Laser treatment in retinitis pigmentosa-a review

Lasers Med Sci. 2020 Oct;35(8):1663-1670. doi: 10.1007/s10103-020-03036-9. Epub 2020 May 20.


Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a common inherited retinal disease for which effective treatment is not yet known. This review sought to analyze the available medical literature covering the efficacy of different forms of laser treatment for RP in laboratory and clinical trials. The PubMed database was searched using the following phrases: "laser photocoagulation", "subthreshold laser", "nanolaser", "micropulse laser", "retinitis pigmentosa", "rod-cone dystrophy", and "retinal dystrophy". Results were stratified as clinical or experimental studies. Six studies involving animal models and three studies involving human subjects that examined laser treatment in RP were found. Laboratory studies on rodents favored classic laser photocoagulation as the most effective therapy for slowing the progression of proto-oncogene tyrosine-protein kinase MER-related RP. Two clinical studies on humans suggested transient but robust functional benefits of subthreshold micropulse laser treatment in RP. The available material is too scarce to define laser treatment as a standard procedure to treat RP in humans. Nondamaging retinal laser therapy should be tested more intensively in clinical trials as there is no proven negative side effect of that treatment and the theoretical background, especially the chaperone and reparative roles of heat shock proteins elicited during the procedure, supports this form of RP management.

Keywords: Laser photocoagulation; Retinitis pigmentosa; Selective retina therapy; Subthreshold diode micropulse.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy*
  • Proto-Oncogene Mas
  • Retina / radiation effects
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa / physiopathology
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome