Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy is caused by chronically high blood sugar from diabetes and is associated with damage to the tiny blood vessels in the retina, leading to diabetic retinopathy. The retina detects light and converts it to signals sent through the optic nerve to the brain. Diabetic retinopathy can cause blood vessels in the retina to leak fluid or hemorrhage (bleed), distorting vision. In its most advanced stage, new abnormal blood vessels proliferate (increase in number) on the surface of the retina, which can lead to scarring and cell loss in the retina.

Who is at risk for diabetic retinopathy?

People with all types of diabetes (type 1, type 2 and gestational) are at risk for diabetic retinopathy. Risk increases the longer a person has diabetes. Between 40 and 45 percent of Americans diagnosed with diabetes have some stage of diabetic retinopathy, although only about half are aware of it. Women who develop or have diabetes during pregnancy may have rapid onset or worsening of diabetic retinopathy.  The early stages of diabetic retinopathy usually have no symptoms. The disease often progresses unnoticed until it affects vision. Bleeding from abnormal retinal blood vessels can cause the appearance of “floating” spots. These spots sometimes clear on their own. But without prompt treatment, bleeding often recurs, increasing the risk of permanent vision loss.

Diabetic retinopathy may progress through four stages:

  1. Mild nonproliferative retinopathy. Small areas of balloon-like swelling in the retina’s tiny blood vessels, called microaneurysms, occur at this earliest stage of the disease. These microaneurysms may leak fluid into the retina.
  2. Moderate nonproliferative retinopathy. As the disease progresses, blood vessels that nourish the retina may swell and distort. They may also lose their ability to transport blood. Both conditions cause characteristic changes to the appearance of the retina and may contribute to DME.
  3. Severe nonproliferative retinopathy. Many more blood vessels are blocked, depriving blood supply to areas of the retina. These areas secrete growth factors that signal the retina to grow new blood vessels.
  4. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). At this advanced stage, growth factors secreted by the retina trigger the proliferation of new blood vessels, which grow along the inside surface of the retina and into the vitreous gel, the fluid that fills the eye. The new blood vessels are fragile, which makes them more likely to leak and bleed. Accompanying scar tissue can contract and cause retinal detachment—the pulling away of the retina from underlying tissue, like wallpaper peeling away from a wall. Retinal detachment can lead to permanent vision loss.

The Energetic Vision Diabetic Retinopathy Protocol

In Chinese medical theory the ability of the eyes to see things and to distinguish colors is one of nature’s true miracles. Being an extremely important part of the human body’s ability to relate to the world, the eyes have a close relationship with the Qi, blood, fluids, vessels and all organ systems.  All of these connections allow the Qi to flow upward from the organs to allow the eyes to see.  Within Chinese medical theory the function of sight is completely attributed to the healthy function of the internal organs.  Any type of dysfunction of the related organs will restrict the Essential Qi from reaching the eyes resulting in declining vision.  For example, there are 6 possible patterns and treatment principles for degenerative vision loss in the Liver organ alone and well over 100 different possibilities in the entire organ system.  This is why at Energetic Vision we spend an hour with you before we begin treatment to understand what vessels are affected and to determine a course of therapy that is based on your individual imbalances.

The Energetic Vision Diabetic Retinopathy protocol is a proactive, comprehensive treatment program for enhancing and managing vision and overall health. It is applicable for most types of retinal disease as well as glaucoma and iritis (uveitis).  The standard beginning protocol is intensive and involves 10 total acupuncture treatments that are to be completed within a one week timeframe. Each acupuncture session lasts about 30 minutes and clients usually do 2-3 treatments per day with an hour in-between.

Included with your treatment are 2 sets of eye tests that help us document your results along the way. We first test at your intake session and again after ten sessions. The eye tests performed in the clinic include: contrast sensitivity, color field, near and far acuity and Amsler grid. It is required that you have a thorough eye exam from your ophthalmologist within three months prior to starting the treatments.  This report and your health history are to be submitted one week prior to the start of treatments.

Within the Diabetic Retinopathy protocol, we will take an in depth look at many likely factors that can influence vision including: overall health, nutrition, supplements, household toxins, personal care products, stress, dental history, emotions and exercise. Addressing these issues is essential to helping the acupuncture succeed.  Depending on the severity of your eye condition, follow-up treatments are mandatory to maintain vision gains. Some clients may choose to do monthly maintenance sessions after their first two sessions, while others may visit the clinic every quarter or even annually. Each person responds differently and will require a unique, flexible continuing care plan.   

Acupuncture cannot cure your eye disease but in most cases it can substantially improve it and your quality of life. There are four stages of health for the nerve cells in the retina and optic nerve: 1. Normal or healthy; 2. Dormant; 3. Damaged or sick and 4. Death.  The treatment protocol attempts to stimulate and wake up the dormant cells and restore them to function while helping to heal and rejuvenate the damaged/sick cells.  It also seems to protect the healthy cells from further deterioration.  This treatment does not have a 100{c68bf756b33312f06872e8bd4150c576eaf33060712a7963b1c244043614e939} success rate but 80{c68bf756b33312f06872e8bd4150c576eaf33060712a7963b1c244043614e939} of patients report positive results.

Most patients are treated fully clothed. For optimum comfort, loose-fitting clothes are recommended. Because they interfere with treatment, no jewelry, watches or heavy perfumes may be worn during an acupuncture session.

We use sterile, disposable needles and have been nationally board certified in clean needle techniques.

At Energetic Health, your well-being – mind, body and spirit – is of our utmost concern. Here you can expect to find a caring environment in which you will be treated with compassion and respect.

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