Click here to watch our video on Acupuncture and Macular Degeneration.

Macula is a small central part of the retina which is responsible for the central vision of the retina. When nerves in the macular are losing their function gradually due to the ageing process, central vision will become blurry, making driving, reading and recognizing faces become increasingly difficult.

Age-Related Macular degeneration occurs after 55 or 60 years of age, but if this condition happens to a forty year old, then there are other factors contributing to this accelerating process. There are many blood vessels in the retina to provide sufficient blood flow to the nerve cells in the Macula. Any disease can damage your blood vessel function leading to degeneration of the macula. The common factors are: smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, environmental toxins, Lupus, HIV, radiation treatment for cancer, and Diabetes.

This can explain why a 90 years old surgeon can still perform some surgery, while a fifty year old might have hard time readinga text message. In order to enable your macula function to last, you need to havea healthy diet, exercise regularly and relax periodically so the blood flow to your macular can be in a better condition. People with diabetes, lupus, high blood pressure and kidney diseasesoften have early onset macular degeneration. Alcohol, simple sugars and spicy foods can sometimes lead to inflammation of the blood vessels and nerves.

If you start having foot neuropathy in your forties, you could start degeneration of your nerves in the Macula. Furthermore, men who have neuropathy or macular degeneration tend to develop impotence earlier just because the nerves and blood vessels in the penis are not in a good condition.

Boca acupuncture has been using electrical acupuncture to treat macular degeneration in patients from Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach Island, Lake Worth, Coconut Creek, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach Gardens, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Parkland, Pompano Beach, Weston and Miami. Eye sight is very important for everybody; the well trained acupuncturist in Boca Raton Acupuncture achieved very good result with 26 clinical experiences and special training in treating eye problems.

Patients will have improved vision within 12 treatments and then they need to maintain once a week treatment for another 12 months to facilitate the nerve regeneration. During this time, they need to have a healthy diet to facilitate the nerve regeneration and maintain the good condition of the other healthy nerves. Acupuncture treatment not only improves their eye sight, but also can help their diabetes, weight, blood pressure and other conditions.

The macula refers to the center of the retina which comprises numerous nerve cells. This small area is responsible for the central vision when people look straight ahead. To maintain sharp vision, the nerves should receive a continuous flow of oxygen and blood, but the blood flow often decreases with age. This disruption and eventual erosion of the blood vessels in the macular area is defined as age related macular degeneration (ARMD). To prevent this aging effect and stop your blood vessels from leaking or stiffening and keeping normal function of the macula, you need to avoid anything leading to inflammation of your blood vessels and nerves. A proper diet, exercise, acupressure and acupuncture will help you to preserve your vision into your 90s and beyond.

According to a study funded by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 9.1 million people were diagnosed with macular degeneration in 2010 and by 2050 this number will jump to 17.8 million. The loss of vision with macular degeneration is gradual. It begins with blurred vision until a blind spot appeared in the center of vision field, which can restrict driving and daily activity.

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, nutrition, age and environment plays 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 macular degeneration in Western Medicine, acupuncture has shown some promise in stopping or slowing down 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.

Macular Degeneration and Blood Pressure

Dr. Omura explains how severe cephalic low blood pressure can reduced the blood flow to the eyes, causing macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa. He observed that using electrical stimulation can improve the vision significantly. The blood flow to the brain and retina can be influenced by condition of the head and neck. Keeping muscles in the neck in a relaxed state by stretching and acupuncture will help optimize the blood flow to the brain and eyes.

How acupuncture can help slow down the progression 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 ophthalmologists are also performed to monitor the drusen deposits (the yellow deposit made up of protein and lipid and located under the retina) and whether there is stabilization and improvement of vision.  Acupuncture treatment is always more effective during the early stages of macular degeneration.  The number of sessions and the type of treatments varies from person to person. Acupuncture treatment twice a week for 18 weeks is very important to slow down macular degeneration. This is followed by treatment once a week for another 24 weeks. Acupuncture every other week are necessary if a person uses his eyes for work more than 4 hours a day in order to prevent the early onset of the macular degeneration. 

Regular eye checkups are required to ensure there are no drusen deposits. This fatty protein can increase a person’s chance of developing macular degeneration if the deposits are big.

