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Acupuncture May Help Improve Vision In Children With Amblyopia.

The CNN (12/13, Curley) “The Chart” blog reported, “Acupuncture is helping to improve vision in children with lazy eye, according to a study published online Dec. 13 in the Archives of Ophthalmology.” For the study, “researchers compared the effectiveness of two hours of daily patching therapy with acupuncture for treating lazy eye in 88 children aged seven to 12,” all of whom “had already worn glasses for at least 16 weeks.”
HealthDay (12/13, Mozes) reported, “About half the children were treated five times a week with acupuncture, targeting five specific acupuncture needle insertion points (located at the top of the head and the eyebrow region, as well as the legs and hands).” Meanwhile, “the other half were given two hours a day of patch therapy, combined with a minimum of one hour per day of near-vision exercises, such as reading.” Then, “after about four months of treatment, the research team found that overall visual acuity improved markedly more among the acupuncture group relative to the patch group.”
Focusing on specific points of improvement, WebMD (12/13, Doheny) reported, “At 15 weeks, visual acuity with eyeglasses improved by about 1.8 lines on the vision chart in the patched eyes and 2.3 lines in those who had acupuncture.” Notably, “an improvement of two lines or more occurred in nearly 67% of those in the patching group, but nearly 76% of those in the acupuncture group,” while “amblyopia was evaluated as resolved in nearly 17% of patched eyes but nearly 42% of the acupuncture group.”
MedPage Today (12/13, Fiore) reported, “The mechanism” why acupuncture works “remains unclear, but researchers say that acupuncture at vision-related acupoints may modulate the activity of the visual cortex.” What’s more, “acupuncture has also been shown to be effective in increasing blood flow to the cerebral and ocular vasculatures, stimulating the expression or retinal nerve growth factors and leading to metabolic changes in the central nervous system.” The study authors “called for further study of the value of acupuncture in treating amblyopia.” Reuters (12/13) also covered the study.