How many times have you been told by your ophthalmologist that there is little that can be done for your eye condition?
In conventional medicine, the eye is evaluated in isolation from the rest of you. Degenerative eye conditions are often described as progressive that inevitably will lead to worsening vision.
The best interventions offered include measures to stabilize vision using glasses, contacts, medications, laser and surgical procedures.
To illustrate this, one of my patients, we can call him “Ed”, came to me with progressively deteriorating vision. Ed had been diagnosed with glaucoma.
He was on several eye drops and had a laser trabeculectomy. Ed’s eye pressure was well controlled 16 mmHg in both eyes.
In spite of this, his eyesight was getting worse. When Ed came to our clinic, he could not drive his car at night safely. His peripheral vision was severely compromised and visual acuity overall has diminished.
The MD said there was little more that could be done. The conventional toolbox was empty but Ed had not given up. He had a lot at stake.
In holistic medicine, eye degeneration is seen as branch symptom of root constitutional problems.
We recognize that many factors can be at play to exacerbate eye conditions. The three most common constitutional root issues include compromised circulation, oxidative stress, and inflammation.
You Can Reverse Your Eye Conditions
The blood vessels in the eye are extremely small and fragile. They are therefore vulnerable to get clogged, injured or otherwise damaged.
When circulation is compromised, structures, including the retina, macula and optic disc are not properly nourished and waste products accumulate.
The main ocular waste product is called Drusen made of Calcium and Cholesterol. This waste product can build up further impairing blood flow and starving the macula (where color and visual acuity are processed).
Drusen can also accumulate between the retina and choroid causing atrophy and scarring of the retina (where contrast and peripheral vision are processed).
With most degenerative conditions we want to restore blood flow to better nourish these structures.
Oxidative stress is the rusting of body structures or in this case the eyes. When free radical damage is greater than the body’s ability to detox, oxidative stress can start to break down tissues.
Sources of oxidative stress include excessive exposure to blue light, emotional stress, smoking, alcohol consumption, medications and intake of processed foods. Oxidative stress can hasten degenerative eye diseases.
The eyes are also vulnerable to the effects of inflammation. Inflammation in the body can arise from poor blood circulation and oxidative stress.
Other causes include physical trauma, poor diet, pollution and autoimmune response. Inflammation can accelerate vision loss.
It is important to determine if one, two or all sources of eye injury are at play to best address each degenerative eye condition.
In Ed’s case, we assessed his pulses, did a functional evaluation of recent bloodwork and took a detailed history. We determined that Ed had poor circulation, inflammation and oxidative stress.
After doing several in house eye tests to get an objective baseline we were ready to start his care. But what should he expect?
What To Expect With Reversing Degenerative Eye Conditions
To determine what Ed should expect we first need to understand a bit more about the progression of eye dysfunction.
Ocular nerve cells go through a progression starting as normal functioning cells. Due to the influences of compromised blood flow, oxidative stress and inflammation, these normal cells become dysfunctional.
The first step in degeneration is active cells becoming dormant. These nerve cells are structurally still intact but no longer functional. Other normal cells can become damaged cells that may have some structural impairment and are also not functional.
The last step in degeneration is the nerve cells die. Just like dead nerve cells, dormant and damaged nerve cells contribute to functionally compromised vision tests.
When micro-acupuncture is done, primarily on hands and feet (none in eyes), both dormant and damaged cells have the potential to be reactivated to normal functioning cells.
So… Ed should expect a good outcome. The majority of patients start to see improvement by the third acupuncture session while 85% of our clients note significant improvements in their vision after a series of ten or twenty treatments.
In the first year of care, the focus is on recovering as much vision as possible. After this, we will provide support to ensure improvements in vision are not lost with some ongoing treatment.
Our long term success is due in large part to our vetting process and the comprehensive care we provide. We screen our patients for factors that contributed to their condition.