Macular degeneration can be the wet or the dry type.  The wet type happens when abnormal blood vessels leak fluids into the macula area leading to severe loss of vision.  The dry type leads to a 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 intense exercise.  Acupuncture for macular degeneration attacks the root cause of the disease and helps to improve blood flow in the retina to prevent cell death, speed up the regeneration of the nerves and blood vessels in the retina by increasing the production of nerve growth factor and BDNF and increase the ability to absorb nutrients required for healthy vision.

Types of Macular Degeneration (AMD)

There are two kinds. Dry age-related macular degeneration is more common affecting about 85% of the people with the disease. Dry macular degeneration starts with one eye, and the progression of the disease is gradual. Almost 90% of the individuals with wet type Macular degeneartion suffer severe vision loss. Now ophthalmologist offered eye ball injection to stop the leaking of the fluids from the blood vessels into macular. People have to have injection every 6 months, but we can combine the acupuncture, life style changes and healthy diet to stop the injection eventually because the injection does not target at the root cause: inflammation of the macular and poor circulation due to the imbalance of the immune function.


In dry macular degeneration the general symptoms are:

  • Additional light is a frequent requirement for focused vision
  • Text is hard to read as it appears blurred
  • Colors seem dull
  • Dark spots appear in the central part of vision

In wet macular degeneration the general symptoms are:

  • Straight lines appear distorted
  • Distant objects seem to be more further away
  • Sudden dark spots

Again, there is no cure for macular degeneration, but you can slow down the disease and keep relatively good vision until you are over 90 years old.  Acupuncture can help to reduce inflammation of the blood vessels and optic nerves so the leaking of the blood vessels can be stopped. Electrical acupuncture has been proven by researchers to help the nerves and blood vessels regenerate. A detailed explanation is available in the book: Healing Your Eyes with Chinese Medicine by Andy Rosenfarb as well as Ophthalmology in Chinese Medicine by Wei Qi-Ping and Andy Rosenfarb.

Case Study

Steven was born in Delray Beach of Florida. He grew very fast when he was in middle school with  a strong frame and muscles. His parent put him on the football team from middle school to high school, hoping he could get a scholarship from this sport. Football also released his high energy levels when his testosterone and growth hormones were going up so fast. He later moved to Boca Raton High School and played for the high school team.  This intense sport damaged his retina and the vitreous body in his eyes. He started having floaters when he was 16 years old, and later, his retina detached and he had surgery to reattach his retina. His vision did not change too much when he was young. He later went to Boston College and FAU in Boca Raton for business. He has been working in business in West Palm area for many years, using a computer for over 5 hours a day.

When he turned fifty years old, his floaters became worse with frequent floater attacks. His retina was reattached twice through surgery, which left some scar tissue in his left-side retina. A few years later, after his two surgeries, his left eye vision started deteriorating. He found a Chinese ophthalmologist at Boca Raton Regional Hospital and she recommended him to have another surgery to get rid of the scar tissue. He followed his doctors’ instructions and had the third surgery to get rid of the scar tissue in his left retina in Boca. His vision improved a few weeks after surgery, but his eye pressure went up and he has to use eye drops to keep his eye pressure within the normal range. His ophthalmologist did not want him to have acupuncture treatment for his eye initially after his surgery, even though Steven is a strong believer in acupuncture.

His Boca Raton acupuncturist had been focusing on reducing the inflammation in his body. He was diagnosed with rosacea and his skin used to be very sensitive to the sun due to too much spicy food and alcohol. A few months after his third surgery, the blood vessels in his left retina became very stiff. His vision started changing in the wrong direction. His ophthalmologist asked him to go back to his acupuncturist in Boca and improve the circulation to his eyes because he could not have another surgery.

Steven was so worried about his left eye that he decided to go to acupuncture treatment twice a week for 10 weeks with electrical stimulation.  He then got his eye tested: his vision improved dramatically and his macular degeneration was stable. His Boca acupuncturist used electrical stimulation around his left eye, abdominal area, and ankle area to bring the energy to different organs so he could absorb nutrients more efficiently. After three months of acupuncture treatment in Boca acupuncture clinic, his left eye vision is greatly improved.

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