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Alternating current stimulation is a non-invasive method to stimulate brain functions in patients that have suffered brain lesions due to stroke and brain trauma or have optic nerve or retina diseases, such as optic nerve damage, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic neuropathy, amblyopia and others. Read the full list of treatable diseases. The current pulses delivered to the brain by stimulation improve brain synchronization. This means that nerve cells of the brain start to function better again.  The brain may be looked up on as a receiver that amplifies the residual visual signals, processes them and interprets them as sight. Improved synchronization leads to greater amplification of residual vision.
Brain centers communicate with each other by sending tiny electrical impulses (called “action potentials”) to each other. When two brain centers communicate often, the connection between them gets stronger. But if they are not used much, the connection gets weaker or, in the long run, it may be lost. This principle of “use it or lose it” applies to any lesion type, irrespective of where the lesion is located; in the retina, the optic nerve or deep inside the brain.

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.

The SAVIR Center offers treatment for patients with visual dysfunctions caused by damage of the central nervous system, that is, retina, optic nerve and brain.

Treatable diseases are:

  • Glaucoma
  • 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.

Clinical studies allows us to estimate the degree of improvement following ACS treatement The following are average values for one course of treatment for 10 days:

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.

There are no severe, adverse, side effects. Rare side effects that occurred after or during the treatment may be:

    • rare cases of mild headaches
    • occasionally mild prickling under electrode
    • slight dizziness
    • fatigue
    • Temporary fluctuations of blood pressure

Sleeping difficulties at night during the first days of treatment (usually stress related)

Savir center is dedicated to improve vision in patients with a damaged the retina, optic nerve or the brain´s visual system. We use different methods to activate residual vision so to strengthen the remaining vision potentials. While non-invasive brain current stimulation (ACS) is our main method of treatment, we evaluate the patients´ vision both objectively and subjectively to select the best possible treatment and personal recommendations from a menu of options. They include methods to better cope with vision loss, compensate for the loss, and improve the residual visual functions that are still there using different training methods. We also teach you to better understand your own vision loss and recommend specific home exercises to improve your vision and give advice concerning lifestyle, nutrition and mental health. Our treatment is holistic, far beyond what eye doctors offer. SAVIR does not replace the medical care of your eye doctors but offers “add-ons” and supplementary medical, health care and psychological recommendations.
The patient sits comfortably in a chair. Two electrodes are attached above the eyebrows and one on the arm. The patient sits for 30 minutes during which time alternating currents in specific frequencies and amplitudes (< 1 mA, smaller than a heart pace maker) are passed through the stimulating electrodes which are attached to the skin. Every session takes about 1 hour per day and the whole treatment lasts 10 days (= 2 x 5 working days).  Here you can watch a video of a session:

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.

Consider these points when deciding if to try vision restoration:

  • 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).
Savir  therapy lasts 2 weeks. On the first and the last day the entry and final diagnostics will be done, so you will have to stay 4-5 hours at Savir Center on those diagnostics days. On the other days when treatment is done , you will need to come to SAVIR approx. for about 1 hour each.
The High Resolution Perimetry (HRP) is a computer program that measures your visual field loss with a high quality resolution, showing areas of residual vision. The results are presented graphically and statistically, and they are needed for therapy planning and monitoring.

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.  

Example:

Please read exclusion and inclusion criteria  to learn if you can become a SAVIR-Center patient.  The contact your SAVIR center for further information.

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.

If you have any additional question, don´t hesitate to write us in the Contact form or send an Email to info@savir-center.com