A pilot randomised clinical trial of 670 nm red light for reducing retinopathy of prematurity

Pediatr Res. 2020 Jan;87(1):131-136. doi: 10.1038/s41390-019-0520-7. Epub 2019 Aug 7.


Background: Photobiomodulation by 670 nm red light in animal models reduced severity of ROP and improved survival. This pilot randomised controlled trial aimed to provide data on 670 nm red light exposure for prevention of ROP and survival for a larger randomised trial.

Methods: Neonates <30 weeks gestation or <1150 g at birth were randomised to receive 670 nm for 15 min (9 J/cm2) daily until 34 weeks corrected age.

Data collected: placental pathology, growth, days of respiratory support and oxygen, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, patent ductus arteriosus, necrotising enterocolitis, sepsis, worst stage of ROP, need for laser treatment, and survival.

Results: Eighty-six neonates enrolled-45 no red light; 41 red light. There was no difference in severity of ROP (<27 weeks-p = 0.463; ≥27 weeks-p = 0.558) or requirement for laser treatment (<27 weeks-p = 1.00; ≥27 weeks-no laser treatment in either group). Survival in 670 nm red light treatment group was 100% (41/41) vs 89% (40/45) in untreated infants (p = 0.057).

Conclusion: Randomisation to receive 670 nm red light within 24-48 h after birth is feasible. Although no improvement in ROP or survivability was observed, further testing into the dosage and delivery for this potential therapy are required.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Australian Capital Territory
  • Birth Weight
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Extremely Premature
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / adverse effects
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / instrumentation*
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity / diagnosis
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity / prevention & control*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome