A Study Using Transorbital Alternating Current Stimulation for People With Glaucoma

  • End date
    Mar 24, 2024
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    NYU Langone Health
Updated on 24 March 2022
corrected visual acuity
visual impairment
brimonidine tartrate ophthalmic solution


This pilot study will test the preliminary efficacy and feasibility of an intervention protocol for one method of electric current stimulation, repetitive transorbital alternating current stimulation (rtACS), to treat visual impairment in people with glaucoma. We will evaluate a study protocol to use in future clinical trials to test the effectiveness of rtACS to ameliorate the progressive effects of vision loss both structurally and functionally in the eye, the visual pathway, and in regard to people's independence (i.e., functional ability). In this prospective, randomized controlled, double-masked pilot study, we will: 1) determine an effect of rtACS on ophthalmic structure and function (from retina to visual brain), 2) assess the methodology of procedures for assessment of people's functional ability and QoL to determine an effect of rtACS, and 3) assess the feasibility and implementation of the pilot study protocol for a larger multi-site, randomized controlled trial.


Participants will engage in baseline, intervention, post-intervention, and follow-up visits over the span of approximately 8 weeks. The expected outcomes for this project are that (1) rtACS activates viable but poorly or non-functional retinal ganglion cells to improve their structural and functional capabilities, (2) measures of retinal, optic nerve, and visual brain structures and function will correspond with improvement in visual function, and (3) changes in visual function following rtACS will be associated with improvements in participants' functional ability and QoL. rtACS has successfully been used in the rehabilitation of visual impairments in people with optic neuropathies; however, we do not know the clinical value of rtACS specifically for people with glaucoma, including the effect of rtACS on people's functional ability and QoL.

Condition Glaucoma
Treatment sham intervention, rtACS Stimulation
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03188042
SponsorNYU Langone Health
Last Modified on24 March 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Live in a community, residential setting (i.e., non-institutionalized, not homeless)
Diagnosis of glaucoma (not type-specific, excluding traumatic glaucoma): Moderate defect or worse in both eyes but not total blindness
Visual field defects present for at least 6 months
Best-corrected visual acuity of 20/200 (1.0 logMAR) or better in at least one eye
Commitment to comply with study procedures (2 week period of intervention sessions) with baseline, post-intervention, and follow-up visits

Exclusion Criteria

Other optic comorbidity than glaucoma
End-stage organ disease or medical condition with subsequent vision loss (e.g., diabetes, stroke)
Other diseases of the retina or cataracts responsible for worse than 20/70 best-corrected visual acuity
Photosensitivity to flickering lights
Intraocular Pressure (IOP) > 27 mmHg at baseline
Medically diagnosed memory disorder or Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status-modified (TICS-m) score ≤ 27
Electric or electronic implants (e.g., cardiac pacemaker)
Metallic artifacts/implants in head and/or torso
Diagnosed epilepsy
Epileptic seizure within the past 3 years of enrollment date
Auto-immune disease, acute stage (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis)
Metastatic disease
Certain mental diseases/psychiatric conditions (e.g., schizophrenia) that would preclude reliable testing and participation
Unstable medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, diabetes causing diabetic retinopathy)
Claustrophobia (to limit functional neuroimaging)
Received rtACS in the past
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