Acupuncture for amblyopia or “lazy eye”

Amblyopia, better known as “lazy eye” may affect up to 5% of the children. The condition is caused by brain and one of the eyes not communicating properly. And this study to be published in the Journal of Optalmology promises that acupuncture may be able to help to speed the recovery.

Lazy Eye or amblyopia Acupuncture

The Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences (DOVS) of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and Shantou University jointly conducted two clinical trials. 171 randomly chosen children who had lazy eyes were treated.

The children aged 3 to 6 responded the best to acupuncture; children aged 7 to 12 had a moderate response; the treatment effect was negligible in children aged 13 or above.

The kids were divided into two groups, one was treated with corrective lenses. The children in the second group received acupuncture five days per week for 15 weeks plus the corrective lenses.

Children aged 3 to 6: about 15 percent of the children treated with corrective lenses recovered while 57 percent of the children treated with the combination of acupuncture recovered.

Of the 7-12 age group, the children treated with the combination of acupuncture and orthodox treatment experienced a 41 percent recovery rate.

Back in 1993 I spent some time learning acupuncture at the Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The experience was exceptionally interesting.

The university has an affiliated Acupuncture/Chinese Medicine hospital, which is the largest of the kind.

The outpatient acupuncture department had a number of doctors each specialising in treatment of different conditions with acupuncture including pain, gynecological conditions, gall bladder, eye  and others.  I spent a couple of weeks in the eye department and then went back a few times to follow up some patients. The treatment results amazed me. Since then I saw and was able to help only one visually impaired patient here in New Zealand. It is a shame, the expertise I gained didn’t come in handy more often. Even though the treatment is used in China, very few doctors if any aware of this option in New Zealand.

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