Our clinical experience in the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa has indicated that Traditional Chinese Medicine may have some potential in improving RP patients’ night vision, day vision, visual field and quality of life. Further well designed prospective study is needed to investigate the efficacy of WVIP treatment. We call for the cooperation of ophthalmologic research groups from around world to advance this promising treatment.
The following issues need to be verified in future research:
Monitoring system: developing a system of tests to monitor the progress of RP patients objectively. We initially propose the following tests: Retina exam and photography; ERG (electroretinograms); Humphrey visual field test; visual acuity test; dark adaptation test; Colour vision test. We welcome feed back from other professionals in the field.
To determine which subtypes of retinitis pigmentosa is more responsive to WVIP treatment. Treating various subtypes of RP patients with WVIP, to determine which type is the most sensitive to treatment. The study population should include all types of RP, and match with age, gender, severity of vision impairment and length of disease. The sample size should be 3 to 5 patients per subtype of RP.
To determine which therapy is most effective:
Our WVIP treatment employs three modalities—- acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and antioxidant supplements. Once we know which subtype of RP is most sensitive to WVIP treatment, then we could select about 40 patients of that type to be studied. The study could be divided into 4 groups: group 1 is treated with acupuncture, group 2 is treated with Chinese herbal medicine, group 3 is treated with antioxidants, group 4 is treated with WVIP—- all three modalities together.
To study the mechanism through which WVIP works:
Much pharmacological research has demonstrated that Chinese herbal medicine does have anti-mutagent effects on genes. Would Chinese herbal medicine be an effective tool to manipulate the expression of genes in RP patients? This is a field of research worthy to be explored.