According to a study performed by New York Eye and Ear Infirmary researchers, acupuncture works just as well as, or even better, than Western conventional therapies in treating lazy eye,
The medical term for lazy eye is amblyopia. This disorder usually affects one eye and is distinguished by poor vision in the affected eye. The most common reason for childhood vision problems, lazy eye can be easily corrected with contact lenses or glasses if they are used by the child before the age of 7. The condition becomes more and more difficult to correct after that age; by then, other treatments that intentionally make the strong eye weaker in order to force improvement in the weak eye are used. One such treatment commonly used is the wearing of a patch over the strong eye. Another technique is to use eye drops to blur the vision in the strong eye.
A recent Chinese study involved 88 children with ages 7 to 12 who all suffered from lazy eye and either had to wear an eye patch over their strong eye for a couple of hours each day or had to be administered with acupuncture for five times a week. All children had to wear new eyeglasses and were given orders to perform near-vision activities for one hour each day.
Six months and one week later, 70% percent of the children in both groups showed improvements by two lines on an eye chart. This means an improvement in eyesight from 20/40 – 20/25. With respect to recovery, acupuncture proved much more effective than wearing an eye patch as gleaned in the results: in the acupuncture group 42% showed improvements compared to only 17% in the group who had to wear an eye patch.
Acupuncture holds certain advantages over Western standard treatment. One reason is that the former offers limited hardship on the patient compared to the latter. One example of this is Western medicine’s use of vision-blurring drops on the strong eye of the child which can make homework difficult; moreover the wearing of an eye patch can result in severe social stigma for those children.
One negative aspect about acupuncture treatment though is that the child needs to undergo five weekly sessions of the treatment which means greater time commitment from parents. One other issue is that in the United States, there are just a few acupuncturists who are trained to resolve lazy eye. But when a child with lazy eye has been treated with acupuncture in Cleveland, the child is guaranteed of total cure without suffering the consequences associated with Western conventional treatments.