction had the highest polyphenol activity.
Therefore, the researchers isolated the active compounds present in the resin fraction. They found that it contained flavonoids, anthocyanins, phenylpropanoids, and iridoids. They treated cell cultures with bog bilberry extract and its active components before exposing them to blue light. The results showed that treatment with bog bilberry extract and each of its active components reduced cell death and inhibited A2E accumulation, which is associated with the development of retinal diseases.
In addition, the researchers also looked into the effects of bog bilberry treatment on mice. They exposed the mice to blue light for one hour every day for two weeks to induce retinal damage. They found that treatment with polyphenol-rich bog bilberry extract prevented the loss of outer nuclear layer thickness and nuclei in mice photoreceptor cells.
Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that bog bilberry is a good source of bioactive compounds that can protect the eyes from damage caused by blue light and potentially treat age-related macular degeneration.
Earlier studies showed that too much exposure to blue light from computer screens and digital devices could lead to digital eye strain. This type of strain causes symptoms like sore or irritated eyes and difficulty in focusing. Other studies also suggested that prolonged exposure to blue light could eventually result in retinal cell damage. Retinal damage can cause problems like age-related macular degeneration. (Related: Prolonged exposure to blue light from mobile phones can lead to macular degeneration.)
A recent study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that taking bog bilberry extract could reduce eye strain caused by tablet computers.
For the study, researchers from Dongguk University in South Korea recruited 60 participants and divided them into two groups. One group took 1,000 milligrams (mg) of bog bilberry extract every day for four weeks, while the other group took a placebo. The researchers then evaluated eye strain symptoms by giving the participants a questionnaire to answer regarding ocular symptoms. The participants completed these questionnaires before and after tablet computer watching over the course of four weeks.
The results showed that taking bog bilberry extract improved various symptoms. In particular, it reduced tired eyes, sore or aching eyes, irritated eyes, watery eyes, dry eyes, blurred vision, visual discomfort, and eye strain. The researchers explained that this eye strain-reducing effect could be attributed to bog bilberry's powerful antioxidant activity.
Visit AlternativeMedicine.news to read more about natural ways to protect the eyes from blue light damage.