Eye drops may be the way to overcome jet lag

19 April 2017

Scientists have now found that cells in the retina can help control your internal body clock.

Eye drops could be the key to beating jet lag.

If you’ve ever travelled a long distance you’ll know the hold jet lag can have over you, and it can be particularly hard to shake off when you get home and need to get back to normal life.

But scientists have now found that cells in the retina can help control your internal body clock by sending signals to the part of the brain that regulates our daily circadian rhythm, a 24-hour cycle in the physiological processes of living beings.

A team from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, found that the retina has its own group of cells which can communicate with the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), or the body’s “master clock”. It’s here that the body is synchronised to light-dark changes and body temperature, brain activity and hormone production are regulated.

Read more: What you need to know about social jet lag

“Our exciting results show a potentially new pharmacological route to manipulate our internal biological clocks,” said lead investigator Mike Ludwig, Professor of Neurophysiology at The University of Edinburgh.

“Studies in the future which alter vasopressin signalling through the eye could lead to developing eye drops to get rid of jet lag, but we are still a long way off from this.”

The research comes hot on the heels of another jet lag study; in this, an investigation, a team from Stanford University Medical Center in California found that timed flashes of light during sleep may be the best way to combat jet lag.

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