Bill Harvey: Remain in the light
When will ECPs fully embrace the new knowledge of light and health interactions?
Author: Bill Harvey
You may want to listen to latest edition of Start the Week on the BBC Sounds app. A key researcher into the way light, by way of its influence upon our bodies’s circadian rhythms, has major health implications can be heard describing his work and promoting his new book.
I was lucky enough to organise an interview with Professor Russell Foster some years back, something I was very keen to do after he had written an excellent feature on circadian rhythms for Optician. One of his stories that particularly resonated back then, and which he repeats in the radio programme, was somewhat akin to Bob Dylan’s Judas moment in Manchester in the 1960s. Foster, as a keen young researcher, had confirmed the existence of a third retinal light receptor. When presenting his results to a conference of ‘vision scientists’, one of the audience raised a hand as if to ask a question. When asked to speak, however, he instead shouted: ‘B@%$&*#!’ and walked out. Listening to the recent BBC interview, it was sad to hear Foster still describing the intransigence of vision scientists.
As someone who recently started a systemic anti-hypertensive, I was more interested to hear him discuss new results showing how the time at which drugs are administered has a big impact upon their effect. Vaccines, for example, appear to promote stronger antibody response at certain times of the day. My tablets, which I was told to take each morning, apparently work much better taken at night. Indeed, the night dose reduces the risk of stroke by a half. Will my GP respond to any query from me in the same BS way?
More importantly, when will eye care professionals fully embrace the new knowledge of light and health interactions?
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