A Bright Future for Patients Experiencing Acute or Progressive Vision Loss
Approximately 285 million people worldwide are visually impaired: 39 million are blind and 246 million have low vision. Many of these conditions are considered untreatable by conventional medicine, often leaving patients in a hopeless situation.
My interest in treating degenerative eye diseases began when I was an acupuncture student at Pacific College in San Diego. As a result of the intense reading, writing, studying, and computer work, my eyesight was noticeably deteriorating and my corrective prescription was getting progressively stronger.
I decided to try some acupuncture on myself for a few months and a routine screening by my optometrist revealed that the astigmatism in both of my eyes had resolved and that my prescription was becoming less. The optometrist was astounded and questioned me on what I had been doing. I explained that my eyes had been feeling tired, blurry, and that I was getting minor headaches from studying so much, and had started using acupuncture to see if it would help my vision.
A few years later, as I started my clinic practice, I took on a few cases of degenerative eye conditions including glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration. Some cases were mild, and some were severe; some patients were even legally blind.
I found that I became rather frustrated with my results. A few patients showed some minor improvements but nothing exceptional. I began to seek the aid of others in the AOM field who had had success treating eye diseases. For the most part, other than suggestions of reviewing my diagnosis, everyone seemed to have the same points, the same herbal formula suggestions. I tried them all, to no avail!
One day while reading a health magazine, I came across an acupuncturist in Arkansas who was treating people with macular degeneration and claiming to have excellent results.
I called to find out what methods he was using. The long and short of that story is that I would have to wait three years before I could get out to train with him. Finally, I made it out to his clinic to train, and was amazed at Otte’s success rate and overwhelming testimonials given by each patient I talked to – most had macular degeneration.
“Wow!” I thought, “This is incredible. This Micro Acupuncture is really helping people to see again.”
I went back to my practice in New Jersey and started working on myself, friends, family, current patients, etc. for the next 6 months. The results I got were nothing short of amazing!
So what is Micro Acupuncture?
Micro Acupuncture is a relatively new acupuncture system that involves 48 acupuncture points located only in the hands and feet, and is generally not associated with any other acupuncture system. This system was developed in Denmark in 1984. Micro Acupuncture is used for a variety of health conditions and effective for treating pain.
The best results that I have seen clinically are for pain, peripheral neuropathies, and for eye diseases. The most commonly treated eye conditions that have seen stellar results include macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, Usher’s syndrome, optic nerve atrophy and retinitis pigmentosa.
Using Micro Acupuncture, I have had a great deal of positive, measurable clinical results. Responses vary widely from patient to patient depending on how well the individual responds to the treatment. The amount of treatment a patient needs also depend on how well patients responds and other co-existing health issues.
I have found that it is not always best to rely on the patient’s subjective reports for confirming definitive response or non-response. For this reason I recommend that ALL eye patients have vision testing done before they begin and then again after a series of treatments. This vision test enables us to map the progress of the patient over time and confirm measurable response.
When treating eye patients in conjunction with micro acupuncture, I usually recommend Chinese herbs and nutritional supplements. Among the most common supplement I suggest for eye diseases are Ginko Biloba, fish oil, Lutein, Bilberry, L-Taurine, Zeaxanthin, etc. Chinese herbal formulas are prescribed (as expected) based on individual TCM pattern diagnosis, rather than just giving everyone a generic formula like Qi Ju Di Huang Wan.
Also, I have found that a significant number of my patients have Free Radical Damage and Oxidative Stress. In these cases, administering anti-oxidants is extremely important in the overall vision preservation.
There are many good anti-oxidant formulas on the market today, but from a TCM viewpoint, we know that different substances will have different effects. For example, green tea is one of the best know anti-oxidants which is very drying in nature (not wise to use with a Yin deficient patient), whereas blackcurrant seed oil is another great anti-oxidant that would serve as an antioxidant and nourish Yin for that same patient. Other anti-oxidants in clued vitamin A, C, and E, Selenium and Zinc can help vision as well, especially macular degeneration. IV Glutathione treatment is by far one of the most potent means of reducing free radical damage.
For many who suffer from these degenerative eye conditions, Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine may be the last and only hope for vision recovery and preservation. Conventional medicine often has little or nothing to offer folks diagnosed with degenerative vision loss.
Andy Rosenfarb, ND, L.Ac. earned his Masters in Traditional Chinese Medicine from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, with post-graduate education at Zhejiang College of Chinese Medicine in Hangzhou, China. Additionally, he studied naturopathy at Canyon College where he received his Doctorate of Naturopathy.
Dr. Rosenfarb is the founder and clinical director of Acupuncture Health Associates, his extremely busy practice in Westfield, NJ. The clinic is internationally recognized as one of the top integrative ophthalmic clinics, and his patients come from all over the world for treatment.
Being a world-renowned expert in the field of Chinese Medical Ophthalmology, having studied and practiced this specialty since the mid 1990’s, Dr. Rosenfarb teamed with researchers at John Hopkins University and NOVA Southeastern University to design acupuncture protocols for the first-ever clinical studies on the efficacy of treating Retinitis Pigmetosa (genetic night blindness) with acupuncture.
Dr Rosenfarb is an Executive Council Member of the Specialty Committee of Ophthalmology of the World Federation of Chinese Medicine. He has also authored six books on Chinese Medical Ophthalmology.