Vision Loss and Eye Health

Acupuncture can treat many eye conditions where there is no analogous western medicine approach. Typical examples include Dry Eye, Macular Degeneration, Glaucoma, and Retinitis Pigmentosa. Abigail Ballaban studied with world renowned Chinese Medicine Ophthalmologist, Dr. Andy Rosenfarb of Acuvision. At ASK Acupuncture, Abigail treats:

  • glaucoma and regulation of optic nerve pressure,
  • macular degeneration,
  • styes,
  • blocked tear ducts,
  • lazy eye,
  • night blindness,
  • eye strain, and
  • dry eye due to various causes such as screen time or menopause, as well as
  • other unusual eye conditions.

If you have a chronic degenerative eye condition, Abigail will gladly coordinate with your ophthalmologist to ensure that you are receiving the best possible care.

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration (wet and dry) is an accumulation of metabolic waste that starts off as soft and fatty deposits which calcify over time and become hard. These deposits block the micro-capillaries and blood vessels of the eyes; especially the macula, and lead to oxygen deprivation. This is the dry phase. It can switch to wet macular degeneration when the body tries to grow new blood cells to feed the macula, but the vessels are weak and can rupture easily.


Glaucoma is an increase in intra-ocular pressure which affects the functioning of the optic nerve. Over time, the increase in pressure will cause optic nerve atrophy, which will lead to progressive vision loss. It is vital to ensure that the optic nerve integrity, strength and function.

Retinitis pigmentosa

Retinitis pigmentosa is an accumulation of pigmentation; which is essentially another type of metabolic waste. The build-up is typically due to inflammation and oxidative stress. The body tries to break down the accumulation through an anti-inflammatory process, but actually ends up suffocating the cells and blocking blood flow to and from the eye.


Macular Degeneration, Glaucoma, and Retinitus Pigmentosa) can cause blindness if left untreated. Our clinical objectives are to improve and recover lost vision and to preserve the vision that you have long-term.  Patients may have been told by their doctors that they will go blind.  About 15% of eye patients do not respond to treatment, however, that leaves 85% that do.

Causes of Vision Loss

  • Oxidative stress – when we get stressed we have a tendency to breath less often and less deeply. This decrease in oxygenation in our bodies and our cells can cause damage to our tissues, and in this case the eye tissues.
  • Inflammation (local and systemic) – when there is inflammation, the body responds with anti-inflammatory agents. Anti-inflammatory cells are too big to cross the blood brain barrier to get to the eyes, so the body cannot decrease inflammation in the eyes.
  • Poor circulation – ocular blood vessels are very small, and they are also on the brain side of the blood brain barrier; there needs to be good circulation to and from the eyes to keep the different types of cells in the eyes healthy.

Acupuncture Treatment Phases for Eye Conditions

  • Recharge/Recover: During the first 1-2 months of treatment, we schedule treatments 2-3 times/week. If there is a major spike in vision recovery, this is when it will happen. In this phase, the main treatment goal is to awake dormant cells of the eye.
  • Repair/Regenerate: This phase takes 8-15 months of treatment, with a frequency of 2-4 times/month.  The objective during this phase is to regrow and heal cells that are abnormal or damaged.  As a patient, you may continue to see small improvements over this time.
  • Preserve/Maintenance:  This becomes a long term strategy to preserve your vision. Treatments will be 1-3 times/month and will be an ongoing/permanent part of your health care. The long term goal is to keep the vision that you have stable.

Contact Abigail Ballaban

Contact Abigail at (503) 389-8938 for more information on how acupuncture treatment can help your specific eye condition.