Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD): What is it?
Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD or ARMD) is the disease where someone loses his Central Vision. As a result, a patient with AMD has difficulty to see fine details when looking at an object close or far away. This substantially affects the quality of life and everyday activities become difficult or impossible. Such activities can be reading smaller print, driving, recognizing faces.
If someone with Age Related Macular Degeneration looks at his watch, he can see the watch but not the numbers on it.
Age Related Macular Degeneration, in the Western World, is so common that comprises the most frequent cause of vision loss in ages older than 50 years old.
Age Related Macular Degeneration: The two Forms
Dry Form of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is also the most common in the general population. Generally, 8 out of 10 people affected have the Dry Form of AMD. In this type, parts of the macula become thinner with age and accumulations of proteins (called Drusen) develop resulting in the loss of Central Vision. There is still no established treatment for the Dry Form of AMD.
However, protective measures are proposed such as the use of sunglasses with ultraviolet filter when we are outdoors, switching to a diet rich in omega-3, monounsaturated fats and green vegetables, the use of dietary supplements with substances such as Lutein and Zeaxanthin and the Cessation of Smoking.
The Wet Form of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is less common but more severe. In Wet Form of AMD, new abnormal blood vessels grow under the Retina. These vessels are very delicate and are likely to rupture leading to leakage of blood and fluid that cause scar formation in the area of the macula. The patient’s vision deteriorates faster in the Wet Form of AMD.
It is important for a patient to do regular ophthalmological examinations as it may not be perceived that there is Wet Form of AMD until the vision becomes very blurred.
The Amsler Grid Test that can be tested at home is a simple and important test for the early diagnosis of the symptoms of the Wet Form of AMD.
Nutritional supplements in patients with chronic Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Many patients with a lot of Drusen or severe vision loss will be benefited by taking specific dietary supplements.
A very large landmark study, AREDS and later AREDS 2, concluded that by taking the following trace elements and vitamins daily, one can slow down the Dry AMD type.
Such trace elements and vitamins are Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Copper and Zinc. It is important to note that vitamin A should not be used by smokers as it increases the risk of developing lung cancer.
A Healthy and Balanced Diet
Green salads, fruits and vegetables as well as fish can benefit patients with AMD.
The action of Medical Acupuncture in Slowing Down the progression of AMD and the Preservation of Useful Vision
The purpose of Medical Acupuncture sessions is to maintain the functionality of healthy photoreceptor cells and their extracellular matrix through the following:
- Vessel-protective action: It causes dilation in the lumen of the vessels resulting in improved tissue oxygenation and reduction of oxidative stress.
- Neuroprotective effect: Acupuncture has been shown to protect cells from the toxicity caused by ischemia. It also acts as an antioxidant by activating and modifying various neurochemical pathways.
- Activation and Regulation of the Immune System: Through acupuncture, anti-inflammatory substances are produced by the brain that can contribute to the phagocytosis of accumulated substances in the macula (activation of autophagy). This is an additional advantage of Medical Acupuncture in halting the progression of AMD and maintaining the patient’s vision.
In this context, the Medical Acupuncture performed at the “Orasis Acupuncture Institute” is an additional method (Add-on treatment) that comes to contribute to the improvement of the patient’s quality of life as a powerful protective measure in the progress of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).
Visit to the “Orasis Acupuncture Institute”, acquaintance and first assessment
- A detailed Medical, Family and Ophthalmological History is taken into account where the past examinations of the patient with AMD are reviewed and filed, especially the OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) which is of particular importance in the identification of the disease.
- In order for our medical experts to assess the patient, it is advisable that an OCT and a regular Ophthalmological Examination have been performed the period before the visit to our Institute.
- Patients with both AMD forms ( Wet or Dry type AMD) , must continue their monitoring or treatment in the case of wet AMD,
- The Medical Acupuncture applied at our Institute has no contraindications and side effects, nor does the medication that the patient receives interact with any other treatment.
- A measurement of visual acuity is performed both at a distance and close to an Amsler test and with the examination of the slit lamp with a fundoscopy before the start of the sessions.
- At the same time, an examination of the central 20 degrees of the patient’s Visual Field is performed in our Institute before the beginning of the sessions and after their end. The visual fields are recorded and are available to the patient when he/she requests them.
- At the same time, the evolution of the visual fields performed at the “Orasis Acupuncture Center” are important for comparing the course of the patient’s vision.
Age Related Macular Degeneration: The Method of Medical Acupuncture at the “Orasis Acupuncture Institute”
- The Acupuncture Protocol for the Improvement of Vision uses thin, atraumatic needles which are placed under the skin in specific anatomical areas.
- The parts of the body on which needles are placed, consist of the following groups:
- Local spots around the eyes and the facial area, acting beneficially for the eyes and vision.
- Central points: They are placed ‘’far’’ from the eyes, in the upper and lower extremities and the head. These points activate the Central Nervous System in many ways, beneficially for the vision.
- Ear Acupuncture points: This is the placement of needles in points beneficial to vision that belong to the microsystem of the ear.
- Electro Acupuncture: The action at specific acupuncture points multiplies up to ten times when combined with electrical stimulation. The stimulus is controlled and does not cause discomfort to the patient. In every session aimed at improving and supporting vision, Electro Acupuncture is also used in areas that, based on research, activate the visual cortex of the brain (e.g. gallbladder 37). These points are mainly located around the eyes, to the forehead and to lower extremities.
- The duration of each acupuncture session is 30 minutes. One has the possibility to do two consecutive sessions a day with an hour interval from each other.
- The “Orasis Acupuncture Institute” suggests 10 intensive acupuncture sessions to improve vision through the course of one week. The neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory action and antioxidant action of Acupuncture is prolonged up to 6 months after the completion of sessions. The patient in order to maintain the result is mandatory to repeat the protocol at least after 6 months.
Nevertheless, many patients repeat the protocol every 2 or 3 months in order to preserve the benefits.
Our commitment to our patients
At the “Orasis Acupuncture Institute”, our well trained Doctor and Ophthalmologist Acupuncturists, after a comprehensive consultation to understand your entire health profile, with an integrative and individualized approach will form an acupuncture treatment promising your health improvement.
At our Institute, we all are so confident of the effectiveness of our treating method on the Macular Degeneration Disease that we fulfill our approach with a guarantee “no treatments’ charge” policy, if there is a lack of improvement after two days of treatments.
At our Institute, in the period of Covid-19, we care about your safety and we implement all the prescribed health protocols of the Greek Ministry of Health and the Infectious Diseases Commission of EODY.