Acupuncture and Macular Degeneration

Mary was born in Boca Raton and attended FAU in Boca Raton, where she participated in many social activities and helped female professionals gain workplace rights. After graduating, she worked at different hospitals for many years as a social worker. She’s always had a very healthy diet and tries to educate patients to use food to improve their health. After reaching fifty years of age, she switched to a primarily vegetarian diet: she mostly consumed fish, tofu, and beans, while having chicken once or twice a week. However, she loved eating spicy food and nuts. She had been very healthy until she hit menopause; that’s when she started to develop inflammation in the eyes, intestinal membranes, and feet. She was told she has neuropathy in both feet due to poor circulation.

At the age of fifty, she was diagnosed with macular degeneration in her right eye at the Boca Raton Regional Hospital and began acupuncture treatments at the Acupuncture School in Fort Lauderdale. Her left eye retina was also detached three times and required surgery in West Palm hospital. The scar tissue that accumulated as a result of these multiple surgeries ultimately caused all vision to be lost in her left eye. While the wet and dry macular degeneration in her right eye was severe, she refused to have medicine injected into her eyeball and instead had another surgery in her right eye due to the bad experiences with her left eye. She also developed multiple hernias in her abdominal area which required repair surgery, and foot neuropathy as a result of her surgery and high spicy food intake. She started acupuncture treatment when she turned 50 for her medical issues, including the inflammation in her gut and her feet, her vertigo, and her back pain. Her abdominal muscles became weak with age and inflammation, she developed bowl obstruction many times and had had surgeries to repair her hernia. When she came to her acupuncturist after her last bowel surgery, she became very weak, she lost her appetite, she felt very dizzy and her back and foot pain prevented her from walking for more than two minutes. Her mind is still sharp with good memory. She still has some vision from her right eye, she decided to use acupuncture to make her stronger and reduce the inflammation in her intestine and her retina.

At the age of ninety, she began acupuncture treatment for her right eye at the Boca Raton Acupuncture Clinic because she lost her left side vision after multiple surgeries and wanted to try something new to keep her vision on the right side. After just four treatments, she began to feel more energized and became more active socially, playing cards with her friends at her independent living community. Her acupuncturist also recommended reducing her spicy food consumption in order to reduce the inflammation in her intestines and her retinas. After four years of biweekly acupuncture treatment and radical diet changes, she was able to drastically improve her digestion and slow down her macular degeneration. Mary will soon celebrate her 95th birthday, and still drives, walks without a cane, and continues to live a healthy and active life!

In this case, Mary believes that spicy food helps boost immune function and reduces her inflammation. She does have a good memory and had relatively strong immune function up until she reached menopause. Her kidney Yin was weaker due to her menopause; her body could not tolerate too much stimulation and internal heat, which spicy food provides. She did not change this life-long spicy food habit until her intestine and retina had so much inflammation that she had to have multiple surgeries to fix the macular degeneration and her bowel inflammation related obstruction. But Mary is very open minded, she was willing to figure out why all the inflammation occurred to her and even was trying to eat a vegan diet. Mary also believes nuts are very healthy and so she ate a lot of nuts. Nuts can induce a histamine release, aggravating her inflammation in her retina and intestine. She started changing her dietary habits once she realized that her inflammation can be changed with slight adjustments to her diet. When we pass 90 years old, our body has less reserve to balance the extreme diet: too much salt, spicy food, alcohol, sweets and nuts. If you tend to have a big appetite, you need to control the amount of healthy food that goes into your body. Moderation is the key to be healthy and happy with clear mind and sharp vision.