Accounts of Personal Experiences
For a definition of acupuncture and links to further information, see the MD Support Glossary.
I’ve never really given an opinion about our experience with acupuncture, I guess because I’m not really sure of the results.
I brought my girls and my mother-in-law [to Dr. Per Otte in Hot Springs, Arkansas] desperately looking for help. My mother-in-law has really poor vision. While taking the treatments, she said she could see the embankment to the sidewalk, and had not been able to see it before. Later that evening, one of my two girls said that she could see the channels on the TV from across the room. The other said, “Daddy, I can see your eyes looking at me.”
They took a field test before the treatments, then half way, another test. The doctor gave us a readout and told us they were improving and to continue with the treatments. My oldest says she thinks she has gotten a little worse, but she still drives and attends college. I’m not sure what their acuity was at the time.
My father-in-law wants them to go back, as he feels it helps them out emotionally. As you can imagine, paying for two gets really expensive. If I could be sure it works, I would pay every penny I have. I can’t encourage or talk someone out of going. Other people we talked to before going were so enthusiastic about it. We were treated very nice by Dr. Otte and his staff. Every one there has a story that makes you realize sometimes you are really lucky, compared to some. I wish I could be of more help.
For anyone who might be interested, I decided to give the acupuncture a try. I first had an exam, including the flourescein angiogram, which indicated to the ophthalmologist that there would be a chance of some successful results.
Before beginning the treatments, they did a field test to ascertain my peripheral vision. An hour after that field test, I began the acupuncture regimen, which consisted of three sessions that same day, at 9:00 AM, 11:00 AM, and 2:00 PM. The fourth session was the following day, and the fifth the day after. Sessions were about twenty minutes long. This was done in a room with four examination-type tables, but wider and longer. They were side by side, and each session I went through, the other tables were occupied by people having the same thing done.
Two needles were placed in the ball of each of my feet, one needle in the side of each hand, and three needles spaced across the width of my forehead. That being done, the ceiling lights were turned out, soft music began to come from speakers in the ceiling, and four people lay quietly, while energy of some sort was supposedly finding its way to my eyes.
The day following the last of the five sessions, I had another field test. The doctor showed me the printouts, before and after. Some of the black areas (no vision) had become a dark grey, rather than black, indicating, according to her, some improvement. She told me that nothing would help my left eye, which has virtually no vision, but that the intent is to try to preserve the right eye as it is – not to worsen.
I suppose that I would want to continue with the therapy to see what happens, but her recommendation was a minimum of three sessions per week, for a minimum of fifteen sessions. It is pricey, too pricey. Twenty sessions is $1200, none of which is covered by Medicare, and I am fairly certain that other types of insurance (HMO, etc) do not cover it.
This ophthalmologist studied under Per Otte in Kansas City. He brought it to this country from Sweden, I believe. My decision at this point is to drop the acupuncture and go with nutrients.
I bit the bullet and spent two weeks in Hot Springs Village at the Arkansas Therapy Center, where I had three acupuncture treatments each day for two weeks. The first day I had a visual fields scan of each eye. The left eye looked bad with a great deal of black, especially in the center and much red. The left eye showed some black, lots of red and some green and yellow. After five treatments, a repeat scan showed definite improvement; and after two weeks, there is only a little black in the left eye scan, unfortunately in the center of my vision. (I have a great deal of scar tissue there) There is much less red and more green, and even some of the desired yellow!
I still can’t read or see faces with my left eye, but I have a greater field of vision. My vision tests proved that I had gained some acuity, going from 20/360 to 20/230. My better eye improved so that the scan is mostly yellow and green. My acuity improved here also, both for near and distant. Colors are brighter, whites are whiter. I am able to read smaller print and can comfortably read the newspaper.
I am NOT cured and there is no promise of a cure. After suffering for four years of treatments by my RS who is an outstanding doctor and who was formerly with the Wilmer Eye Clinic at Johns Hopkins, he told me that there was nothing else that he was able to do for my left eye. There was too much scar tissue there! Yet the acupuncture treatments have helped me to “see” better. I don’t know why. These treatments also help patients with other eye condition such as retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma, etc.
I spoke with most of the other patients there, who all were members of the visually impaired brotherhood. We became very friendly and cheered one another on. With only one exception, there was improvement in their vision. Some improved more than others. One woman had been unable to drive, and she improved so much that she went home and regained her driving permit. When I met her at the clinic, it was her second visit, and she had driven from another state to Arkansas without any difficulty, except that she won’t drive at night. Another patient, a white cane patient, had tears in her eyes when she regained sufficient vision to once more see faces. She had a four year old granddaughter whom she had never “seen,” even though she lived around the corner from her. Now this woman was going home to Florida to “see” her granddaughter for the first time.
It would seem that it is worth investigating. Every little bit of improvement in our vision is wonderful, and for most patients, this improvement continues to last. We are advised, however, to return for additional treatments after six months or a year, depending upon the severity of one’s condition. That does not seem excessive when I consider how often I had to return to visit the RS.
The clinic is located in a safe and convenient place with a nice motel within a block or less and a grocery store, resturants, and a bank all only a very short walk away. I flew to Little Rock where a shuttle driver met me. He was recomended by the clinic. Everyone was kind and caring.
I went for acpuncture treatments at Hot Springs and it helped me a lot. My eye chart showed improvement and I could even read the numbers in the telephone directory better. I went back in a year and the e ye tests showed that the vision gain had held, but it didn’t help me the second time. I was on a number of blood pressure medicines and one in particular that hindered the treatments. There are certain medications that do hinder it. It does not help some people at all. Since I am not on that medicine now, if my vision gets worse I may try it again if they haven’t come up with something else.
I went to NJ and spent two weeks doing the microacupuncture treatment there. I met several individuals who have been doing it for years and who claim that it has stopped the progression of their MD and/or slowed it down. But I didn’t have an experience that showed any benefit. My eye is highly myopic, -16, and I learned shortly before I left that my right eye had a macular hole. The practitioner uses the standard Humbolt or Octopus testing of retinal sensitivity but it also depends upon how fast one reacts and is not all that accurate. Some people really do show a tremendous improvement in their scores on this test. I showed a tiny improvement after the end of the 1st week, but at the end of the 2nd I was just as bad as I’d been the 1st day, even though the acupuncturist tried to convince me otherwise. The data was pretty clear! I did get a slight improvement in visual acuity, a line better on the Snellen chart.