Transcutaneous Electrical Retinal Stimulation Therapy for Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Kei Shinoda1, 2, Yutaka Imamura1, Sayaka Matsuda1, Maiko Seki1, Atsuro Uchida1, Terry Grossman3, Kazuo Tsubota*, 1
1 Department of Ophthalmology, Keio University School of Medicine, 35 Shinanomachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-8582, Japan
2 Laboratory of Visual Physiology, National Institute of Sensory Organs, National Hospital Organization, Tokyo Medi-cal Center, 2-5-1 Higashigaoka, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-8902, Japan
3 Frontier Medical Institute, 2801 Youngfield St - Suite 117, Golden, Colorado, 80401, USA

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* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Ophthalmology, Keio University School of Medicine, 35 Shinanomachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-8582, Japan; E-mail:


This reports the preliminary outcome of a transpalpebral electrical retinal stimulation therapy for age-related macular degeneration (ARMD).

Twenty-one patients consisting of 16 with wet-type (Group-W) and 5 with dry-type (Group-D) ARMD with a mean age of 73.9 ± 9.5 years (range 51 to 85 years) were recruited for this study. Transpalpebral electrical retinal stimulation (20 minutes, 800 μA) was applied on the patients 4 times per day for up to 1 month. The mean best-corrected visual acuity (Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study [ETDRS] score) changed from 29.5±5.1 to 31.8±5.0 in Group-W and from 39.8±4.7 to 42.9±4.9 in Group-D. Neither ocular nor systemic adverse effects were observed with the exception of one patient who developed contact dermatitis. Due to several limitations such as lack of control, patients’ learning effect, etc, the efficacy of the therapy could not be drawn. This preliminary study, however, showed that the transpalpebral electrical retinal stimulation therapy can be non-invasively applied on wet-type ARMD patients.