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"Their experiment blurs on insanity." A person runs other risks in eliminating or changing dietary vitamin A, too.“We see people with vitamin A deficiencies all the time and they are very visually impaired,” said Ver Hoeve.So the two began to study the literature on how to see in the infrared.Before the ubiquity of infrared goggles, military research projects dating back to the 1930s tested infrared vision in rats.“We’re talking about deficiency for upwards of a year,” Tibbetts said.“Until you get really far down this path, your vision would return within days [when you consume vitamin A again].” But not all experts are as critical.
Jim Ver Hoeve, a senior scientist in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, doesn't think it could work at all: “[Tibbetts and Licina] are saying that if they get a different form of vitamin A that it can alter the photoreceptor characteristics—which they’re not going to alter." The A2, he said, wouldn't have any effect on the wavelengths that the photoreceptors can absorb.The three experimenters have just completed a 25-day nutritional regimen and, as their bodies return to normal, they will continue to document their vision for the next two weeks.Very early results appear promising, albeit incomplete.The experimenters hypothesized that increased A2 might lower the range of wavelengths that these cones can absorb, extending from visible light down into the infrared spectrum.But the protocol also had some unexpected side effects, like reduced appetite and emotional instability, Licina said.
“They can’t see in the dark, the longer [the deficiency] goes on they can’t see in the light.” And the effects can sometimes be irreversible, from weakened immune systems to even death.