Note: A version of this article was previously published in Forbes.

If you are in the beauty industry, you have heard of the numerous aesthetic benefits that microcurrent has to offer. But did you know that microcurrent can also deliver healing benefits? While not all of the health claims have been clinically validated, nor is there a lot of peer-reviewed research, there is some. One could posture why that is, but regardless, microcurrent has a lot of supporters in addition to anecdotal benefits.

As someone who considers herself an explorer of health and wellness, I have tried out many different alternative modalities—some that are cleared and some that are considered off-label. I have also studied massage therapy and acupuncture, which is another form of vibrational healing that’s based on the premise that our bodies are electrical grids and when the flow gets disrupted, we suffer from dis-ease. So, to me using a microcurrent device is an extension of acupuncture, and a user-friendly one.

Because I have used microcurrent for so many years for both healing and aesthetic purposes with great success, I decided to go down a rabbit hole of research to see if there were benefits for eye health. I have finally hit the age where my eyes have begun to fail me, despite still having 20/20 vision. I, like many people my age, suffer from presbyopia, a condition where the eyes lose their ability to focus on objects close by. The telltale sign that someone is in their 40s, when this condition commonly rears its head, is when people need to hold their phones (or menus in restaurants) several inches away from their face to be able to read the contents. Presbyopia is completely democratic in that it happens to all of us as we age. Most of us are told that losing our eyesight is just a function of getting older. But, I just couldn’t bear to live without my eyes, so I decided to proactively pursue finding alternative healing options.

Since at-home microcurrent devices and the ones used for in-office treatments come into close proximity to the eye (if not used directly above and below the eye), I suspected that they were considered safe. So, I spent a few hours seeing what I could find out about the benefits of microcurrent for eye health. This is when I discovered Pain Free For Life, a family-owned business based in Canada founded by Dr. Lorry and Dr. John Hache, who are known as the “The Mother and Father of Modern-Day Microcurrent Therapy.” Their son Dr. Rob Vanbergen, who just received a Doctorate of Natural Medicine and a Ph.D. in Natural Medicine with a groundbreaking dissertation that focused on the benefits of non-invasive microcurrent Vagus nerve stimulation for the resolution of inflammation in the body, also works for the company.

This is my experience with microcurrent for my eye health after several weeks of consistent use.

Several months after my article in Forbes came out, Dr. Rob Vanbergen conducted a follow up interview with me on his podcast, Pain Free For Life, to check in on my progress and have me share my experience with microcurrent, which you can listen to here.

I have had better than perfect vision for most of my life. But, when I turned 45, that all changed, and suddenly too. It started out with blurry vision. Soon after, I couldn’t see texts or emails on my phone unless I held the device an absurd distance away from my body. Reading menus in dimly lit restaurants? Forget about it. My ophthalmologist told me that I was fortunate that my presbyopia, a natural age-related condition where your eyes lose their ability to focus on nearby objects, didn’t happen sooner.

But I haven’t felt lucky not being able to see properly—especially as a writer. Why couldn’t my sense of smell lessen instead? For some reason that sensory experience has only seemed to heighten with age. Not wanting to take my declining eye health as simply a function of getting older—I set out on a mission to find alternatives to try and stop it. As someone who has been using microcurrent therapy for a variety of issues from pain management to beauty, I went down a rabbit hole of research to see if electricity could be beneficial for aging eyes like it is for other parts of the body.

To understand a little more about what happens to eyes as they age, I tapped Dhruvin Patel, who is an Optometrist and founder and CEO of Ocushield, a company that makes medical-grade screen protection products and eye-friendly desk lamps.

“From the age of 40, our eyes lose their accommodative power to see objects close up. As the effects of presbyopia increase with age people usually will need to get reading glasses to help magnify objects so they can read or use their smartphone devices up close. The change in the eyes also means it takes a fraction longer for your eyes to adjust looking from different distances—for example from near to far,” Patel tells me. “Aging eyes also suffer with numerous eye diseases and pathology for example cataracts – one of the most common changes where the lens in the eye solidifies and thickens, it stops letting light in therefore causing lots of glare and poor visual acuity in general. Imagine a clean window that becomes old, dirty and bleak—it won’t let any sun into your home. The same applies with cataracts.”

As I scoured the web for information on microcurrent for eye health, I came across Pain Free For Life (formerly known as Pacific Health Options), a company run by three family members who have been working with microcurrent technology for over twenty years.

“Our particular devices are approved to treat Chronic and Debilitating Pain in the United States, but microcurrent technology has many off-label uses that are performed under the guidance of doctors in the US, Canada, and around the globe,” explains Dr. Rob Vanbergen, who is a Board Certified Doctor of Natural Medicine and wrote his dissertation on non-invasive stimulation of the vagus nerve using microcurrent therapy to eliminate inflammation. Vanbergen is also the son of Dr. John and Dr. Lorry Hache, who own Pain Free For Life and are the creators of the Hache Protocol for Pain Resolution™. “Extensive independent research has been done in the healing of non-healing wounds such as diabetic foot ulcers, treatment of adhesions and scars, and even neurological work using microcurrent technology.”