If their condition is something we feel we can help, we will evaluate the commitment of patient to treatment including acupuncture, herbs and supplements. Lifestyle and diet changes may also be required for the best outcome.
Now that we understand the process of how micro-acupuncture works, let us review the eye conditions most successfully treated in our clinic. First, let’s review key eye anatomy using animation as a reference.
Anterior eye chamber; Cornea- Clear eye covering Lens – focuses light on the retina in posterior chamber Aqueous humor – fluid produced by ciliary body that nourishes and lubricates front of eye Trabecular meshwork – opening where the cornea and ciliary body meet that drains the aqueous humor
Posterior eye chamber; Choroid – the vascular filled compartment that brings oxygen, nourishment to cells of the eye and removes waste products.
Retina – Receptor cells (rods/cones) that convert light signals and convert to electrical signals to be sent to the optic nerve.
Macula – Represents 2.1% of the retina that is concentrated with cones. 90% of visual processing comes from macula. This is where visual acuity and color vision comes from.
Optic Nerve – Receives signals from rods/cones and sends to the brain via second cranial nerve to be processed in the visual cortex where vision is perceived by the body.
Vitreous humor – gel-like fluid in the back of the eye which helps keep retina/ eye structures in place.
Treating Degenerative Eye Conditions With Acupuncture
Many degenerative eye conditions are well treated with micro-acupuncture along with supplementation/herbal medicine. These include;
One of the leading causes of blindness in the World. This is an optic disc disease. Main risk factors include 60+ years old, black, Hispanic, history of diabetes or hypertension and long term use of steroid.
Peripheral and night vision oven compromised as well as visual acuity. The most common type is open-angle glaucoma where the trabecular meshwork is intact but clogged with waste product.
We also have success with normal-tension glaucoma when the visual decline occurs even when eye pressures are normalized.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
The most common cause of blindness age 50+ years old. Characterized by distorted vision, central vision loss, decreased visual acuity and decrease contrast vision.
90% of cases are dry type. This type involves accumulation of Drusen which is an ocular waste product made of Calcium and Cholesterol. We also have success treating Stargardts which is juvenile macular degeneration with autoimmune and genetic ties.
This is fluid buildup under or on the macula which can distort central vision. This can be caused by such things as Diabetes, Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Retinitis pigmentosa, and even cataract replacement.
This has both genetic and autoimmune component. Deteriorated peripheral vision, night blindness, and poor light adaptation. This is both a rod and cone dystrophy. Ushers are Retinitis Pigmentosa with the addition of hearing loss.
Affects 80% of those who have diabetes for twenty years or longer. Involves micro aneurysm of capillaries in choroid damaging retina. This leads to blurred, darkened and distorted vision.
Sjogren’s is autoimmune with one of the chief symptoms of severely dry, burning eyes. It involves the lack of thin and thick fluids of tears. Dry eyes are also a common symptom after cataract surgery.
The vitreous humor loses it’s gel-like consistency and liquifies. This process leads to strings or balls of tissue that can float in/out of vision. It can be stimulated by inflammation, some pharmaceuticals and even viral infections.
Clouding of lens in the eye which leads to decrease visual acuity and color vision. These patients also have challenges with bright lights and trouble seeing at night. Early to mid-stages cataracts can be well addressed with micro acupuncture.
In this condition, retina separates from layer underneath. Symptoms often include an increased number of floaters, flashes of light and worsening vision in the outer portion of the visual field.
After MD reattaches the retina and keeps in place with a gas bubble, visual loss may persist due to scarring. This visual impairment is very well addressed with micro acupuncture.
There are other conditions that we also treat well including optic nerve atrophy, optic neuritis, retinal occlusion (time-sensitive), astigmatism, myopia, and presbyopia.
So for degenerative eye conditions that would typically progress towards greater visual impairment if not blindness, we have powerful tools to combat this process and provide years of visual integrity to our patients.
If you or a friend/family member has concerns about your vision, please call us to set up a free consultation to discuss your case and what we may be able to offer you.