You are viewing a javascript disabled version of the site. Please enable Javascript for this site to function properly.
Go to headerGo to navigationGo to searchGo to contentsGo to footer
In content section. Select this link to jump to navigation

Non-invasive alternating current stimulation improves vision in optic neuropathy


Purpose: Partial blindness after visual system damage is considered irreversible, yet the brain has residual visual capacities and considerable plasticity potential. We now applied non-invasive alternating current stimulation (ACS) to the visual system of patients with optic nerve damage with the aim to induce recovery of visual functions. Methods: In a prospective, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial patients with several year old partial optic nerve lesions were treated with ACS (n = 12) or placebo-stimulation (n = 10). ACS was delivered transorbitally for 40 minutes on 10 days. Visual outcome measures and EEG were measured before and after treatment. Results: ACS, but not placebo, led to significant improvement of a visual field detection deficit by 69%, and also significantly improved temporal processing of visual stimuli, detection performance in static perimetry, and visual acuity. These changes were associated with alpha-band changes in the EEG power spectra. Visual improvements were stable for at least 2-months. Conclusions: ACS can induce vision restoration many years after optic neuropathy. Though the mechanism is still unclear, EEG changes indicate increased synchronization in posterior brain regions. The present study provides Class Ib evidence that non-invasive transorbital ACS is well tolerated and improves visual function in optic neuropathy.