Pain Free For Life works with Houston-based Avazzia Inc. to build their at-home devices according to their specifications. “This has allowed us to put our decades of experience in frequency medicine into the creation of the perfect devices to resolve chronic pain once and for all,” Vanbergen tells me. While microcurrent is not suitable for folks who have pacemakers or pregnant women who are in their first or second trimester, almost anyone else can benefit from microcurrent technology.

Because the company’s devices are not FDA-approved or cleared for eye health yet, I was curious what kind of anecdotal feedback they have gotten from their customers. “My experience has been informed primarily by practitioners and doctors who have used these devices and protocols for the treatment of the eyes in an off-label capacity. Observed results have been astonishing ranging from stabilization to resolution of conditions such as cataracts, presbyopia, age related macular degeneration, astigmatism, and more,” responds Vanbergen.

“We’ve seen amazing feedback, particularly for people stopping progression of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration,” continues Vanbergen. “Some customers have – under the guidance of their doctor – been able to avoid cataract surgery altogether, which is no small feat. Our vision is everything. But until it is at risk, I think we often forget how critical it is. Being able to swoop in and help with these issues is an incredible feeling.” Depending on the direction of the practitioner, Vanbergen tells me that results can be seen in as little as a month with short treatments that are 3-5 minutes in duration. “When combined with the National Eye Institute recommendation of supplementing Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and L-Taurine for eye health, we have a powerful case to maintain current eye health and even repair damaged eyes. Maintenance treatments can be as little as 6 minutes a week once the treatment has run its course.”

While I don’t want to diminish Vanbergen’s authority on the matter, I wanted to know what Patel thought about microcurrent for the treatment of aging eyes. “I’ve explored numerous studies that have been ongoing since the 1970s on this topic,” shares Patel. “I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the amount of research citing how much microcurrent stimulation plays a part in preserving retinal function when used. Helping an array of eye diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa (RP), age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, retinal vein occlusion (RVO), retinal artery occlusion (RAO), and optic neuropathy. A recent 2021 literature review on the topic concluded, ‘electrical stimulation treatment has promising therapeutic effects on RP and optic neuropathy’.”

“Let me break down for you how microcurrent practice works,” continues Patel. “A device is attached to the eyelids of the eyes which when turned on sends electrical stimulation through to deeper eye structures, including the retina, optic nerve and more. This stimulation can boost the cells’ ability to rid themselves of waste products. Another benefit is increased blood circulation to the eye area. By increasing blood flow to the area, cells and tissues are nourished and refreshed, and oxygenation is increased. There are some eye clinics that offer this treatment under supervision which I recommended firstly to know if this is something that can help patients but also how often you should be using tools like this. There are some at home kits you can purchase like Avazzia’s, but overstimulating the eyes can have negative effects when using electrical stimulation so you should really get expert guidance first as treating eye diseases through this method requires doing this frequently rather than a one-time only treatment.

“Vanbergen adds that as with anything, the sooner people start the treatment the better the results. “The earlier a condition is caught such as pain, sickness, or even an eye issue, the easier it is to deal with whatever treatment modality that you are using. I highly recommend being proactive when it comes to eye health. It doesn’t seem like a big deal until you get the diagnosis.”

I have been using my Avazzia Life Evolution device for several weeks now. Not only has my vision improved greatly, I used the device on a recent e-bike injury to help speed up the healing and on an old keloid scar and scar tissue from a bad accident where I was hit by a mirror of a truck by a drunk driver on the back of a motorcycle. My keloid scar flattened out after one treatment with the device and the scar tissue has dissipated, although I suspect the over two-decades old injury will take several more treatments before the scar tissue is gone. Scar tissue is important to address because it can affect the autonomic nervous system by creating an abnormal electrical signal transmitted throughout the body that can cause pain syndromes in locations other than where the scar or wound is.

With such promising results—especially when it came to my eyes, I wanted to know why the heck more people don’t know about this cost-effective alternative that can unburden an already burdened healthcare system that will only continue to worsen with so many people in the aging population? “I think that with enough attention on the therapy, we will start to see more validation surrounding the use of microcurrent for eyes,” Vanbergen tells me. “Doctors need to turn these individual treatments into case studies and publish them. Do this enough and it becomes impossible to ignore the validity of the therapy. This is the only way to get noticed by the medical system.”

Patel adds that when it comes to clinicians and healthcare providers, they look for conclusive evidence to keep doubts at bay, like double-blind randomized placebo-controlled studies in humans.

“A lot less preventative research is funded compared to treatments for problems once in play. This may be due to pharmaceutical or healthcare companies making significantly more money treating problems once they appear. Anyway, that’s a controversial opinion. But of course, we do not have controlled studies to show that cigarette smoking causes cancer. Yet, it took 50 years or more for smoking to be labeled toxic for the body seriously due to epidemiological research (research that can be done in labs without needing participants and significant funding) showcasing how harmful it was to us. In health, they look for definite answers. Therefore, with preventive medicine, it’s a tough industry to get awareness without significant corporation backing and funding.”

I believe wholeheartedly in being proactive and taking care of my own health. So, I intend to continue the use of my device regardless of government clearance—especially with the results that I have seen with my vision.