Just like muscle training increases muscle strength, the connection between the eye and brain centers that process vision (such as the visual cortex) can be strengthened by repetitive use. Whereas vision training uses small light stimuli to activate tiny regions of the retina, alternating current stimulation treatment provides electrical impulses generated by a stimulator through several electrodes which are attached to the forehead near your eyes. These electrical impulses make nerve fibers and neuronal networks fire more often and this then strengthens their connectivity of the brain´s “information highway” between eye and brain. Especially when all cells fire at the same time in a synchronized manner, which our alternating current triggers, this strengthens the connection in a lasting way (“what fires together, wires together”). As a consequence, the brain centers that were less responsive to the incoming impulses (due to partial blindness), now become more sensitive again after current stimulation and start responding more easily to the natural electrical signals trying to reach the brain.
In patients suffering partial blindness the brain cannot properly process visual information or gets to little input from the eye which then leads to so-called “visual field defects”. Since the treatment boosts the sensitivity of these partially damaged areas, “residual” brain cells become more active again and this then leads to increases in the size of the visual field and in faster reaction times.
Vision is not possible without input from the retina. However, it is the activity of brain cortical networks analyzing retinal data that results in the conscious experience of being able to see. Alternating current stimulation targets these brain networks, modifying connections between different brain regions. It is these changes that improve your vision again.
Treatable diseases are:
- Optic nerve damage and retinal trauma
- Vision loss after stroke or brain trauma
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Optic neuropathy
- Macular degeneration (AMD)
- Unspecific or unexplained vision loss
- Amblyopia and cortical blindness
Diseases not treatable:
- Problems with the eye´s optics or refraction (cornea/ lens/ cataracts)
- We do not offer LASIK.
It was long thought that vision impairments or loss after damage to the brain, optic nerve or the retina, such as after stroke or glaucoma, is irreversible. Therefore it was assumed that daily activities such as reading or driving a motor vehicle and spatial orientation cannot be improved. But several new studies indicate that treatment with alternating current stimulation (ACS) for 10 days (30-40 minutes daily) can significantly reduce the visual impairments and improve quality of life.
These results were published by Prof. Dr. Bernhard Sabel and his team in internationally recognized scientific journals. In these studies it was shown that ACS treatment improved visual field loss by 25-40 percent, on average. In contrast to a control group of patients who were not treated, those treated with ACS showed a significant visual field improvement. This was confirmed by the patients´ reports of subjective improvements of their general vision.
Effect size (on average):
- 24% larger visual field size
- 60% better vision in impaired visual field sector
- 70% of patients report subjective improvements
- But 1/3 of the patients show no changes
- Note: return to normal vision is not expected
Subjective reports from patients:
- Faster reaction time and better reading ability
- Improved acuity (often new glasses needed!)
- Less glare
- Clearing of “foggy vision” (“dirty glasses”)
- Enlargement of field of vision
Note of caution: „Average“ values do not indicate, what kind of improvement an individual patient can expect, because the calculation of an average includes the values of patients that do not improve, those that improve below average, and those that improve above or far above average. Therefore, please note that the improvement may vary dramatically between individual patients. Unfortunately, it is not possible to predict for individual patients how much improvement to expect.
- rare cases of mild headaches
- occasionally mild prickling under electrode
- slight dizziness
- Temporary fluctuations of blood pressure
Sleeping difficulties at night during the first days of treatment (usually stress related)
Alternating current stimulation has been used in Germany already as early as 1870 and in Japan, and Russia since the 1980´s in thousands of patients. It was introduced to the Western world again by Prof. Sabel and his team and meantime we have treated several hundreds of patients in a systematic way. Only because of recent clinical studies from the Sabel group together with other national and international partners to we have a sound scientific and systematic understanding of the treatment effects.
When asking your doctor about vision restoration he or she may likely not have heard about it. Non-invasive altering current stimulation is a very new therapy method developed and researched by the SAVIR team for over 10 years. Clinical proof that it works was only published in the last few years so it is not surprising that it is not well known to every doctor. The medical community is only slowly beginning to become aware of this new option, tough at international scientific conferences the new findings meet great interest and others are starting to do research with it. This is why you should not be surprised if your doctor has a skeptical attitude towards vision restoration. This is what our patient Joe Lovett heard from his eye doctor when inquiring about vision restoration: “you are wasting your time and money. Forget it!” But Joe decided to go anyway because he felt that as an educated risk-taker he would give it a try. Now, after seeing his visual improvements, his doctor has sent more patients.
- There are no side effects and no harmful risks.
- Science has shown that there is an excellent chance to improve visual field parameters and quality of life. Patients report better reading, ability to avoid collisions, ability to perform hobby activities, confidence in mobility, and general vision improvement such as clearing of foggy vision and less glare.
- 70% of our patients got better visual fields and/or reported subjective improvements.
- But we cannot be certain that vision improvement happens in every single patient. Although it is highly probable, we cannot guarantee it (which is also true for other medical treatments).
During the test the patient has to detect small light spots on the computer monitor and react to them by pressing the button. Every light dot tests a certain part of the visual field. If the patient detects this dot correctly, vision is intact. This will be represented as a white area on the visual field map. That means that this area has full vision. If the patient detects the light dot only sometimes, missing a few, this represents as a grey color that indicates “partial vision”. Such grey areas are due to your visual disease , but they represent what is called “residual vision”. They are regions that are neither dead not healthy. These areas of “residual vision” are areas that have the greatest relevance for therapy because they have the best potential to recover or being restored. The more grey dots there are the greater the chance to improve vision after therapy. If the patient did not detect any of presented dots, shown by black regions, this means that nerve cells that corresponds with this area are not able to respond to the presented light stimuli.
Please contact us to obtain the information about estimated therapy costs.
We are happy to try to identify patients willing to share with you their experience at SAVIR Center. If possible, we will match the language and disease. To establish such a connection, please contact us.