Photobiomodulation—A New Treatment For Dry AMD?

(Updated 11/8/17)
A new non-invasive technology from LumiThera Inc. may help improve vision in  people with dry age-related macular degeneration.
Photobiomodulation involves exposure of the retina to light from diodes emitting red, yellow, and infrared wavelengths. Researchers in Switzerland and Toronto recently found that treating eyes three times a week for three weeks improved best corrected visual acuity by a mean of six to 10 letters in 48%, and 11 to 15 letters in 12% of the 24 subjects enrolled in the trial.
Contrast sensitivity and number and thickness of drusen also improved, with the improvement lasting for three months. Additionally, no new development of geographic atrophy occurred during that period. The treatment utilizes the LT-300 instrument devised by LumiThera.
Based upon these encouraging results, a follow-up clinical trial called LIGHTSITE I is fully enrolled and targeted to complete in 2018. The study is partially funded by a NIH National Eye Institute grant.

“We have examined the interim data from the LIGHTSITE I study for up to the first 3 months following treatment with a multi-wavelength PBM therapy and results have demonstrated statistically significant vision benefits in dry AMD patients that were maintained for the 3 month interval,” stated Samuel Markowitz, M.D., Co-Principal Investigator, Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences, University of Toronto. “The PBM treatment was most beneficial in AMD patients with better vision reaching statistically significant benefits in both visual acuity and contrast sensitivity (p < 0.05).”

“We are encouraged by these interim clinical results which are consistent with outcomes we have seen previously,” stated Clark Tedford, Ph.D., LumiThera President and CEO. ” Patients will undergo a second series of treatments at the 6-month time point. These early clinical results allow us to better understand the dry AMD patient response and provides further refinement opportunities in the design of the upcoming multi-center clinical trials expected to start in Europe in 2018.”

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