Low-level light therapy shows promise in preventing dry eye disease after cataract surgery
Low-level light therapy (LLLT) before and after cataract surgery has shown significant promise in preventing dry eye disease (DED) and improving postoperative outcomes, according to results of a clinical trial that demonstrated patients who received LLLT experienced lower levels of ocular discomfort symptoms, better tear film stability, and reduced meibomian gland loss (MGL) compared to the control group.
The trial included 153 patients who were randomly assigned to receive either LLLT or a sham treatment with a power output below 30%. Each participant underwent 2 treatment sessions, 1 approximately a week before cataract surgery and the other a week after the procedure. The outcomes were assessed 30 days post-surgery.
Of the 131 participants who completed the study, those treated with LLLT exhibited significantly lower OSDI scores compared to the control group at both post-treatment time points. The OSDI scores were 7.2±8.8 versus 14.8±13.0 at the first postoperative assessment and 9.0±9.0 versus 18.2±17.9 at the second assessment.
Patients who received LLLT demonstrated higher non-invasive break-up time (NIBUT) values at the second assessment compared to controls (12.5±6.6 vs 9.0±7.8; p=0.007). Notably, unlike the control group, the LLLT-treated patients maintained improved OSDI scores and higher NIBUT values at the second assessment compared to baseline.
The study also noted lower Meiboscore values for meibomian gland loss (MGL) in the LLLT group at the first postoperative assessment (1.59±0.70 vs 1.26±0.69; p=0.008), indicating a positive impact on the function of these vital glands.
Giannaccare G, Rossi C, Borselli M, et al. Outcomes of low-level light therapy before and after cataract surgery for the prophylaxis of postoperative dry eye: a prospective randomised double-masked controlled clinical trial. Br J Ophthalmol. 2023;bjo-2023-323920. doi: 10.1136/bjo-2023-323920. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37890879.