PEMF for Eye Diseases
BY JONATHAN BOWEN
The Benefit of PEMF for Eye Diseases
PEMF can greatly benefit eye diseases including macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, retinitis pigmentosa and others because it is effective in increasing micro-circulation in the eye, decreasing inflammation and assisting in nerve repair.
The eyes are complex organs which are heavily reliant on a of balanced blood flow and eye pressure to perform their critical functions. The eye contains many interrelated parts that combine to transmit light to the retina where it is translated into electrical messages and sent to the brain through the optic nerve. The cornea, pupil, lens, and iris are the parts we see in the mirror, while the retina, macular and optic nerve with all their smaller parts, such as rods and cones, hide behind the scenes.
Light enters the eye through the cornea. The amount of light entering the eye is controlled by the iris and the pupil. The lens focusses the light as it travels through the vitreous liquid to the retina. The retina has small photoreceptor cells called rods and cones. The rods are responsible for detection of light in low-light environments. The cones are responsible for detection of light in bright-light environments and differentiate colour and detect detail.
When light strikes the rod and cone cells a process called phototransduction cascade is initiated where light is converted into electrical signals and then transmitted along the optic nerve to the visual cortex of the brain.
As light travels through the eye there are various diseases that impede its journey or its detection by the retina. We are going to look at the various diseases of the eyes, how they occur, what parts of the eye they effect, and how PEMF can help with each.
PEMF for Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is the loss of vision or the distortion (blurring) of the central vision caused by the macula's progressive degeneration. This can result in difficulty recognizing faces, reading, viewing a computer screen or driving – anything requiring fine visual detection.
The macula is the tiny 5.5 mm oval-shaped area in the retina's centre, which contains the fovea at its centre. The six million cone light receptor cells responsible for detecting finer image details are spread throughout the eye but mainly concentrated in the fovea.
Macular degeneration is believed to be caused by oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and inflammation. Contributing factors have been identified as hypertension, atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, obesity, and too much wrong fat intake. Omega-3 fatty acids are helpful.
There are two types of degeneration, dry (atrophic) Age-Related Macular Degeneration (or Dry AMD) and wet (neovascular) macular degeneration (Wet MD).
DRY AMD – is caused by cellular debris accumulating between the retina and the choroid, causing scarring and degeneration of cells. (The choroid is the thin vascular area layer carrying blood between the retina and the sclera). This debris (called drusen) is a buildup of extracellular proteins and lipids in the macular which cause damage to the retina over time. As a result, the macula slowly thins out and dries or atrophies as part of the ageing process. These deposits are thought to be related to high cholesterol deposits. Between 80-90% of AMD cases are dry.
WET MD – is caused by the blood vessels between the retina and the sclera (in an area called the choroid) growing abnormally. The abnormal vessels are usually weak and can leak protein fluids or sometimes bleed (haemorrhage) behind the retina, causing scaring and damage to the photoreceptors cones.
Eye cells, like all cells, have a natural replacement process where old cells are retired in a process called autophagy. The retired cells are digested and disposed of naturally. When this process is impeded, retinal oxidative stress results and inflammation of the macular takes place, increasing macular degeneration.
A study focusing on the use of PEMF for macular degeneration concluded the following:
A PEMF system was used in the treatment of 283 eyes (177 patients) with macular damage of the retina. The treatment had a positive influence on the pathologic process in the eye, with stability of the benefit after treatment. In 152 eyes, visual acuity remained unchanged, improved in 131 (46%). In 72 eyes, the results of treatment were followed up for 6 yr, confirming the effectiveness of this method of treatment. Long-term observations have found the need to repeat the course of treatment every 3-5 months (within a year) to prevent progression of the damage. Unfortunately, we do not have information on the characteristics of the magnetic system used. Nevertheless, this study demonstrates the need for longer-term treatment to get sustainable results. When one considers the length of time it takes to regenerate neural tissues, this long-term personal, home use approach makes sense. (1)
Curatron has settings for MACULAR DEGENERATION for use with the various coils. It also has settings such as OXYGENATION that help deal with inflammation increasing the microcirculation and replacing damaged, weakened cells with strong, healthy ones. In addition, mitochondrial dysfunction is assisted by improving cell metabolism using settings such as METABOLIC DEFICIENCY.
PEMF treatment... had a positive influence
PEMF for Cataracts
The lens focuses the light that goes into the eye on the retina. Cataracts are caused when clumps of proteins or yellow-brown pigment in the lenses reduce the transmission of light to the retina at the back of the eye. Cataracts or clouded lenses result in faded colour perception, blurry vision, halos around light, trouble with bright lights and a decrease in night vision.
