A hereditary condition leading to peripheral loss of vision, Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is the result of the gradual degeneration of structures, known as cones and rods, situated in the retina. The person’s peripheral vision is gradually narrowed as the disease progresses although the person may still have a clear and intact central vision until the condition reaches its final stages. It has been shown that acupuncture is an effective treatment for RP. The following is a list of frequently asked questions on how acupuncture works in addressing Retinitis Pigmentosa.

1. If you have been diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, at what point should acupuncture be started?

Resulting in a gradual degeneration in vision, Retinitis Pigmentosa is a disease that needs to be treated at the earliest possible time. Once your eyesight is lost, it would be very hard, even impossible to restore it.

2. How long does the treatment take?

There are two stages in the treatment of RP: the first stage involves an initial assessment to identify the level of response of the patient to acupuncture plus the current maintenance treatment for the disease. The patient should be examined first prior to the start of the treatment in order to determine a baseline by which progress can be compared. To see if acupuncture is really effective, improvements in vision should be observed and measured. Usually, five days of intensive treatment will comprise this initial stage and if improvement is seen, then this stage can be extended for one more week. The next stage involves treatments twice or thrice per year with the duration of each treatment lasting one to a couple of weeks.

3. What results are to be expected?

As early as the initial week of rigorous therapy, some improvements in sight may already be evidenced. Depending on how well the patient responds to the treatment, these results can last for up to three to six months. Occasional therapies may be needed for the maintenance of the results.

4. Is there any difference in using acupuncture as a standalone treatment and in acupuncture complemented with Chinese herbal therapy?

TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) and acupuncture in Miami are adjunct therapies for the treatment of RP. To resolve underlying problems, TCM uses herbs. These underlying conditions can be autoimmune, metabolic or issues dealing with chronic inflammation. To halt the further worsening of the condition, acupuncture boosts blood circulation to the eye and stimulates the visual centers of the brain, photoreceptor cells, and optic nerve.

5. Can acupuncture be an ineffective treatment for some RP patients?

Acupuncture treatment causes certain signals to be sent to the brain to activate certain parts of the body to generate a desired response. Brain damage due to disease or injury will make it difficult for the patient to positively respond to the treatment making the treatment ineffective. Certain narcotics and prescription medication and extreme emotional trauma may also be factors that render acupuncture treatment inutile.

6. What is a much better treatment for RP, long-term treatments or intensive therapy? Does treating RP require more than one round of treatment?

Both long-term treatments and intensive therapy are effective. Long-term treatments lead to gradual results and should be continued regularly to prevent further vision loss. Intensive therapy can bring about instant results and follow-up treatments are needed for maintenance of the results and are usually brief.

7. What treatment produces much better results, laser acupuncture or traditional acupuncture?

A recent innovative form of traditional acupuncture, laser acupuncture is a technique that utilizes light emitting diodes producing low intensity laser energy (instead of needles) to stimulate the meridians. Laser acupuncture produces the same results as traditional acupuncture but is a much preferred procedure for people who are scared of needles.