Indian Journal of Ophthalmology

: 1983  |  Volume : 31  |  Issue : 7  |  Page : 1043--1046

Role of acupuncture in the treatment of `Incurable' retinal diseases

N Subramanya Reddy, Narasimha Murthy Fouzdar 
 Institute of Ophthalmology, Sarojini Devi Eye Hospital, Hyderabad, India

Correspondence Address:
N Subramanya Reddy
Institute of Ophthalomology, Sarojini Devi, Eye Hospital, Hyderabad-500 028

How to cite this article:
Reddy N S, Fouzdar NM. Role of acupuncture in the treatment of `Incurable' retinal diseases.Indian J Ophthalmol 1983;31:1043-1046

How to cite this URL:
Reddy N S, Fouzdar NM. Role of acupuncture in the treatment of `Incurable' retinal diseases. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 1983 [cited 2021 Sep 20 ];31:1043-1046
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Full Text

Acupuncture, and old chineese approach to human ailments, provide a new powerful reinforcement to the field of modern medicine.

The object of this study is to find-"Is Acupuncture of any use in Ophthalmology?" This is a prelimenery study on the use of acupuncture in chronic incurable retinal dis­eases, where the proven methods of medical, surgical treatments are ineffective. From this study of small group of cases, the results showed the answer-Yes, Acupuncture does work and it has a place in Ophthalmology'.


According to acupuncture science, human body is divided into twelve definite and fixed channels pertaining to the organs of the body. Through these channels flow the vital energy known as `Qhi'. This `Qhi'-equivalent to `Prana' of Hindu philosophy is produced and met­abolized in the body by an admixture of Oxygen, protein & carbohydrates.

This `Qhi' has two components known as Yin' and `Yang'. There is always perfect har­mony between this `Yin', and `Yang', the result of which is perfect health. Whenever there is an imbalance between these two it results in a disease state.


We selected for this study the cases of Retinitis pigmentosa, optic atrophy. Myopic degeneration, and macular choroiditis. Pat­ients with these chronic retinal diseases are a large sad group every ophtholmologist en­counters in his daily practice. Most of these patients are dejected with firm engravement in their minds, that their vision cannot be regained and what vision they posses at pre­sent would not last for long but deteriorates further & further to `Zero' level. These 'incur­able' eye patients going from doctor to doctor and clinic to clinic only to be told, honestly enough that there is nothing to be done for them.

Cases are selected after careful inves­tigations & diagnosis, after every known con­ventional method of treatment, until the vision, visual field and even the subjective feeling of the patient were at stand still and could benefit no more. All routine medica­tions were discontinued. Best lens correction were prescribed, where it was necessary. Acupuncture treatment was then started at this `zero' point and further progress, one way or the other, has recorded at frequent intervals.


Nine local & distal points were selected in all the eye diseases.


The rim of the orbital bone is the land mark.

1. Retrobulbar /z" below the inner canthus

(Hsiaching ming)

2. Retrobulbar 'h" below the outer canthus


3. Skin point 1/2" above the mid eye brow in the line with the pupil (Yangbai).


1. Cephalic point, where anter-posterior and vertical skull lines meet (Baihui or Ashirvad).

2. Highest point of the first interossi muscle when the thumb & index fingers are closed (Hegu).

The needles are of stainless steel, fine, thin 32 gauge ii " long with silver wound handles. No anaesthesia was needed. The needles were i trocuced just like ret­rubulbar injections. Llectro-stimulation was used to stimulate he points whereby voltage, frequency and amplitude were adjusted to individual patient tolerance and comfortability (1) Volt current with frequency of 1-5 cycls/sec. A course us­ually consists of 20 minutes stimulation evey day for 20 days. Check up of both sub­jective and objective improvement were noted at frequent intervals. After 15 days interval another course of treatment was given. Monthly check ups were carried out to assess whether there was maintaince or deterioration of final vision.


50 caes were selected and given the acu­puncture, out of which large group was Retinitis Pigmentosa (20), optic atrophy (12). Mypic degeneration (10) and macular cho­roiditis (8) cases.

Subjective symptoms of improvement were seen in all these cases in the first 5-6 days itself. Patients with perception of light can see the objects. Nystagmus usually starts reduc­ing in intensity & frequency. They say that they can see their palmar creases clearly. Bet­ter clarity of the vision occurs after 10 days of treatment. Children showed faster improve­ment then the elder group.


[Table 1]

This is the happiest group. 20 cases were given treatment in the age group of 7 yrs to 75 yrs. Intial vision various from PL to 6/24 with improvement 1/60 to 6/12 respectively. There was good improvement in about 15 cases (75%) and slight improvement in the remaining cases. There was no change ther in fundus picture or in visual fields. Thre was no regres­sion of improved vision even after 2-3 months check-up.


[Table 2]

12 cases of all types of optic atrophy were -tried. There was fairly good improvement in ~3% (4) cases and moderate improvement in others.


[Table 3]

10 cases were given the treatment. Myopic spectacle correction varies from-SD to -18D. Improvement of vision was seen in almost all cases. In 40% cases there was reduction of -1 D to -1.5D spectcle correction.


[Table 1]

Results inn this group were not encouraging, though some cases showed slight improve­ment.


Regardless of the diagnosis, incurable retinal diseases, respond favourbly to acup­uncture. The mechanism and rationale of how it works and why it works, is to be studied yet. Probably, it is the macula not the entire retina that responds to the treatment. Improve this macular function, then any retinal dis­ease may show improvement.

Acupuncture is not a substitute for conven­tional method of treatment. The treatment of night blindness by acupuncture was men­tioned in ancient books 3000 years, althouch they knew nothing about Retinitis pigmentosa. It is our duty of this noble profession not to deprive these blind people of their right to perceive and enjoy this beautiful rustic world and help them to regain what little vision they can.

Dear colleagues, when you have a case of Retinitis pigmentosa and exhausted every kind of treatment and can think of nothing more to offer your patient, donot send him away without hope. Try acupuncture, prove to yourself how greatful you make your patient feel It is simple. It is easy. It is harmless.


We thank Dr. R. Musalappa Reddy, M.S.,D.O. Superintendent, Sarojini Devi Eye Hospital & Institute of Ophthalmology. Hydera­bad-500 028 for giving up permission to carry out this work in the hospital.[2]


1Patel J.K and Loo. C.K., Principles and practice of acupuncture, Indian Medical Acupuncture Training & Research Centre, Baroda.
2Renald thing and Susan Wong. Acupuncture its place in the treatment of retinal disease, glaucoma, cataract, -20 Kennedy Terrase 7/4 Hong Kong.