Objective: The objective of this study of a case series was to examine the effects of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) in patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Background data: AMD affects a large proportion of the elderly population; current therapeutic options for AMD are limited, however.
Patients and methods: In total, 203 patients (90 men and 113 women; mean age 63.4 +/- 5.3 y) with beginning ("dry") or advanced ("wet") forms of AMD (n = 348 eyes) were included in the study. One hundred ninety-three patients (mean age 64.6 +/- 4.3 y; n = 328 eyes) with cataracts (n = 182 eyes) or without cataracts (n = 146 eyes) were treated using LLLT four times (twice per week). A semiconductor laser diode (780 nm, 7.5 mW, 292 Hz, continuous emission) was used for transconjunctival irradiation of the macula for 40 sec (0.3 J/cm2) resulting in a total dose of 1.2 J/cm2. Ten patients (n = 20 eyes) with AMD received mock treatment and served as controls. Visual acuity was measured at each visit. Data were analyzed retrospectively using a t-test.
Results: LLLT significantly improved visual acuity (p < 0.00001 versus baseline) in 162/182 (95%) of eyes with cataracts and 142/146 (97%) of eyes without cataracts. The prevalence of metamorphopsia, scotoma, and dyschromatopsia was reduced. In patients with wet AMD, edema and bleeding improved. The improved vision was maintained for 3-36 mo after treatment. Visual acuity in the control group remained unchanged. No adverse effects were observed in those undergoing therapy.
Conclusion: In patients with AMD, LLLT significantly improved visual acuity without adverse side effects and may thus help to prevent loss of vision.