Acupuncture has been used for more than 3,000 years to treat eye disease. By inserting tiny needles into the skin (not in the eyes or eyeball), the therapy can help preserve vision for those with a wide range of eye conditions including dry eyes, eye floaters, cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration.

When the macular begins to break down in the elderly, there is often little that western medicine can offer, particularly for dry macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, Stargardt disease, and rod-cone dystrophy. A small study in China found that acupuncture was 88% effective for macular degeneration patients versus 60% effective for a control group (which received vitamins and medication).1

How does it work?

The liver meridian is often implicated in eye disease as the liver “opens to the eyes.” It is the primary energy flow responsible for supporting vision health; however, all internal organs nourish the eyes as all meridians either run through the eyes, or if out of balance, can affect vision health.

Within the eyes, the following meridians have primary influence:

  • sclera: lung
  • eye and pupil: kidney
  • cornea and iris: liver
  • retina: kidney and liver
  • veins and arteries: heart
  • bottom eyelid: stomach
  • top eyelid: spleen

For chronic conditions, the patient usually gets acupuncture once or twice per week until they see sufficient results. For acute conditions, treatment may be more frequent for a shorter period of time. Often, treatment protocol includes herbs combined with acupuncture.

Results depend on how far the condition has progressed and how permanent the nerve damage is. But about 70 to 90 percent of my patients have some improvement in their condition during the treatment sessions. Most cases I have worked with stabilize long-term as long as patients keep up with treatment, take recommended supplements, and follow diet and lifestyle modifications.

Generally, protocol for macular degeneration is two treatments per week for at least 10 weeks. Most will see improvement within the initial 10 treatments; more severe cases may need the additional follow-up visits to see benefits.

Acupuncture for eye disease is time-tested therapy with little, to no, side effects and offers hope for those seeking to improve their vision loss.

Dr. Lee is founding owner of Advanced Acupuncture & Wellness Center in Rancho Mirage and may be reached at (760) 832.7585.

Reference: 1) NJ, J., January 2011. Observation on therapeutic effect of age-related macular degeneration treated with acupuncture. Chinese Acupuncture & Moxibustion, pp. 43-5.

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Comments (12)

  • 1. treatment to improve vision due to macular edema.

    2. treatment of pthisical / shrunken eye.

    from India.

    • Lauren Del Sarto

      Thank you for reading, Naresh. Are you asking for remedies for these conditions?
      Have you seen an acupuncturist in your area?

      With appreciation ~
      Lauren Del Sarto, Publisher

  • Hi,
    I have rod cone dystrophy since birth I am 22 years old and have little sight. would you be able to treat this?

  • I have just been diagonised with incipient cataract which is more profound in the left eye leaving my sight fairly cloudy/blurred.
    Kindly contact me on treatment options if any, and the total costs.

  • Sioisiwe Smah beloved

    I am 49 years old recently diagnosed with stagardt desease that I am told it has no cure
    Can acupuncture be a solution or have you anyone you may refer me to. Please advise name and contact so I may try to improve my vision.
    Also are there any supplements I may take at how much dosage to improve y vision as well


    Smah Ndlovu
    South africa

  • Lauren Del Sarto

    Thank you for your questions. I have forwarded your comment and hope to have information as available to you soon.

    Thank you for reading Desert Health ~
    Lauren Del Sarto

  • My son had victretomy surgery when he was 3months.for Stage 5 ROP(Dec 2018)

    Since then he is under vision therapy and is continuing.

    He is able to see light only in left eye. Only vision therapy can work as stated by doctor.

    Is there any treatment for Detached retina of my baby .
    Can we go for accupuntre treatment of eye for one year baby.
    Plz send the treatment cost and time required so accordingly I will plan to go US from India.
    Looking forward for ur reply for early recovery of baby.

    • Thank you for your note, Sriram. We cannot guarantee that acupuncture would help increase you son’s sight. Children can be treated with acupuncture and it seems you could certainly find a practitioner closer to home vs flying to the US.

      We wish you all the best and thank you for reading ~

      Lauren Del Sarto

  • Dear,.Im from dhaka,Bangladesh.My daughter is 7 years old and her stargardt firstly noticed by a doctor of India in Sankara netraloy at the month of february 2019 but she is suffering from myopia(-5.5d) for 1.5 years.Now she is under Bangladeshi ophthalmologist who said there is no treatment available for her at present.So,Im hardly trying for her any treatment scope available….
    Thanks again.

  • So I am 25 years old and just diagnosed with (kc), keractonus and I was curious would acupuncture help for this?


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