The effect of light therapy on birdshot

Research details

  • Type of funding: Fight for Sight / Birdshot Uveitis Society Small Grant Award
  • Grant Holder: Mr Carlos Pavesio
  • Institute: Moorfields Eye Hospital
  • Region: London
  • Start date: February 2016
  • End Date: March 2017
  • Priority: Treatment
  • Eye Category: Ocular inflammatory


Birdshot chorioretinopathy is an eye condition that causes sight loss due to severe inflammation at the back of the eye. It is also known as birdshot uveitis.

Birdshot is thought to be an auto-immune condition, meaning the system that usually defends the body from infection attacks its own body. Treatment with steroids can suppress the immune system but the side-effects can be so bad that people choose to risk sight loss instead.

Results from studies in mice have shown that shining low levels of light at a specific near-infrared frequency can reduce inflammation in the eye caused by auto-immune activity.

So in this project the team aims to find out whether this can work in a small group of participants with birdshot due to a fault in the gene HLA-A29. This gene is known to be involved in the immune system.

Participants in the study will be given a course of experimental light therapy in one eye only, in addition to their existing treatment. There is no known risk to the light therapy so if it does work it could be a good, low-cost option. In the long-term, it could become part of patients’ home lighting environment.

Find out more about Birdshot Uveitis Society