Treatment for Macular Degeneration

If you have been seeking relief or improvement for Macular Degeneration…. acupuncture can help.

Acupuncture is an overlooked solution to many chronic illnesses. Through a focused treatment plan designed just for you, acupuncture with Dr. Don Thompson can be an excellent supplement to your ongoing primary or specialized medical care to increase your chances of recovery and relief.

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a disease process in the back of the eye which can sometimes lead to loss of central vision. Dry macular degeneration is what the majority of people have with this disease; however, dry macular degeneration can sometimes advance to wet macular degeneration, where the weaker blood vessels break and cause bleeding in the back of the eye. This becomes a medical emergency and requires the immediate intervention of a retinologist.

How Can Acupuncture Help Macular Degeneration?

Most patients diagnosed with macular degeneration are in a “watch, wait, take your vitamins” regimen with their eye doctors. While this is important, there are ways acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can help. Some acupuncturists, such as Dr. Don Thompson, have had advanced training in the care of people with this issue. Specific acupuncture points, NOT in the eye, are used to help blood flow and nerve receptors (rods and cones) which are affected by this disease.

Additionally, Chinese herbs and lifestyle recommendations are made based on an individual’s initial evaluation. It is important to start acupuncture supportive care as soon as possible after you have been diagnosed with macular degeneration, even if you are not currently experiencing vision changes or loss. Once the disease progresses and vision loss is realized, it may take a longer time of treatment to have improvements in the health of the eye.

Initially, most people will have a course of 20 treatments which occur within several weeks. At the conclusion of this treatment period the patient will have a re-evaluation (by their eye physician) of visual acuity as well as an OCT exam to look at the back of the eye. If there is any improvement, a shorter course (10 treatments) may be performed in order to maximize the benefit of acupuncture treatment.

We only work with patients who are currently under the care of an eye professional.

Schedule a consult at our Abingdon, Virginia Office by calling 276-628-3486

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Frequently Asked Questions

Will the needles be inserted in my eye?
No. We use specific acupuncture points that help blood flow and nerve receptors. We will never put a needle directly in your eye.
What causes macular degeneration?
Aging is a major contributing factor to dry macular degeneration. Smoking cigarettes or regularly being exposed to secondhand smoke increases your risk, as well as cardiovascular disease. Family history also plays a role.
Am I able to return to my daily routine after a session?

Yes.

I was diagnosed with macular degeneration x time ago. Can this treatment still help me?
Acupuncture is most effective when started right after diagnosis, but treatment can still help later on. Delaying treatment may result in the need for more rounds of treatment and could be less effective later on if the condition has progressed.
Will this be a recurring treatment?
Yes. Initially, most people will have a course of 20 treatments which occur within several weeks. At the conclusion of this treatment period the patient will have a re-evaluation (by their eye physician) of visual acuity as well as an OCT exam to look at the back of the eye. If there is any improvement, a shorter course (10 treatments) will be performed in order to maximize the benefit of acupuncture treatment. Because macular degeneration is a chronic problem, the patient will need to have short courses of treatment (2-3 pairs) once or twice a year, depending on how their eyes are doing. Another factor which goes into the frequency of recurring treatments is the patient’s general health and their self care (diet, exercise, stress management).

Citations:

“Effects of acupuncture on age-related macular degeneration; A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” PLoS One 2023; 18(3):e0283375, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0283375

“Acupuncture for Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration: A Pilot Study,” Invest.Ophthalmol.Vis.Sci 2023; 64(8): OD88, Acupuncture for Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration: A Pilot Study

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