Purpose: In this study, the aim was to evaluate the safety of transcorneal electrical stimulation (TES) treatment in retinitis pigmentosa (RP) patients and to investigate the effect of TES to the visual acuity (VA), visual field (VF), and multifocal electroretinogram (mfERG) findings. Methods: Two hundred two eyes of 101 RP patients with different stages were studied. TES was applied for 30 min once a week for 8 consecutive weeks. Two hundred eyes of 100 RP patients were enrolled as control. After the 2-month TES therapy sessions, patients were followed for 4 months without treatment. Examinations were done at the baseline before TES treatment and 1 and 6 months after the treatment. Best-corrected VA (BCVA), color fundus photography, VF test, optical coherence tomography, and mfERG tests were done at each visit. Results: The mean BCVA and VF tests improved 1 month after the beginning of TES treatment and the improvements were statistically significant (P < 0.05). There was an improvement in p1 wave amplitude in rings 1, 2, and 3 at the first month. The latency of the p1 wave showed a statistically significant shortening in rings 1 and 2. These improvements partially disappeared at 6-month follow-up. There were no serious ocular side effects related to the therapy. Mild dry eye symptoms were observed, which were revealed by artificial tears. Conclusions: TES is a safe therapy without any serious advers effects. Although it can improve VA and VF of RP patients, the beneficial effects could be transient and repeated sessions can be necessary for maintaining the efficiency.
Keywords: neuroprotection; retinitis pigmentosa; transcorneal electrical stimulation.