Without healthy eyes being able to participate in normal activities—like watching television, driving, taking photos, etc.—becomes difficult. When people age, it’s a common phenomenon for their eyes to begin to deteriorate. This deterioration can result in poor eyesight, light sensitivity, blindness, and other eye symptoms.
Root Healing Wellness is one of the few practices that specializes in acupuncture for eye health. One of the many eye conditions we treat is Age-Related Macular Degeneration Eye Disease (AMD), which is considered incurable for some as it can cause irreversible blindness. However, acupuncture has proven to be a viable and preventative treatment option for AMD.
Complications with the eyes can begin as early as 40 years old, and over 4.2 million Americans are legally blind or have impaired eyesight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). AMD is a cardiovascular disease that results in vision loss because AMD causes damage to the retina. The retina affects vision as it is a layer at the back of the eyeball that is light sensitive and triggers nerve impulses. This part of the eye sends signals to the brain that translate into eyesight. Without the retina, the eyes would not be able to see.
Macular Degeneration Symptoms and Signs
The most obvious sign of AMD is vision loss, but there are other symptoms of AMD that can arise for some patients. Other symptoms from AMD are usually determined by the type of AMD the person has.
The different case types of AMD can vary from person to person. Macular Degeneration can be dry (atrophic) or wet (exudative). AMD cases are more commonly dry due to only 10% of AMD cases being wet. However, severe AMD cases can progress from dry to wet.
Those with dry AMD could have small yellow spots called drusen on their eyeball. These spots form under the macula, which is in the central portion of the retina. Dry AMD causes vision loss as the drusen slowly damage macula cells.
Wet AMD is considered to be a more serious condition than dry due to the intensity of symptoms that can occur. Wet AMD can cause eye leaking either blood or vessel fluids that are escaping from the eye. This leaking could damage the eye further, making vision loss more rapid. Due to the quickened blinding pace from wet AMD, it is considered more severe than dry AMD.
Treating The Eyes With Acupuncture
Most people are under the assumption that deterioration of their vision is natural, it’s a common phase of life as you age, and that there are no options to prevent eye symptoms from worsening. This is far from the truth as acupuncture can work to protect and preserve the condition of the eye.
Acupuncture is a treatment from ancient Chinese medicine that naturally optimizes the body’s healing process. An acupuncturist will use small, hair-like needles and place them at specific acupressure points around the body (such as the ears, feet, hands, etc.) The acupoint used is determined by where energy should flow for the body to heal.
Acupuncture is considered a holistic approach to eye treatment, meaning surgery and prescription drugs can be avoided. Those suffering from eye health issues do not have to rely on conventional medicine procedures thanks to acupuncture.
Acupuncture can treat a wide variety of eye conditions. Some treatable conditions are (but are not limited to):
- Macular Degeneration
- Retinitis Pigmentosa
- Optic Nerve Atrophy
- Diabetic Retinopathy
- Optic Neuritis (MS)
How Does Vision Acupuncture Work?
This may come as a surprise for some, but acupuncturists like Dr. Gene Healy utilize different types of acupuncture when treating the eyes.
AcuVision is an ophthalmological practice that integrates Traditional Chinese Medicine with Naturopathic Eye Therapies. Dr. Andy Rosenfarb developed this technique in 1997 to treat degenerative eye disorders. Due to this technique being a little over 20 years old, the practice is constantly evolving to improve outcomes and guarantee patient satisfaction. Over a decade of clinical research and observation is used to treat eye conditions with AcuVision.
The goal of AcuVision is to improve and preserve vision, which is accomplished by combining various approaches to natural medicine from micro acupuncture to functional medicine. Just like any other acupuncture treatment, vision acupuncture is an integrative therapy that utilizes different types of holistic approaches.
Micro Acupuncture is only of the many different acupuncture approaches, such as electro-acupuncture and auricular acupuncture. Each approach has a specific result and certain acupuncture points utilized during treatment.
