Ophthalmology – HBOT and The Eyes

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Todays continuation on the sharing of others’ work theme involves an exceptional paper published by Heather Murphy-Lavoie of Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. Also published in “Optometry – Journal of the American Optometric Association” in 2010, It is linked in here and entitled:


Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy And The Eye


In many ways it supports our own ideas as discussed in our article on:

SIGHT: AGE RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION, DIABETIC RETINOPATHY AND CENTRAL RETINAL OCULAR OCCLUSION.

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The paper covers a huge number of additional conditions and considerations we did not cover, but addresses the end result of cellular hypoxia in the retina which leads to cell death and the loss of vision. As we have discussed in other articles, hypoxia is the final mechanism of cell death. Something we can do something about. It also confirms our own assertion that prompt treatment with HBOT can salvage at least some of the remaining viable but only ischemic retinal tissue and cells, which cease to function normally following hypoxia caused by one or more initial conditions.

From our perspective as technicians and complementary therapists, we target our attention at the end result of many conditions which is the hypoxia. This is what we aim to treat.

Appropriate treatment of some ophthalmic conditions with HBOT can indeed, as we concluded, save sight and vision in many cases, provided such treatment is taught and practiced in the first instance and also applied at triage and emergency level which it currently is not.

Todays shared paper focuses largely on emergent conditions in which sudden loss of vision is experienced and discusses the treatment window in which best results are achieved. It concludes that certain vision loss conditions, inside various windows, should be treated as emergencies given the oxygen sensitive nature of the retina and how rapid emergency treatment can maintain the viability of retinal tissue and cells, and these conditions should be triaged accordingly and treated with HBOT within certain criteria. The author concludes:


HBOT has not traditionally been widely used in the management of ocular disorders. There are a number of ocular conditions however, for which HBOT may reverse profound vision loss. The authors recommend aggressive use of HBOT for the indications listed when vision loss is severe and the patients [is] within the time window for HBOT to be effective. Further studies will help to define which ocular disorders are best treated with HBOT, the critical window of opportunity for each, and which HBOT treatment regimens provide the best outcomes.


The paper is packed with case studies and references detailing remarkable success stories associated with the administration of HBOT.

Granted it’s a long read, but a particularly good read that is written in plain, understandable language. Anyone with current,or potentially future eye problems should take the time, even if over a week or two, to read this one. Especially ophthalmologists and doctors treating patients who suffer from various conditions of the eye. A simple shift in approach, and wider use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy could save the sight of a great many individuals.

©Hayden Dunstan

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