The macula refers to the centre 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 only takes 30% of all the factors which may speed up the macular degeneration, we can use acupuncture, acupressure and lifestyle changes to reduce the genetic 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 macular degeneration. Studies also show that electrical acupuncture can also increase the nerve growth factor (NGF) and BDNF, two proteins which can help speed up the nerve regeneration in the brain and retina according to the study published in Brain Research 2016 by Dr Pagani L.
- Eat 5 servings of fruit and vegetables.
- Cut down on alcohol, spicy food, and sweets.
- Avoid too much salty foods.
- Do not stare at the computer for more than one hour continuously.
- Intense exercise, such as fast walking or swimming, will improve the circulation to your retina instantly and help build healthy blood vessels.
- Avoid using a smartphone for too long.
- Practice acupressure twice a day with deep breathing. Go to https://youtu.be/gCFnTjldpiQ to see how to practice acupressure to protect your vision.
- Drink sufficient water to improve your blood and lymph circulation.
- Have Macular Degeneration acupuncture treatment twice or once a week if your vision is declining faster than it should.
Many clinical researches compared the Macular Degeneration acupuncture treatment with a medication group, to see which one has a better result to improve vision in patients who have macular degeneration. In Zhong Guo Zhen Jiu, 2011, Dr Jiao recruited 56 age-related macular degeneration cases in the acupuncture group and 28 patients in the medication group. In the acupuncture group, Guangming (GB 37), Jingming (BL 1), Cuanzhu (BL 2), Taiyang (EX-HN 5), Sibai (ST 2), Yangbai (GB 14), Tongziliao (GB 1), Fengchi (GB 20), Ganshu (BL 18), Shenshu (BL 23) and Fenglong (ST 40) were stimulated. Vitamin C and Vitamin E and intramuscular injection of Entodon were applied to medication group. The acupuncture group had an effective rate of 88.3%, while the medication group had 60% (P < 0.05).