Treating Retinitis Pigmentosa with Traditional Chinese Medicine
TCM Perspectives and Therapeutics
Traditional Chinese medicine has been used to treat night blindness for centuries in China. In modern time these experiences were applied directly to the treatment of RP, because night blindness is the most distinctive symptom of RP.
According to TCM, vision of the eyes is dependent on the continuous supply of blood from the liver and Yang energy from the spleen. The blood nourishes the eye and keeps its physical integrity. The Yang energy enables the eye to see things. In a healthy person, Nature's Yang energy rises during the day; the body's yang energy also rises following the Nature's, which enables eyes to see better because of increased supply of Yang energy. At night Nature's Yang energy goes down, the body's Yang energy also goes down following it - leading the eye to see things less clearly at night.
Most RP patients are deficient in Yang energy. When the body's Yang energy is lowered at night, people with deficient Yang energy will have more difficulty seeing things - leading to night blindness. When Yang energy continues to become lower and lower, it leads to a loss of day vision and eventually blindness. However, some RP patients are due to liver blood deficiency which is often the secondary result of spleen yang deficiency. Liver blood deficiency could then affect the physical integrity of the eyes, resulting in poor vision.
According to the above understanding, we have designed a clinical protocol----Wellspring Vision Improvement Protocol (WVIP) for the treatment of RP. WVIP consists of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and antioxidant supplements.
Acupuncture: Very fine needles are placed on the face, arms and legs. Patients receive acupuncture once a day, twice a day or 2-3 times a week, depending on the patients individual situation. Each course of treatment consists of 15 to 20 acupuncture. It will take 1-3 month before we start the next course of treatments.
Chinese herbal medicine: We have formulated a proprietary herbal formula 'Guang Ming' for the treatment of RP. Guang Ming formula contains 18 herbal ingredients. It is modified to meet each individual patient's need when applied to treatment.
Patient's symptology and constitution are the main determinants in the modification process. Patients are asked to boil the herbs as a decoction drink 2-3 times a day. One course of treatment lasts 3 months. Patients take the tea on a continual basis.
Antioxidants: The eye is one of the most vulnerable organs of the body to oxidation damage from free radicals. Thus, it is believed to be beneficial to take some antioxidants for the protection of the eye from further free radical damage. Patients are asked to take antioxidants on a daily basis.