Macular degeneration is an eye disease that is caused by deterioration of the macula or central portion of the retina. The macula is responsible for our central vision, for recording images, and sending them to the brain through the optic nerve. The macula helps us to remember faces, read a book, and see the wonderful world that we live in. Advancement of the disease leads to a total loss of central vision with only blurred vision and intact peripheral vision left. This incurable disease is the leading cause of blindness in the United States, which is why acupuncture and other alternative treatments are also included in the treatment plan. Regular eye checks are necessary to ensure there are no drusen deposits under the retina, the fatty protein which can increases a person’s chances of developing the macular degeneration.

Factors That Cause Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration has 3 stages, early, intermediate, and late stage when vision is definitely affected. Research is still ongoing to locate the causes of macular degeneration but it has been determined that heredity and environment play a role. The older you get the more you become susceptible to macular degeneration. Genetics and race are also factors that add to your risk. While there has been no breakthrough in the treatment of the disease in Western medicine, acupuncture has shown some promise in stopping or slowing the progression of this disease. It does this by improving the cellular ATP synthesizing capacity in the retina to help recover visual acuity in the patient.

Acupuncture Controlling Progress of Macular Degeneration

Auricular and electrical acupuncture are used in the treatment of macular degeneration. The effectiveness of acupuncture in treating macular degeneration is measured objectively by using the eye chart test, the Amsler grid test, and the visual field test. Measurements are taken before and after the treatment and charted throughout to measure the amount of progress. Tests by opthalmologists are also done to monitor the drusen deposits and monitor whether there is stabilization and improvement of vision. Acupuncture treatment is always more effective during the early stages of diagnosis. The number of sessions and the type of treatments varies from person to person. Twice a week acupuncture treatment for 36 treatments are very important to slow down the macular degeneration, then once a week for another 24 treatment, maintenance treatment is necessary if a person has to use his eyes for work more than 4 hours a day.

Preventative Measures for Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration can be the wet or the dry type. The wet type is the unwanted growth of new blood vessels in the macula leading to severe loss of vision. The dry type leads to more gradual eye loss. Since no cure for macular degeneration has yet been discovered, preventative steps are encouraged such as eating a healthy diet, wearing good quality sunglasses regularly to block out the UVA and UVB rays when out in the sun, and regular exercise. Acupuncture for macular degeneration attacks the root cause of the disease and helps to improve blood flow in the choroids and retina to prevent cell death and increase the ability to absorb the nutrients required for healthy vision.

Author's Bio: 

Li Zheng is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist and a graduate of the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine with 11 years of formal training, including 6 years of residency. She holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the US and is a Harvard Medical School-trained researcher and a professor at the New England School of Acupuncture. Her two practices are located in Needham, MA and Boca Raton, FL. She has 26 years of clinical experience. Here she is sharing the information about
macular degeneration