Photobiomodulation reduces drusen volume and improves visual acuity and contrast sensitivity in dry age-related macular degeneration

Graham F. Merry,¹ Marion R. Munk,² Robert S. Dotson,¹ Michael G. Walker³ and
Robert G. Devenyi⁴,⁵,⁶

¹Photospectra Health Sciences, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
²Department of Ophthalmology, Inselspital University Hospital, Berne, Switzerland
³Walker Statistical Consulting, Carlsbad, California, USA
⁴Ophthalmologist in Chief and Director of Retinal Services, The Donald K. Johnson Eye Center, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
⁵Ophthalmology, The University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
⁶Vitreoretinal Surgery Lead, The Kensington Eye Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

ABSTRACT.
Purpose: To evaluate the efficacy of photobiomodulation (PBM) treatment for patients with dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Methods: Assessments on 42 eyes with dry AMD (age related eye disease study (AREDS) 2–4) were conducted. Multiwavelength light emitting diode (LED) light comprising of yellow (590 nm), red (670 nm) and near-infrared (790 nm) bandwidths was applied to subjects’ eyes for a treatment course of 3 weeks. Outcome measures were changes in best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA), contrast sensitivity (CS), drusen volume and central drusen thickness.

Results: Significant improvement in mean BCVA of 5.90 letters (p < 0.001) was seen on completion of the 3-week treatment and 5.14 letters (p < 0.001) after 3 months. Contrast sensitivity improved significantly (log unit improvement of 0.11 (p = 0.02) at 3 weeks and 3 months (log unit improvement of 0.16 (p = 0.02) at three cycles per degree. Drusen volume decreased by 0.024 mm³ (p < 0.001) and central drusen thickness was significantly reduced by a mean of 3.78 µm (p < 0.001), while overall central retinal thickness and retinal volume remained stable.

Conclusion: This is the first study demonstrating improvements in functional and anatomical outcomes in dry AMD subjects with PBM therapy. These findings corroborate an earlier pilot study that looked at functional outcome measures. The addition of anatomical evidence contributes to the basis for further development of a non-invasive PBM treatment for dry AMD.

Read the PDF: Merry-Acta-Ophthalmologica-2017

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