Repeated low-level red-light (RLRL) therapy slows myopia progression and axial elongation in children with myopia, according to a study published in Ophthalmology.
Researchers enrolled 112 children with myopia in a randomized, double-blind, controlled study and stratified them according to treatment method. Participants underwent either RLRL therapy (n=56; 46.6% boys; mean age, 10.3 years) or sham treatment (n=55; 53.6% boys; mean age, 9.86 years).
Patients followed a treatment schedule of 3 minutes per session, twice per day with a 4-hour interval between sessions. RLRL was provided by a desktop red light therapy device and caretakers monitored compliance with a treatment log. The same device was used in the control group, but with only 10% of the power. Participants underwent cycloplegic refraction and axial length measurements at baseline and 6-month follow-up.
According to the report, the mean [SD] spherical equivalent (SER) change over 6 months was 0.06 [0.30] diopters (D) in the RLRL group and -0.11 [0.33] D in the sham device control group (P =.003). Axial length (AL) increased significantly more among individuals treated with the sham device (0.13 [0.10] mm) compared with children receiving RLRL therapy (0.02 [0.11] mm; P <.001). Children in the sham treatment group also experienced more vision loss (0.076 [0.189] logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution [logMAR]) compared with their peers in the RLRL group (-0.002 [0.172] logMAR; P =.013).
No treatment-related adverse events were reported.
“RLRL treatment slowed myopia progression by 0.167 D and reduced axial elongation by 0.101 mm over 6 months when compared against a sham device control group,” according to the researchers. “There were no reported treatment-related adverse events. Our results provide new evidence for RLRL treatment as an effective and safe intervention against myopia progression.”
Study limitations include a short trial duration, the inability to measure rebounding effects after treatment, and the potential for the sham treatment to affect outcomes.
Dong J, Zhu Z, Xu H, He M. Myopia control effect of repeated low-level red-light therapy in Chinese children: a randomized, double-blind, controlled clinical trial. Ophthalmology. Published online August 29, 2022. doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2022.08.024