Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of rare, genetic disorders that involve a breakdown and loss of cells in the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye that contains photoreceptors and other cell types. Common symptoms include difficulty seeing at night and a loss of side (peripheral) vision.
What causes RP?
RP is an inherited disorder that results from harmful changes in any one of more than 50 genes. These genes carry the instructions for making proteins that are needed in cells within the retina, called photoreceptors. Some of the changes, or mutations, within genes are so severe that the gene cannot make the required protein, limiting the cells function. Other mutations produce a protein that is toxic to the cell. Still other mutations lead to an abnormal protein that does not function properly. In all three cases, the result is damage to the photoreceptors.
What are Photoreceptors?
Photoreceptors are cells in the retina that begin the process of seeing. They absorb and convert light into electrical signals. These signals are sent to other cells in the retina and ultimately through the optic nerve to the brain where they are processed into the images we see. There are two general types of photoreceptors, called rods and cones. Rods are in the outer regions of the retina, and allow us to see in dim and dark light. Cones reside mostly in the central portion of the retina, and allow us to perceive fine visual detail and color.
How does RP affect vision?
In the early stages of RP, rods are more severely affected than cones. As the rods die, people experience night blindness and a progressive loss of the visual field, the area of space that is visible at a given instant without moving the eyes. The loss of rods eventually leads to a breakdown and loss of cones. In the late stages of RP, as cones die, people tend to lose more of the visual field, developing tunnel vision. They may have difficulty performing essential tasks of daily living such as reading, driving, walking without assistance, or recognizing faces and objects.
How common is RP?
RP is considered a rare disorder. Although current statistics are not available, it is generally estimated that the disorder affects roughly 1 in 4,000 people, both in the United States and worldwide.
How does RP progress?
The symptoms of RP typically appear in childhood. Children often have difficulty getting around in the dark. It can also take abnormally long periods of time to adjust to changes in lighting. As their visual field becomes restricted, patients often trip over things and appear clumsy. People with RP often find bright lights uncomfortable, a condition known as photophobia. Because there are many gene mutations that cause the disorder, its progression can differ greatly from person to person. Some people retain central vision and a restricted visual field into their 50s, while others experience significant vision loss in early adulthood. Eventually, most individuals with RP will lose most of their sight.
The Energetic Vision Retinitis Pigmentosa 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 Retinitis Pigmentosa 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 Retinitis Pigmentosa 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% success rate but 80% of patients report positive results.