Accidental Miracle – Placebo Treatment Restores Blind Woman’s Eyesight

An 80-year-old woman who had lost her eyesight over a decade ago due to glaucoma recently recovered her vision after being administered a placebo treatment for her chronic back pain.

One night, 12 years ago, Lynley Hood, an award-winning writer from Dunedin, in New Zealand, was reading a book when the vision in her left eye suddenly became blurry. She blamed it on tiredness and decided to turn in, but the next morning the blurriness in her eyesight had not gone away. She was soon diagnosed with a fairly rare form of glaucoma, and the doctor notified her that her condition would probably never improve and that it was now only a matter of keeping the condition from advancing. She eventually became legally blind, being unable to read and write due to her glaucoma, Then, over a decade later, an accidental miracle occurred, and Hood’s eyesight returned.

Photo: NewsHub

As if her severely damaged eyesight wasn’t enough of a problem, in 2020, Lynley Hood fell and fractured her pelvis, which left her with severe back pain. However, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as it gave her the opportunity to participate in a University of Otago chronic pain treatment research project. She just wanted to alleviate her chronic pain somehow, but the electric stimulation treatment proved a lot better at something else…

The project that Lynley Hood signed up for last year consisted of two groups that participated in electrical stimulation sessions. Participants in both groups were required to wear a special helmet wired with electrodes, but while received electrical stimulation to the brain, the placebo group only received superficial stimulation to the scalp level.

80-year-old Lynley Hood was in the Placebo group (without knowing it), but after four weeks of electrical stimulation, her deteriorated eyesight recovered to nearly 100 percent. The woman’s ophthalmologist couldn’t believe it.


“Surprisingly, her vision improved so much that her ophthalmologist said it was a miracle,” project co-leader Dr Divya Adhia told the Otago Daily Times. “Miracle is not a word we use very often in science, but it was — an accidental miracle. It wasn’t the intended outcome, but to see that my research has actually made an impact on people is really miraculous.”

After living with severely reduced eyesight for 12 years, Lynley Hood is now adjusting to her new lease on life. She had absolutely no central vision in her left eye, while her right eye was like ‘TV static’, but now she can see perfectly again, which means she can go back to writing.

“At first, I thought I was imagining it,” the award-winning author said. “They’ve got such flash equipment that they could trace every millisecond of the current — it went across my scalp and into my eyes. The equipment showed that the cells in my retina went, ‘hey guys, something’s happening’, and it sent a whole lot of messages down my optic nerve to the parts of my brain that makes pictures and words and colors out of electrical messages.”


No one knows exactly how the electrical stimulation brought Mrs. Hood’s eyesight back, but Dr. Adhia and her team definitely want to find out. They are now designing another study to run alongside the chronic pain study, to determine how the electrical stimulation helped the 80-year-old author and hopefully help others in her situation.