Micro acupuncture is an acupunctural focus for treating degenerative eye diseases. This type of acupuncture is considered the most effective for treating vision loss, with an 85% success rate. Mico acupuncture is a recommended treatment option for patients with degenerative vision loss who prefer to avoid extensive eye surgeries.
The eye is able to heal with micro acupuncture because blood flow increases. A patient can begin to see results within two days, depending on the intensity of the treatment. This is due to the fact that the cells in the back of the eye regenerate every two days.
An expert hand is required for micro acupuncture as the placement of the needles must be precisely placed at small points on the hands and feet. There are around 48 newly discovered acupoints used for micro acupuncture that are not a part of other acupuncture systems. Misplacement of acupuncture needles could result in undesirable effects.
What To Expect With Acupuncture For The Eyes
Conventional approaches for eye disease include “corrective glasses or contacts, medications, and surgery. Acupuncture provides an alternative option for treating eye diseases, like Macular Degeneration. Some eye doctors suggest holding off on eye treatment to see if the condition stabilizes or gets worse. However, acupuncture can provide lasting results even if symptoms are not actively showing.
Acupuncture treats the entire body rather than focusing on just the eyeball or its symptoms. While others view vision deterioration as a “natural occurrence,” acupuncturists work to correct the whole body to make sure everything is properly connected.
Vision can be influenced by organ health, meaning liver or kidney dysfunction could have an effect on the eyes. Acupuncture channels the natural energy running through the body to essentially jumpstart the healing process to solve the complications causing the person’s eye condition.
Multiple acupuncture sessions are usually needed to ensure to best possible results of treatment. With the AcuVision Program, there are 10 initial treatment sessions to determine the person’s rate of response. These sessions are twice a week, but can be done more frequently if the patient chooses to do so.
Acupuncture can be done as often as twice a day for five days, which allows for faster results and quicker relief. In addition, Chinese Herbal Medicine is used for eye treatment, which involves the patient intaking herbs and other natural supplements.
AcuVision contains three phases of treatment for the body to heal and for the eye condition to improve. Each phase explains how the body reacts to the AcuVision Program and what happens for the healing to occur.
The first phase focuses on the nerve cells of the body. Dormant cells are aroused and recharged to start the body’s recovery process. Once these nerve cells are activated, the body can begin its communication to identify where the body needs to heal.
The next phase demonstrates how acupuncture is not a “quick fix.” The body begins to repair and regenerate after acupuncture sessions, but the healing process is ongoing. The repair process can take anywhere from 8–15 months as the body regrows and cells are healed.
The goal of acupuncture is not only to relieve conditions but also to take prevention measures. The third phase of AcuVision is long-term maintenance and preserving the vision. With acupuncture, worsening of the eye can be prevented and the body can essentially feel “younger” for longer.
An important step for eye treatment to have the most optimal results is for patients to follow the home care instructions. These instructions include taking supplements and living a healthy lifestyle.
Having a healthy diet, proper sleep patterns, and regular exercise helps the body be in the best shape for the recovery and heal process to be effective. Eliminating stress and unhealthy stimulates (such as eating excessive amounts of sugar) will have better results from acupuncture as the body can be more relaxed and not aggravated by harmful foods.
Another reason for following the home care instructions is to control eye deterioration. Poor nutrition and stress could factor into eye health, which is why diet, sleep, and stress is important for treating eye conditions.
The Benefits of Acupuncture Vision Therapy
Acupuncture treats the underlying cause of the eye condition, which in turn improves the eyes and relieves the symptoms. Some of the ways acupuncture helps the eyes are increased blood flow, nerve cell stimulation, and the promoting of a parasympathetic response.
Acupuncture shows how surgery and medications are not the only options for treating Macular Degeneration. Whether the person’s AMD is wet or dry, acupuncture can provide relief and improve the symptoms that come from degenerative eye disease. Acupuncture is an effective eye treatment option and can be a helpful reminder for people with eye deterioration that there is another option.
Root Healing Wellness specializes in MA48, which is a form of acupuncture that consistently results in restoring vision. With an integrated approach (including herbal medicine and functional medicine), we are able to provide a whole-body health pathway for our vision therapy program.