Diseases such as diabetic mellitus and hypertension can increase the production of cataracts. Injuries, radiation, UV light, microwaves, genetics, smoking, and certain medications can also cause cataracts.
There are several types of cataracts. For instance, nuclear sclerosis is when the centre of the lens (nucleolus) can become hardened as a concentration of brown pigment is built up. Cortical cataracts occur when the outer layer of the lens (cortex) becomes opaque due to fluid-causing fissures. Finally, posterior subcapsular cataracts occur when the back of the lens becomes cloudy.
PEMF can help reduce the progression and development of cataracts by increasing eye microcirculation. It reduces oxidative stress by encouraging the natural flow of fluids in and out of the eye, reducing the buildup of proteins or the yellow-brown pigment that clouds the lens. The increase in microcirculation allows blood cells to reach low vascular areas bringing oxygen, nutrients, and healthy fats and removing wastes rather than having them build up and create fibrous layers in the lenses, causing cloudiness in vision. PEMF also can treat some root causes, such as diabetes and hypertension.
In a scientific study published in the journal Ophthalmologica, the following was reported:
In previous mostly clinical studies, it has been shown that so-called low-frequency pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF) have a beneficial effect in wound healing, resorption of inflammatory edema or bleeds in various organs by stimulating metabolic processes, blood circulation and activating cell proliferation….
In the eye, the successful use of PEMF has been reported in corneal wound healing, dry eye syndrome, acute keratoconus, glaucoma, endocrine ophthalmopathy and various optic nerve lesions. (2)
PEMF for Glaucoma
Glaucoma causes vision loss due to damage to the optic nerve. Although there are many types of glaucoma, the most prevalent are Open-Angle Glaucoma and Closed-Angle Glaucoma.
Normal eye function requires the production of a plasma-like liquid called aqueous humor which keeps the shape of the eye by maintaining a constant pressure. It also transports nutrients for parts of the eye and provides infection projection against pathogens and foreign objects. The drainage network (called the trabecular meshwork) sits at the angle formed by the cornea and the iris.
Open-Angel Glaucoma is believed to be caused by the aqueous humor in the front of the lens not draining quickly enough through the drainage network and into the blood. This causes a gradual buildup of pressure on the optic nerve in the eye. As a result, open-Angle Glaucoma occurs gradually over time, affecting the peripheral and central vision. This is the most common form of Glaucoma, affecting 90% of people with Glaucoma in the USA.
Closed-Angle Glaucoma is caused by a sudden buildup of pressure on the eye’s optic nerve due to the complete blockage of the drainage network by the iris against the cornea, closing the angle altogether. It may come on suddenly (although not always) and can cause pain, blurred vision, mid-dilated pupils, redness of the eyes and may result in nausea. Closed-Angel Glaucoma is more prevalent in East Asian countries due to the genetic shape of the eye.
It is believed the pressure in the eye pushing against the optic nerve causes optic nerve compression trauma, a decrease in optic nerve blood flow, the degeneration of the axions and ganglions (nerve message transporters) and a host of other issues affecting the immune system, the loss of nerve fibres and neurons.
PEMF increases the microcirculation in the eyes, increasing the flow of the aqueous humor, and helping restore normal eye pressure. Curatron has settings such as OXYGENATION and WELLNESS that improve circulation. In addition, inflammation causing the blockage of fluid can be reduced, opening the pathways of the trabecular drainage meshwork using settings such as OEDEMA. PEMF also stimulates nerve repair and reduces neuritis (or inflammation of the nerves) using settings on the Curatron such as NEURITIS and NEUROSCLEROSIS.
Scientific studies have been conducted which conclude:
The influence of pulse electromagnetic field on the hydrodynamics of the eye in open-angle glaucoma has been studied…. Observations over 150 patients (283 eyes) with latent, initial and advanced glaucoma have shown that the usage of pulse electromagnetic field exerts influence on the hydrodynamics of the eye in open-angle glaucoma; stimulates the rise of aqueous outflow and production, the reduction of the Becker’s coefficient. At the latent stage of the disease, normalization of outflow was recorded in 25% of cases, at the initial and advanced stages–in 17.8% and 16.0% of cases, respectively. The investigations carried out allow to recommend the mentioned method for a complex treatment of open-angle glaucoma. (3)
In a later study the scientists concluded:
Courses of magnetotherapy (MT)… were administered to 31 patients (43 eyes) with primary open-angle glaucoma with compensated intraocular pressure.… The patients were examined before and 4 to 5 months after magnetotherap course. Vision acuity improved by 0.16 diopters, on an average, in 29 eyes (96.7%) out of 30 with vision acuity below 1.0 before treatment….
