Macular Degeneration

Acupuncture for Macular Degeneration

An Acupuncture Protocol For Treatment Of
Age-Related Macular Degeneration: A Second Report

Alston C. Lundgren, MD


Background:  Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the major cause of vision loss in older people. An earlier publication reported preliminary
data. This follow-up report confirms earlier results and expands treatment parameters.

Objectives: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of acupuncture to treat AMD and to explore treatment parameters.

Design, Setting, and Patients: Case series of 108 patients (56 women/52 men, median age 76.1 years [range 47-96 years]), seen at a single private practice in New Mexico (US) in 2003-2004. All patients were diagnosed by their ophthalmologist as having macular degeneration. Thirty-two percent (32%) of eyes had wet AMD, 50% dry, and 18% were not specified.

Intervention: An acupuncture approach combining periorbital electrical stimulation, ear acupuncture, and a French Energetic technique was applied to each patient.

Main Outcome Measures: Increase in visual acuity measured by Early Detection and Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy Studies (EDTRS) charts.

Results: Overall, 69% of patients improved in distant vision and 69% improved in near vision. Patients with both wet and dry forms of AMD benefited equally. Half of patients had subjective vision improvement, 33% of patients gained more than 2 lines on EDTRS charts, 20% reported lessening or disappearance of scotomas, 7% of patients noted improved color vision. The only complication was an occasional ecchymosis and recovery was uneventful.

Conclusion: Visual acuity in AMD may be improved by acupuncture. Further research is necessary to optimize the protocol and elucidate the mechanism of action.


Volume 16, Number 3, Medical Acupuncture An Acupuncture Protocol For Treatment Of Age-Related Macular Degeneration: A Second Report

Volume 14, Number 2, Medical Acupuncture, Medical Acupuncture for Age-Related Macular Degeneration: A Preliminary Report

Volume 17, Number 3, Medical Acupuncture, Macular Degenerative Disease and Acupuncture Safety Precautions