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Stargardt's Disease: Hope Beyond Diagnosis with Acupuncture

Our eyes give us so much, from allowing us to see the most beautiful things of the world to tasks ranging from putting on makeup to driving. If you have been diagnosed with an eye condition that can lead to blindness, you want the best available treatment. Even with genetic eye diseases like Stargardt’s disease, patients are finding relief from centers such as Life Balance Clinic in Glenview, IL. 

What is Stargardt's Syndrome?

Stargardt’s Disease is a genetic eye condition. Sometimes it begins in childhood, but others do not notice symptoms until adulthood. 

It involves the buildup of fatty deposits over the macula, the part of your retina that you need for clear central vision. These eventually destroy the cells that detect light and allow you to see. 

What Causes Stargardt's Disease? 

Stargardt’s Disease is an eye disorder caused by a mutation in the ABCA4 gene. This is responsible for making a protein that cleans up fat left over from making new retinal cells. Around 1 in 20,000 people have this mutation. 

Symptoms of Stargardt's Disease

As Stargardt’s disease involves the macula, it involves a gradual loss of central vision in both eyes. What you see out of the corner of your eye (peripheral vision) won’t be as affected as what you focus on. 

You may also have trouble adjusting to changes in light, light sensitivity, color blindness, and spots in your central vision that may be grey or black. Without treatment, Stargardt’s disease worsens over time, but now there is a new hope. 

The Vision Recovery Acupuncture Program

The Vision Recovery Acupuncture Program by AcuVision is a new treatment for Stargardt’s Disease and other difficult to manage eye conditions. It involves acupuncture points in the hands and feet that are connected to your eyes. They are not used in any other acupuncture system, and were first found in the 1980s, while traditional points have been known for centuries. AcuVision also uses a stimulation of specific points around your eyes. 

A case series on local acupuncture for Stargardt’s disease found that all three siblings in the study had documented improvements in visual acuity and contrast. Their average visual acuity rose from being able to see only 24-25 letters on a chart to 31-32 letters. At the six-month examination, this rose further to 35 letters. Their average visual contrast changed from 1.3 units to 1.5. Longer follow-ups and larger trials are needed, but acupuncture for vision loss shows promise. 

Another case study demonstrates how acupuncture can be an effective natural treatment for macular damage, including Stargardt’s disease. Here, a girl with a macular injury caused by a laser pen found that her vision was largely restored by acupuncture, and imaging revealed a restoration of its structure. This demonstrates that acupuncture can repair a damaged macula in some patients. 

Treatment of Stargardt's Disease at Life Balance Clinic 

Dr. Vadim Dekhtyar, DACM is passionate about bringing acupuncture as a treatment for vision loss to patients in Chicago. With 33 years of experience and counting, he has additional qualifications in acupuncture for vision repair and has treated thousands of patients across a range of conditions. As your eyes are delicate organs that can develop complex problems, we recommend only selecting experienced practitioners and those practicing underneath them. 

If you are interested in seeing what acupuncture can do for your case of Stargardt’s disease or another eye condition, contact us at 847-724-1777.