Light treatments of nail fungal infections

J Biophotonics. 2018 Mar;11(3). doi: 10.1002/jbio.201700350. Epub 2018 Jan 9.


Nail fungal infections are notoriously persistent and difficult to treat which can lead to severe health impacts, particularly in the immunocompromized. Current antifungal treatments, including systemic and topical drugs, are prolonged and do not effectively provide a complete cure. Severe side effects are also associated with systemic antifungals, such as hepatotoxicity. Light treatments of onychomycosis are an emerging therapy that has localized photodynamic, photothermal or photoablative action. These treatments have shown to be an effective alternative to traditional antifungal remedies with comparable or better cure rates achieved in shorter times and without systemic side effects. This report reviews significant clinical and experimental studies in the field, highlighting mechanisms of action and major effects related to light therapy; in particular, the impact of light on fungal genetics.

Keywords: lasers; onychomycosis; photoablative; photodynamic therapy; photothermal.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Mycoses / therapy*
  • Nails / microbiology*
  • Phototherapy / methods*