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.