Magnetotherapy brought about an improvement of spatial contrast sensitivity by at least 7 values of 12 levels in 22 (84.6%) out of 26 eyes and was unchanged in 4 eyes.
After a course of magnetotherapy, visual field deficit decreased by at least 10% in 31 (72%) out of 43 eyes, increased in 3, and was unchanged in 9 eyes; on an average, visual field deficit decreased by 22.4% vs. the initial value.
After 4 to 5 months the changes in the vision acuity and visual field deficit were negligible. In controls these parameters did not appreciably change over the entire follow-up period. (4)
PEMF & Glaucoma
The influence of pulse electromagnetic field... stimulates the rise of aqueous outflow and production
PEMF for Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy is the damage caused to blood vessels in the retina due to diabetes. Symptoms can include dark spots or “floaters” in the eye, blurred vision, loss of colour perception, darkened areas in the eye, or fluctuating vision.
Diabetic retinopathy comes from an overabundance of sugar in the blood, which blocks the tiny vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the retina. The two stages are early and advanced.
Early diabetic retinopathy is the stage where new blood vessels are not growing and is called nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy. The micro blood vessels will bulge and sometimes leak fluid and blood into the retina. Nerve fibres will also begin to swell and in advanced diabetic retinopathy (also known as prolific diabetic retinopathy), the blood vessels which are damaged become blocked, and this causes new abnormal blood vessels to grow in the retina, interfering with fluid flow and causing pressure buildup and eventually glaucoma. In addition, the scarring can cause the retina to detach. The combination of these issues can cause damage to the nerve optic nerve.
PEMF can help on multiple levels with diabetic retinopathy. First, the root cause of diabetes can be greatly aided by PEMF. Secondarily, Curatron has settings such as DIABETES, and METABOLIC DEFICIENCY to help with the absorption of sugars and OXYGENATION to assist with microcirculation. Finally, the NEURITIS setting also helps with inflammation of the optic nerve.
PEMF for Retinitis Pigmentosa
Retinitis is a term used to refer to the inflammation of the retina, while Pigmentosa refers to the discolouration of the retina that occurs with retinitis.
Understanding how the rods and cones work helps us understand the disease Retinitis Pigmentosa.
When light strikes the rod and cone cells found in the retina, it is converted into electrical signals and then transmitted along the optic nerve to the brain’s visual cortex (this is a process called a phototransduction cascade).
In bright light, the rod cells are turned off, and the cone cells take over the interpretation of light. Rhodopsin is a pigment-containing sensory protein that converts light into electrical signals. During the conversion, rhodopsin splits into its two components of opsin (the colourless protein) and something called 11-cis-retinal (the pigmented molecule that is derived from vitamin A). The 11-cis-retinal component is recycled and transported back to the rods. This recycling and regeneration process occurs in darkness, and the rhodopsin protein is gradually regenerated, making the rods more sensitive to dim light.
Retinitis pigmentosa typically begins with the degeneration of rods and night blindness in youth, with the later destruction of cones and the loss of daytime vision. It is believed Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is due to a genetic imperfection that causes an incorrect protein to be supplied to the retina and also a vitamin A deficiency.
Gradually the photoreceptor cells die, and vision is lost over time. RP usually affects both the eyes and typically progresses toward the central visual field. In 2004 a study in the journal Ophthalmology looked at electrical currents and RP. The following was stated:
Retinitis pigmentosa results from outer retinal degeneration. This causes the outer portion of the inner anatomical retina (outer retina), composed primarily of photoreceptor outer and inner segments and their cell bodies, to become damaged, the inner portion (inner retina), comprising the remaining bipolar, horizontal, amacrine, and ganglion cells and nerve fibre layer, can be substantially spared. The presence of these relatively intact remaining retinal layers has led investigators to study the effect of electrical stimulation on these structures to improve vision. (5)
RP affects the back side of the retina, where the photoreceptors are, including the rods and the cones. The portion of the retina closest to the front side of the eye, which includes the bipolar, amacrine, horizontal and ganglion nerve cells, is usually spared. So, experiments in electrical stimulation were undertaken to see if vision could be improved. Following animal experimentation, the researchers moved to clinical trials. The conclusion:
Visual function improvements occurred in all patients and included unexpected vision improvements in retinal areas distant from the implant.
