Vision Rescue

Publishing house :- Mail Today Publishing Date :- 06 Jan 2009

VISIOn RESCUE - Mail Today 6 January 2009
The Only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision, says Helen Keller, the Americanrs author and first deaf and blind per son to graduate from college. Sight is perhaps the most precious of our senses. Our perceptions, thought patterns and in turn attitude towards life develops from it. Losing the ability to seel is anyone's nightmare. So, it was not surprising when 13-year- old Nilima Kapoor panicked when she started los ing vision in her left eye.She suddenly experienced difficulty reading and apting to dimly lit places. "I was scared that I would not be able to attend school properly and the year would go waste," Nillma confesses. Tests revealed that she was suffering from macular degeneration, a chronic eye disease marked by deterioration of tissue in that part of eye responsible for the central vision. Visits to various eye surgeons, eye exercises and med ication did not help and the condition progressed. Nilima's father then came across Dr Avnish Chopra, who works with needles and colours to help patients suffering from ailments involving degeneration of retina, the light sensitive part of our eye which helps us see. He refers to this tech nique as microsystem acupuncture- a smaller, modified version of acupunc ture which is effective for eye diseases. Three sessions improved Nilima's eye sight and ability to read. Five more sessions were done with her to stabilise this improvement.
The discovery or rather formulation of microsystem acupuncture occurred when a friend of Dr Chopra who was suffering from retinitis pigmentosa, began searching for a cure. "We toured various countries, including Cuba, Mexico, US, Germany, Sweden and China, but could not find a perfect cure. We tried various therapies of which acupuncture and colour therapy were helpful. So I decided to combine the two and we arrived at microsystem acupuncture," Dr Chopra says. Now three years and 750 patients later, the technique has been successful espe cially In cases where there was no hope. Ali Asgar, a 50-year-old businessman from Surat, was almost blind before he took to microsystem acupuncture. His family members and sixth sense were the only trusted companions who helped him deal with day-to-day obstacles. "After the second'session, he could see a ray of light. Things turned from black to grey. It has not completely cured his ail ment, but he can make out things now. "The good thing is his eyesight is not deteriorating. We are saving it for the day when medical science can offer complete cure. If eyesight is lost, there would be point of no return." says Asgar's wife.
' This technique Is a specialised form of acupuncture which also involves colour therapy. The concept is based on the idea that the body is an energy field and any disruption in this field can cause ailments. Inserting needles at certain points on the body can help correct these. For the correction of retinal problems, needles are inserted only on the hands and feet. While acupuncture is based on the theory that there are invisible lines through our body along which energy is carried to every organ and system, the microsystem method works on micro energy meridians. Needles are poked over a small area of 2 mm as compared to 1 cm in acupuncture. Around 200 points on the body need to be worked upon in 24 sessions ( 30 mins long) spread over eight days. The cost of this treatment is around Rs 40,000. "The results are visible even after two days. There is a measurable improvement in vision with 90 per cent of patients as compared to traditional acupuncture which takes weeks or even months to deliver outcomes," explains Dr Chopra.
This method is found to-be especially useful in retinal degenerative diseases, including retinitis pigmentosa, macu lar degeneration,macular dystrophy, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, for which conventional treatments do not provide much help. Dr Umesh Bareja, consultant oph thalmologist with Sitaram Bhartia Hospital, feels the eyes are an exten sion of our brain, for which global research is ongoing. "Certain allo pathic treatments may work for some people but there are diseases like retinitis pigmentosa for which nothing can be done. We need to understand in more depth before definite cure can be provided," he adds.
Colour therapy is integrated into the acupuncture technique and different colours are used for different diseases. While macular degeneration would require a needle washed with yellow light, diabetic retinopathy needs blue hue. Red works well for retinitis pig mentosa while a combination of colours is used for other ailments. "The colours have been chosen based on trial and error. At the initial stage, I used a combination of colours, but along the way I observed that certain colours worked well for particular diseases and formulated a colour scheme," says Dr Avnish Chopra.
The results with microsystem acupuncture are encouraging but not permanent. The patients are taught how to do an eye test and if their vision fails, another lot of the sessions need to be done. Considering that other treatments offer almost no hope, the short term relief provided by this tech nique is heartening. "Normally it takes six to 12 months for the vision to fail again. Moreover, there Is no side effect of the treatment since we work with the body not medicine," says Dr Chopra. Patients are handed out eye-charts that they can use to self-check their vision. They are told to return at what ever point they notice the sligh test deterioration. Alexis Kitsios,a 29-year old teacher from Cyprus suffering from retinitis pigmentosa, says he will return this year for a follow up session. "I got my first session in March last year and follow up in September Right now I am stable, but may require another session after a few months," he says.
Retinitis Pigmentosa is a group of hereditary eye disorders that affect the retina, which Is the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye. In this, sight loss Is gradual but progressive.
Macular Degeneration is a chronic eye disease marked by deterioration of tissue In the macula, which Is at the centre of the retina and responsible for central vision. The result Is a blurring or development of a blind spot In your eye. While this doesn't cause total blindness, It diminishes the quality of life since clear central vision Is nec essary for reading, driving, recognising faces and observing the fine details of work. Glaucoma is called the silent thief of sight. Glaucoma can damage your vision so gradually that you may not notice that you aren't seeing clearly, until the disease is at an advanced stage. Abnormally high pressure of eye fluid is believed to be responsible for damaging the optic nerves. Glaucoma Is the second leading cause of blindness.
Diabetic retinopathy is a com plicatlon of diabetes resulting from damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue in the retina. At first, diabetic retinopa thy may cause no symptoms of only mild vision problems but may eventually lead to blindness.

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