Non-invasive current stimulation has been shown to improve the vision of people with optic nerve damage, previously thought to lead to permanent impairments.
A new study featuring 42 subjects found administering low levels of non-invasive, repetitive, transorbital alternating current stimulation for between 30 and 40 minutes per day over a period of ten days "significantly" reduces visual impairment.
All of the group had lesions which had long passed the early recovery phase, and neither the people taking part in the study or the researchers knew which subjects were assigned to which group. On average, those in the group which received the treatment experienced a 41 per cent reduction in visual field loss, while those who were actively treated reported an improvement in general vision.
Optic nerve damage occurs as a result of trauma, inflammation, disease or deterioration.
Dr. Bernhard A Sabel, researcher and senior author of the study, published in Brain Stimulation, said: "Our findings are important because they show that partial blindness can be reversed. We show for the first time that partial blindness can be reduced by a short-lasting therapeutic procedure using non-invasive electrical current stimulation."