Electrical stimulation improved vision for patients with retinitis pigmentosa. Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy has also been found helpful. A 1990 study in the journal “Eye” entitled “Decreased Choroidal Blood Flow Associated with Retinitis” found the following:
The light sensitivities in pairs of eyes of four of the patients differed substantially and in all cases the eye with the better visual performance had the higher ocular pulsatile blood flow. It is concluded that relative choroidal ischemia (insufficient blood supply to the vascular layer of the eye) is closely associated with visual loss and pigment cell degeneration in patients with retinitis pigmentosa….
In view of the observations that substantial loss of PBF (pulsatile blood flow) was found in eyes of RP patients with partial visual loss, it would be logical to evaluate the therapeutic action of increased ocular blood flow on the course of retinal degeneration in RP patients that have not yet suffered severe visual loss. This rationale is supported by the observation that in individual patients the loss of blood flow was greatest in the eye with the poorer visual performance. (6)
This being the case, it is encouraging to find that PEMF plays a big role in increasing microcirculation, as was noted in the study looking at the effects of PEMF on ocular hydrodynamics (i.e. the flow of fluid in the eye):
Research evaluated the possible mechanisms for improvement seen in retinal function. The effectiveness of PEMF therapy is not the same in all patients. The benefits from PEMF treatment for 15-30 min usually last only for 8-10 days, consistent with the time to renew rod pigments in the retina. In addition, visual examination of the back of the eye after electromagnetic treatment reveals dilation of the capillaries. Hence, one conclusion is that the favourable effect of PEMF therapy was from improvement of microcirculation. They found that retinal circulation gradually increased from arterioles to capillaries and venules. It appears that the authors concluded that the conditions for retinal rod pigment restoration in the central area of the retina are less favourable than in its peripheral areas. Therefore, the therapeutic effect in patients with loss of vision in the central area of the retina will occur after a greater number of PEMF stimulation sessions. (7)
In a situation where cell damage has occurred, it is critical to get optimal performance out of the remaining cells. Cells perform well when they are energized with Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), which is generated in the Mitochondria. ATP is the battery of cells providing the energy for them to operate, no matter what their function. PEMF stimulation has been shown to improve mitochondrial function and ATP production in several studies. [For more information on this, see our article, The Science of Energy in the Human body].
The fuel for ATP production is derived from oxygen and nutrients delivered to the cells by the blood. Therefore, improving microcirculation in bringing oxygen and nutrients to the cells is critical for this process to occur. [For more information on this, see our article, Optimizing Blood Flow with PEMF].
For retinitis pigmentosa sufferers, photoceptor regeneration is critical. In a recent report entitled Spontaneous Regeneration of Human Photoreceptor Outer Segments, the authors stated the following:
Photoreceptors are damaged in many common eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, retinal detachment, and retinitis pigmentosa. The development of methods to promote the repair or replacement of affected photoreceptors is a major goal of vision research. In this context, it would be useful to know whether photoreceptors are capable of undergoing some degree of spontaneous regeneration after injury. We report a subject who lost retinal function in a wide zone around the optic disc, giving rise to massive enlargement of the physiological blind spot. Imaging with an adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscope (AOSLO) showed depletion of cone outer segments in the affected retina. A year later visual function had improved, with shrinkage of the enlarged blind spot. AOSLO imaging showed repopulation of cone outer segments, although their density remained below normal. There was a one-to-one match between sites of formerly missing outer segments and new outer segments that had appeared over the course of the year’s recovery. This correspondence provided direct morphological evidence that damaged cones are capable, under some circumstances, of generating new outer segments. (8)
The conclusion of the study is encouraging:
In humans with retinitis pigmentosa, AOSLO imaging has shown that ciliary neurotrophic factor can slow the rate of outer segment loss. With this report, we provide direct morphological evidence, based on before-and-after imaging of the same retina, that human outer segments can regenerate spontaneously. Normal photoreceptor outer segments undergo incremental renewal on a daily basis to replace membrane discs that are shed from their tips. The spontaneous restoration of outer segments in our subject may have harnessed this intrinsic mechanism, much like a new toenail can grow after one is lost from trauma. Determining the mechanisms that control outer segment renewal, and learning how to activate this process when necessary, may be useful for treatment of vision loss incurred by loss of outer segments.
While this research is in its preliminary form, and the search for mechanisms that control renewal it is ongoing, it is interesting to note how PEMF has been found to help with neural regeneration in other areas. A NASA PEMF neural stem cell stimulation study found the increased production of growth factors that would facilitate nerve regeneration:
The ability to use time varied electromagnetic fields (TVEMF) to control and proliferate rate, directional attitude, and molecular genetic expression of normal human neural progenitor cells has been demonstrated….
