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Int J Ophthalmol. 2016 Jan 18;9(1):145-52. doi: 10.18240/ijo.2016.01.24. eCollection 2016.

Photobiomodulation for the treatment of retinal diseases: a review.

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Department of Ophthalmology, State University of New York, Upstate Medical University, Center for Vision Research, Syracuse, NY 13202, USA.


Photobiomodulation (PBM), also known as low level laser therapy, has recently risen to the attention of the ophthalmology community as a promising new approach to treat a variety of retinal conditions including age-related macular degeneration, retinopathy of prematurity, diabetic retinopathy, Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy, amblyopia, methanol-induced retinal damage, and possibly others. This review evaluates the existing research pertaining to PBM applications in the retina, with a focus on the mechanisms of action and clinical outcomes. All available literature until April 2015 was reviewed using PubMed and the following keywords: "photobiomodulation AND retina", "low level light therapy AND retina", "low level laser therapy AND retina", and "FR/NIR therapy AND retina". In addition, the relevant references listed within the papers identified through PubMed were incorporated. The literature supports the conclusion that the low-cost and non-invasive nature of PBM, coupled with the first promising clinical reports and the numerous preclinical-studies in animal models, make PBM well-poised to become an important player in the treatment of a wide range of retinal disorders. Nevertheless, large-scale clinical trials will be necessary to establish the PBM therapeutic ranges for the various retinal diseases, as well as to gain a deeper understanding of its mechanisms of action.


age-related macular degeneration; amblyopia; far-red to near-infrared; low level laser therapy; methanol toxicity; photobiomodulation; retinal degeneration; retinitis pigmentosa; retinopathy of prematurity

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