Stargardt disease: Acupuncture gives hope to patients
Stargard (Stargardt’s) disease is the most common form of hereditary dystrophy and eye’s macular degeneration. It is caused by a gene mutation and its clinical appearance begins in some cases before the individual reaches his/her 20 years of age. Stargardt disease accounts for about 7% of all retinal degenerations, grossly affecting 1 per 10.000 individuals. The disease usually manifests itself in early childhood or adolescence, but later onset has also been reported. As with all autosomal conditions, males and females are equally affected. No race predilection has been noted.
What are the symptoms of Stargardt’s disease?
The patient’s symptoms may vary. Blind spots, blurring, loss of depth perception, decreased perception of colors and difficulty adjusting to low light are some of the symptoms described by patients with Stargard’s disease.
Initially central vision is affected and peripheral vision can be also progressively affected. Patient’s loss of visual acuity cannot be treated with common vision glasses. The younger the patient’s age, the quicker the progression of the disease, and the prognosis worsens as well.
What are the diagnostic tools for Stargardt’s disease?
Diagnosis is made by special imaging methods that exist and are currently available for patients. The dredging of the eye and the color photography of the bottom of the eyes will show certain lesions. Most of them can be found centrally but some also on the periphery of the bottom of the eye, in cases where there are orange-red spots (special condition called Fundus Flavimaculatus). Genetic testing is currently not performed on a routine basis.
The best form of imaging is bottom self-fluorescence, a special representation of the bottom of the eye, which shows the accumulation of Lipofuscin in the cells of the dark epithelium. Also, this examination shows the atrophy of this layer, represented by dark spots or dark areas due to the death of cells from the accumulation of Lipofuscin.
In addition, electrophysiological testing of vision is very useful for investigating the function of the retina in light and darkness. The electroretinogram confirms the diagnosis and in retests also shows the trend for future progression of Stargardt disease.
Therapeutic Approach: Acupuncture can help patients with Stargardt’s disease
Unfortunately up to this day, there are no particular therapeutic developments that can give patients hope for the treatment of the disease with classical medicine.
Stargardt’s disease does not have any specific treatment. It is recommended to avoid vitamin A and stop/abstain from smoking.
Western Classical Medicine’s efforts to treat Retinitis Pigmentosa and Stargardt’s disease – according to the latest published study by the American Academy of Ophthalmology – have so far been unsuccessful. Stargardt disease remains an incurable condition.
The only way to reverse the progression of this disease is to treat it with Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture. Acupuncture practiced by qualified doctor – acupuncturists has been shown to not only reverse but also improve visual acuity by acting primarily on the macula of the eye and less on the rest of its retina.
Vision Acupuncture Institute
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Cosmos Center, Offices 536 – 538
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