gms | German Medical Science

25th Annual Meeting of the German Retina Society

German Retina Society

01.06. - 02.06.2012, Münster

Electrical stimulation: a new strategy for retinal degenerative disease?

Meeting Abstract

  • Florian Gekeler - Universitäts-Augenklinik Tübingen
  • B. Wilhelm - Universitäts-Augenklinik Tübingen
  • T. Peters - Universitäts-Augenklinik Tübingen
  • G. Willmann - Universitäts-Augenklinik Tübingen
  • L. Naycheva - Universitäts-Augenklinik Tübingen
  • M. Gosheva - Universitäts-Augenklinik Tübingen
  • T. Röck - Universitäts-Augenklinik Tübingen
  • E. Zrenner - Universitäts-Augenklinik Tübingen
  • K.U. Bartz-Schmidt - Universitäts-Augenklinik Tübingen

German Retina Society. 25th Annual Conference of the German Retina Society. Münster, 01.-02.06.2012. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2012. Doc12rg15

doi: 10.3205/12rg15, urn:nbn:de:0183-12rg156

This is the translated version of the article.
The original version can be found at:

Published: May 30, 2012

© 2012 Gekeler et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



For several years transcorneal electrical stimulation (TES) with weak currents has been tested to treat retinal degenerative diseases. The effect of TES has been attributed to the release of various neuro-protective factors.

A first prospective, randomized, and controlled pilot study, which has been conducted by our group (Schatz et al., IOVS 2011), showed in 24 patients with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) that TES is safe. Stimulation was performed weekly for six consecutive weeks using DTL electrodes; duration was 30 minutes each week, frequency was 20 Hz. TES also showed significant better visual field area by 17% (Goldmann III/IVe) and larger amplitudes of the scotopic b-wave amplitude in the subgroup of 8 patients which were stimulated with 150% current of their individual phosphene threshold. No significant effects were seen in the subgroups with sham stimulation and 66% stimulation (both n=8). – In the identically conducted studies in patients with retinal artery occlusion, non-arteritic anterior ischemic neuropathy and M. Stargardt, no significant effects were observed. However, these studies were smaller with n=12 (i.e. 4 patients per group). In neither any adverse effects except for dry eye symptoms (n=3) were seen.

The results of the first study in TES following principles of good clinical practice in RP are favorable. However, duration of the study and number of participants in each group was small. Therefore, studies with longer duration and more participants are currently under way.