Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

Acupuncture For Maintaining and Improving Vision

Oct 01, 2015 10:45AM ● By Dr. Fred Lisanti

 The light sensitive nerve panel in the back of the eye, known as the retina, is essential to healthy vision. It senses even a slither of light, enabling a picture to be formed and sent to the brain in less than a nanosecond. Various diseases, some of which are hereditary, can compromise the retina, including defects in the retina’s rod cells, cone cells or retina cells themselves. This group of issues, called retinitis pigmentosa, affects the retina’s ability to sense light and can lead to a loss of vision.

Various conventional medicines and approaches are used to keep this progression at bay, including stem cell, neurological and gene therapies. A 2014 study done by researchers at Johns Hopkins University shows that acupuncture has also shown promising results for retinitis pigmentosa.

What to Look For

Taking the eyes for granted could be a dangerous mistake. Get regular checkups, especially if any vision weakness or pain is experienced.

Symptoms of retinitis pigmentosa include:

  • Struggling to see in low light, such as at dusk or night
  • Narrowed central or peripheral vision
  • Loss of central vision when reading print or deciphering detailed images
  • Peripheral vision caused clumsiness (tripping over unseen objects)
  • Struggling with a constant glare

Under the Microscope

The Johns Hopkins study, published in the May 2014 issue of Clinical and Experimental Optometry, administered 10 half-hour acupuncture sessions over a period of two weeks. A full spectrum of pre- and post-treatment tests were recorded, measuring various fields of vision throughout. Improvements for some were seen in dark adaptation, night vision, and large field visual expansion after just one week.

The researchers concluded that, “Acupuncture entails minimal risk, if administered by a well-trained acupuncturist and may have significant, measurable benefits on residual visual function in patients with retinitis pigmentosa, in particular scotopic sensitivity, which had not previously been studied.”

Acupuncture in Action

Acupuncturists can work with ophthalmologists to help patients with retinitis pigmentosa.

While there is no known cure for the condition, the acupuncture protocol focuses on:

  • Improving metabolism of optic cells
  • Increasing circulation to the retina
  • Maintaining central vision
  • Enhancing visual acuity

The acupuncture points for targeting retinitis pigmentosa can vary, depending on each individual. It is a painless, safe application using undetectable, hair thin needles. The process requires a quiet, meditative period of 30 to 45 minutes, which allows the flow of impacted Qi (life force energy) to become unstuck. In this way, acupuncture for retinitis pigmentosa may be an excellent maintenance program to enhance the longevity of vision.

At Integrative Med Solutions, Dr. Fred Lisanti designs individualized acupuncture and naturopathic treatment programs for patients. Integrative Med Solutions is located at 281 White Plains Rd., in Eastchester, NY. To learn more or make an appointment call 914.337.2980 or visit