One may use this electrical potentiation for a number of purposes, including developing tissues for transplantation, repairing traumatized tissues, and moderating some neurodegenerative diseases and perhaps controlling the degeneration of tissue as might be effected in bioelectric stasis field. (9)
PEMF effectively provides a 50% improvement in the growth of nerve cells in a process called nerve sprouting in a laboratory setting. In live animal studies, high-intensity PEMF produced a 22% rate of nerve regeneration. (10)
The combination of exciting studies on the regeneration of photoreceptors with studies demonstrating the use of PEMF in neural regeneration provides hope for sufferers of diseases like retinitis pigmentosa and other eye diseases.
Blood Flow for Retinitis Pigmentosa
it would be logical to evaluate the therapeutic action of increased ocular blood flow on the course of retinal degeneration in RP patients
PEMF can help reduce hypertension.
Hypertension, Eye Diseases and PEMF
Hypertension has been identified in many different types of eye diseases. In a study on hypertension we read:
Hypertension has profound effects on both the structure and function of the vasculature in the eye. The retinal, choroidal, and optic nerve circulations undergo a range of pathophysiological changes in response to elevated blood pressure resulting in a spectrum of clinical signs known as hypertensive retinopathy, choroidopathy, and optic neuropathy, respectively. Hypertension is also a major risk factor for many other eye diseases, including the development and progression of diabetic retinopathy, retinal vein occlusion, retinal arterial macroaneurysm, and possibly age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma. (11)
Curatron’s anti-stress protocols have been noted to reduce hypertension, a doctor reported the following success regarding a patient:
“Blood pressure was 148/93. The patient was anxious looking, he is known hypertensive with sub optimal control. We put him on PEMF (anti-anxiety) for 30 min. His blood pressure dropped to 132/78, he says he felt calmer than when he got to the clinic.” (Dr. L. Adebayo.)
PEMF brought the patient’s blood pressure from “high” to an “ideal/pre-high”.
The dropping of high blood pressure (hypertension) can assist in many different areas when it comes to eyes as the report above indicates. The increase in circulation and decrease in stress all contribute to a drop in hypertension which is healthy for the eyes.
All of these diseases of the eye are tied to issues with microcirculation, the ability to maintain proper pressure in the eyes, and the healthy reproduction and replacement of cells within the eye structure. PEMF has been found to be critical to all of these processes and provides a promising adjunct to traditional therapies.
The impulse electromagnetic field in the treatment of dystrophic lesions of the retina. Skrinnik, A. V.; Kovalchuk, A. S. Oftalmol Zh 1989; 459-462.
Evaluation of Treatment by Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields in a Rabbit Hyphema Model. Gregor Wollensak and Felix Muchamedjarowa from the Department of Ophthalmology, Universitätsklinikum CGC; and Richard Funk from the Department of Anatomy, Technical University of Dresden, Dresden, Germany
The effect of a pulsed electromagnetic field on ocular hydrodynamics in open-angle glaucoma. Oftalmol Zh.1990; 89-92
Possibilities of magnetotherapy in stabilization of visual function in patients with glaucoma. Vestn Oftalmol. 1996 Jan-Mar; 112 (1):6-8. Bisvas Shutanto Kumar, Listopadova NA.
The Artificial Silicon Retina Microchip for the Treatment of Vision Loss From Retinitis Pigmentosa. Alan Y. Chow, MD; Vincent Y. Chow, BS; Kirk H. Packo, MD; et al John S. Pollack, MD; Gholam A. Peyman, MD; Ronald Schuchard, PHD. Ophthalmol. 2004;122(4):460-469. doi:10.1001/archopht.122.4.460
Decreased Choroidal Blood Flow Associated with Retinitis Pigmentosa. Eye, (1990) 4, 374-381. Maurice E. Langham and Theresa Kramer (Baltimore and Georgia USA).
The effect of a pulsed electromagnetic field on ocular hydrodynamics in open-angle glaucoma. Tsisel’skiĭ IuV. Oftalmol Zh. 1990;(2):89-92.
Spontaneous Regeneration of Human Photoreceptor Outer Segments . Jonathan C. Horton, Alicia B. Parker, James V. Botelho & Jacque L. Duncan. July 27, 2015. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS | 5:12364 | DOI: 10.1038/srep12364
Physiological and molecular genetic effects of time-varying electromagnetic fields on human neuronal cells. Goodwin T. NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston Texas, United States. NASA/TP-2003-212054
Electric and magnetic fields for bone and soft tissue repair. Polk C. Handbook of Biological effects of magnetic fields. 1995
Retinal Vascular Disease. Carol Yim Lui Cheung, Tien Yin Wong. Section 2, Chapter 49: Hypertension