Combined pulses of light and sound in the retina with nutraceuticals may enhance the recovery of foveal holes

R. Pinelli, C. Berti, E. Scaffidi, G. Lazzeri, V. V. Bumah, R. Ruffoli, F. Biagioni, C. L. Busceti, S. Puglisi-Allegra, F. Fornai


The present manuscript stems from evidence, which indicates that specific wavelength produce an activation of the autophagy pathway in the retina. These effects were recently reported to synergize with the autophagy-inducing properties of specific phytochemicals. The combined administration of photo-modulation and phytochemicals was recently shown to have a strong potential in eliciting the recovery in the course of retinal degeneration and it was suggested as a non-invasive approach named “Lugano protocol” to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Recent translational findings indicate that the protective role of autophagy may extend also to acute neuronal injuries including traumatic neuronal damage. At the same time, very recent investigations indicate that autophagy activation and retinal anatomical recovery may benefit from sound exposure. Therefore, in the present study, the anatomical rescue of a traumatic neuronal loss at macular level was investigated in a patient with idiopathic macular hole by using a combined approach of physical and chemical non-invasive treatments. In detail, light exposure was administered in combination with sound pulses to the affected retina. This treatment was supplemented by phytochemicals known to act as autophagy inducers, which were administered orally for 6 months. This combined administration of light and sound with nutraceuticals reported here as Advanced Lugano’s Protocol (ALP) produced a remarkable effect in the anatomical architecture of the retina affected by the macular hole. The anatomical recovery was almost complete at roughly one year after diagnosis and beginning of treatment. The structural healing of the macular hole was concomitant with a strong improvement of visual acuity and the disappearance of metamorphopsia. The present findings are discussed in the light of a synergism shown at neuronal level between light and sound in the presence of phytochemicals to stimulate autophagy and promote proliferation and neuronal differentiation of retinal stem cells.


light therapy; sound-sensitive retina; retinal stem cells; autophagy; macular hole; retinal degeneration; traumatic retinal injury; neurorepair

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