– Are there ever needles put into the eyes?
No needles are inserted in the eyes when treating vision disorders.
– Where do the needles go?
Most of the needles are placed in the bottoms of the feet and the palms of the hands. There is no more than one needle in each eyebrow area, never with electricity.
– Is Acupuncture safe?
Yes, Acupuncture is safe when practiced by a qualified practitioner licensed by the state and certified by the national certification commission, the NCCAOM. All needles are one-time use, disposable needles. Lizbeth Ryan is licensed by the State of Arkansas and certified by the NCCAOM. – Does Acupuncture Hurt? For the most part, Acupuncture does not hurt, although any needles inserted in the hands and feet can be tender.
– When will I start to see results?
Observation of the visual field scans and acuity tests we do usually reveal improvement within the first few days, or after seven or eight treatments. However, much depends on where the improvement occurs on the retina. For macular degeneration, Stargardt’s, and rod/cone dystrophy patients who have lost central vision, it may take more time for them to experience a significant improvement. The reason for this is that even in cases where there is improvement, the patient may not observe the benefits until the blind spot in the central vision shrinks enough for them to have regained some central vision. Think of it this way: if the visual field scan shows a blind spot the size of a quarter and after a week of treatment the spot shrinks to the size of a dime, the patient still doesn’t have central vision. Using the visual field scan for testing and determining changes in vision helps the patient to see that things are changing for the better before they are able to experience the benefits. Although most patients will see some benefit, they still won’t be able to read, for instance, until we break through the blind spot right in the center of the visual field. For Retinitis Pigmentosa and glaucoma patients, the results are more apparent in cases where patients still retain central vision.
– Are there former patients I can talk to as a reference?
Definitely. We can connect you with patients who are suffering from eye conditions similar to yours who can share their positive experience with you. Please call our office and we can provide you the information.
– I have very little vision. Can I still receive help?
Yes, in most cases. However, for many patients, it may be difficult to regain enough vision for tasks such as driving and reading. There are cases where we are surprised at the amount of vision a person can gain. There doesn’t seem to be any hard and fast rule. There are many factors the determine the amount of vision a patient can gain.
– Is there any chance I will lose vision?
No, Acupuncture will not cause vision loss. In some cases, patients are losing vision very quickly and the Acupuncture, while helping the eyes to heal, does not stop the process of losing vision. The hope is that it will help stabilize the vision, but this can take time. If you have more questions about this, please call our office so we can determine if this is a good treatment option for you.
– I just got diagnosed with my degenerative eye disease. Should I come visit your clinic now or wait?
You should come as early as you can. The longer you wait and the more vision you lose, the more treatments you will be required to take (and the more it will cost). When patients are treated in the early stages of their disorder, often they are able to stay on a maintenance program which will equate to about one week a year, or less.
– When should I return for additional treatments?
The frequency with which patients return when receiving macular degeneration treatments, glaucoma treatments or Retinitis Pigmentosa treatments or for any other vision disorder depends on the patients particular condition; severity of condition, how quickly a person is losing vision, and how long the patient has suffered from their eye disorder. Every patient is different, but the thing to remember is that this treatment is not a cure, but will help the eyes heal. How does this happen? When a person has a degenerative eye disorder, there is a lack of regeneration; old cells can accumulate in the eye so the first treatments will help cleanse the eye of unwanted, dead cells in order to leave room for new cell growth. A lack of regeneration causes degeneration. So how often to come? Most patients will gain some vision the first visit, but will return within 4 to 6 months for another course of treatments. Between treatments it is common for there to be some vision loss. When you start to notice diminished vision, it is time to come back. Over time, most patients will come less and less, as there is a cumulative effect from each treatment session. Although there may be some lose between treatments, our goal is to help you gain more than you lose, showing a net gain over time. So it is important to return before you lose any vision you gained from treatment. This doesn’t mean the treatments aren’t working. Since it is not a cure, we can’t stop the development of the disease but we may be able to help the vision loss stabilize. The important thing is to keep ahead of it. If you talk to my patients, some of whom are on a call list that is available if you call our office, most will tell you that their experience is similar to what I just described.
– What is the difference between wet and dry macular degeneration?
There is only one type of macular degeneration; dry macular degeneration refers to the disease itself – the degeneration of tissue in the back of the eye in the area of the macula. The term wet macular degeneration is a progression of the “dry macular degeneration” that occurs in a small percentage of patients who have macular degeneration. Inside our bodies there are natural barriers around the organs that keep unwanted, abnormal blood vessels from growing through the tissue, and this is the case with the back of the eyes. With the weakening, or thinning, of the retina that occurs with macular degeneration that barrier can break down, allowing the growth of unwanted blood vessels. These abnormal blood vessels tend to be weak, and therefore can leak fluid into the eye. When a physician can see these abnormal vessels growing, it is determined that the patient has “wet macular degeneration.” Not all patients with wet AMD will experience leaking. Regardless of whether or not there is leaking it is still considered wet macular degeneration. The important thing to keep in mind is that the underlying disease is still present. The dry macular degeneration didn’t turn to wet, it progressed to wet.
– Do you only treat eye diseases
?No, I was trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) so I treat most conditions that are treatable by this modality. Pain is the condition most commonly associated with Acupuncture treatment. However, the strength of Oriental Medicine is its ability to help people suffering from chronic, enduring diseases such as those causing arthritis, hormone issues, neurological, lung and heart problems; “exterior” syndromes including colds, the flu, urinary tract infections, digestive disorders, and more. Conditions relating to all systems of the body can be helped to some degree. When treating chronic, enduring diseases, I encourage the use of Chinese herbal prescriptions. These herbal formulas work like Acupuncture, working energetically to bring balance to the whole body.
– What is the difference between Traditional Chinese Medicine and the treatment you do for degenerative eye disorders?
The effect of the treatments for Retinitis Pigmentosa, macular degeneration, and glaucoma – what I think of as the three classes of eye disorders – has to do with the “level” within the body at which these Acupuncture treatments work. Traditional oriental Acupuncture works within the main “vessels” or Acupuncture channels or meridians. Although this ancient modality is helpful for maintaining balance within the body, it does not work at the deepest level within the body. Getting deep into the tissue to induce healing of the eyes requires using a special set of Acupuncture points that are not recognized within the traditional system. I have found that other problems associated with compromised deep circulation such as peripheral neuropathy, Alzheimer’s disease, liver disease and such, require something more than what we can achieve with traditional Acupuncture treatments. Although traditional Acupuncture can help, it does not necessarily cause a true healing of the tissue. The micro-acupuncture that I use, along with the Acunova does help the heal the tissue by allowing for new cell growth.