Many vision conditions respond to treatment with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. All degenerative eye conditions are rooted in the systemic health environment. Treatment is focused on identifying the root physiological factors that are affecting your vision and improving these underlying conditions. The goal is to improve the vision, slow or arrest the progression of the deterioration and maintain eye health.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can treat many eye diseases including Age-Related Macular Degeneration (both wet and dry), Retinitis Pigmentosa, glaucoma, Stargardt’s Disease, diabetic retinopathy, and many more.
Acunova & Eye Diseases
Acunova is a type of acupuncture treatment that is showing remarkable results for people with eye diseases. John Boel Jr. and John Boel Sr. have treated thousands of people with eye diseases at their clinic in Aulum, Denmark, (www.acunova.dk) and in Copenhagen. They have trained hundreds of physicians, acupuncturists and physiotherapists in Europe and a few acupuncturists from the United States. Sandy Camper is one the few acupuncturists in the United States trained in this method of treatment.
Treatment involves newly discovered points at the hands and feet that are not associated with any other acupuncture system. Two points also used are located in the eyebrows and studies show that these points increase blood circulation to the retina in the eye. Visual tests are performed at the beginning of treatment to assess the patient’s current vision and then two 30 minute treatments are performed per day, with a 1 hour break in between, for 5-10 days. For the thousands of patients with eye diseases who have received this form of acupuncture treatment, 70-83% respond to treatment, depending on the type of eye disease. To maintain improvement, patients then receive maintenance treatment to maintain their improvement.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a retinal degenerative disease that causes a progressive loss of central vision. AMD is the most common cause of vision loss in individuals over 55. An estimated 10 million people in the U.S. either have AMD or are at substantial risk of developing it. Dry AMD accounts for about 90 percent of all cases, and normally affects vision less than wet AMD. A characteristic of dry AMD is the accumulation of tiny protein and fat-containing “drusen” deposits in a thin layer of cells beneath the photoreceptors in the retina called Bruch’s membrane. The origin of drusen is unknown, but they may be from waste products of various cells and tissues of the retina. Drusen may interfere with the health of the macula, causing progressive degeneration of the photoreceptor cells. Wet AMD accounts for about 10 percent of all cases of macular degeneration. In wet AMD, abnormal blood vessels grow beneath the macula. These vessels leak blood and fluid into the macula that damage photoreceptor cells. Wet AMD often progresses rapidly and can cause substantial loss of central vision.
Stargardt disease is the most common form of inherited juvenile macular degeneration. The progressive vision loss associated with Stargardt disease is caused by the death of photoreceptor cells in the central portion of the retina called the macula. Decreased central vision is a hallmark of Stargardt disease. Side vision is usually preserved. Stargardt disease typically develops during childhood and adolescence. A decrease in color perception also occurs in Stargardt disease. This is because photoreceptor cells involved in color perception are concentrated in the macula. The progression of symptoms in Stargardt disease is variable. Eventually, almost everyone with Stargardt disease has a visual acuity in the range of 20/200 to 20/400. Stargardt disease is almost always inherited as an autosomal recessive trait. It is inherited when both parents, called carriers, have one gene for the disease paired with one normal gene. Each offspring has a 25 percent chance of inheriting two copies of the Stargardt gene (one from each parent) needed to cause the disease. Carrier parents are unaffected because they have only one copy of the gene.
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) refers to a group of inherited diseases causing retinal degeneration. People with RP experience a gradual decline in their vision because photoreceptor cells (rods and cones) die. Forms of RP and related diseases include Usher syndrome, Leber’s congenital amaurosis, rod-cone disease, Bardet-Biedl syndrome, and Refsum disease, among others. Symptoms depend on whether rods or cones are initially involved. In most forms of RP, rods are affected first. Because rods are concentrated in the outer portions of the retina and are triggered by dim light, their degeneration affects peripheral and night vision. When the more centrally located cones – responsible for color and sharp central vision – become involved, the loss is in color perception and central vision. RP is typically diagnosed in adolescents and young adults. It is a progressive disorder. The rate of progression and degree of visual loss varies from person to person. Most people with RP are legally blind by age 40, with a central visual field of less than 20 degrees in diameter. In families with X-linked RP, males are more often and more severely affected; females carry the genetic trait and experience vision loss less frequently. An estimated 100,000 people in the U.S. have RP.