Chinese Medicine & Eye Care

The human body is a complex, organic unit. Its tissues and organs are interrelated and mutually dependent. Therefore the health of the eyes, as the optical organ of the body, can influence and be influenced by any and every other organ in the body.
Acupuncture has been successful in treating a wide range of visual conditions including glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, optic neuritis and optic atrophy. The Western and Eastern medical approach varies in a fundamental way. Western medicine defines eye disease on the basis of the pathophysiological disease process (how “X” causes “Y”), and assigns a specific diagnosis to define the underlying pathology. Once this diagnosis is made, the treatment and medication are often the same for patients with similar diagnoses, regardless of differing symptoms. This approach can be very effective for acute conditions, but often falls short for ongoing chronic conditions where the cause or causes of the symptoms are elusive. In Chinese theory, every individual is viewed as unique. Chinese medicine looks for patterns of disharmony in a person to determine the relationship between “X” and “Y.” Healing does not depend on identifying how X causes Y, but on how X’s and Y’s are interrelated. Practitioners of Chinese medicine do not put labels on disease, but rather determine treatment based on the pattern of symptoms the patient manifests.

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According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), all diseases involving the eye are closely related to the liver. It is also understood that the eye is nourished by all of the internal organs in the body. The lens of the eye and the pupil basically belong to the kidney, the sclera to the lungs, the arteries and veins to the heart, the top eyelid to the spleen, the bottom eyelid to the stomach, and the cornea and iris to the liver. The Spleen and Stomach also control circulation in the eyes. Therefore an imbalance in any of the internal organs may lead to eye disease.

  1. the type of work we do (90% of accountants are nearsighted while only 10% of farmers are nearsighted)
  2. lifestyle, which includes whether we smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol and coffee, exercise, attitude, etc.
  3. adaptation to stress
  4. computer use
  5. what we eat as well as how well we absorb nutrients
  6. health conditions
  7. medications
  8. genetics

MAJOR ACUPRESSURE EYE POINTS

There are a number of acupuncture/acupressure points around the eyes (basically around the orbits of the eyes which are the bones that surround the eyeballs). The points shown above are some of the major local eye points.

  • Jingming (UB-1) Urinary Bladder Channel, lies where the inner corner of the eye meets the nose. Bladder 1 and 2 are perhaps the best two points for eye problems of all kinds from early-stage cataracts or glaucoma to hysteria with vision loss. They are also used for problems with conjunctivitis due to Wind-Heat and Liver Heat, to blurred vision in the elderly due to Deficient Jing and Blood
  • Zanzhu (UB-2) Urinary Bladder Channel, lies in the depressions at the inner ends of the eyebrows. Bladder 1 and 2 are perhaps the best two points for eye problems of all kinds from early-stage cataracts or glaucoma to hysteria with vision loss. They are also used for problems with conjunctivitis due to Wind-Heat and Liver Heat, to blurred vision in the elderly due to Deficient Jing and Blood
  • Yuyao Midpoint of the eyebrow in the hollow. Good for eye problems related to worry, excessive study and mental strain.
  • Sizhukong (SJ 23) Sanjiao or Triple Burner Channel, in the depression at the outside end of the eyebrow. This is a local point good for eye and facial problems, whether due to Wind invasion or the Liver Yang and Fire.
  • Tongziliao (GB 1) Gall Bladder Channel, lies in the cavities on the outside corners of the eye sockets. Good for eye problems including conjunctivitis, red sore eyes, photophobia, dry, itchy eyes, early-stage cataracts and blurred vision, as well as lateral headaches.
  • Qiuhou Midway between St-1 and GB-1 along the orbit of the eyes.
  • Chengqi (St 1) directly blow the pupil on the infraorbital ridge bone. This is a main point for all eye problems, including those due to Wind Cold, Wind Heat and Hyperactive Liver Yang.

Instructions for doing self-acupressure for eye health:

GENTLY massage each acupuncture point around the orbit of the eye, starting with B1-1 and massaging each point as you go up and outward. Each point should be massaged for approximately 5-10 seconds. You can massage both eyes at the same time. You can do this massage as often as you like over the course of the day. You may find that each point feels different in terms of sensitivity.

Keep BREATHING as you massage. Deep breathing helps the cells of your eyes receive the oxygen they need for healing. Practice long, slow abdominal breathing while massaging the acupressure points.
CAUTION: If you are pregnant, consult a trained acupuncturist before treating yourself. Do not massage on an area if it has a scar, burn or infection.

SELF-HELP: Since we consider most eye conditions to be a reflection of the health of the whole body, lifestyle choices and diet can play a major factor in getting and maintaining good vision. Below are some recommendations:

  • The Vision Diet.  Recommended in Natural Eye Care, co-authored by Marc Grossman, O.D., L.Ac. Studies show patients can reduce their eye pressure by five to seven millimeters with an improved diet and supplement program. In general, a diet high in betacarotene, vitamins C and E, and sulfur-bearing amino acids are recommended. Foods containing those nutrients include garlic, onions, beans, spinach, celery, turnips, yellow and orange vegetables, green leafy vegetables, seaweed, apples, oranges and tomatoes.
  • Daily Juicing (organic if possible) – 1 pint per day minimum. Up to 2-8 pints per day for healing. Vegetables used should be mostly greens.
  • Drink lots of water – 8-10 glasses of purified water. Avoid carbonated, caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. They can actually dehydrate your eyes.
  • Manage your stress – meditate, take a walk in nature, practice yoga, visualization techniques or prayer on a daily basis.
  • Exercise daily – do at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise daily. Walking and swimming are two excellent forms of exercise.
  • Eye exercises can help to bring energy and blood to the eyes, thereby helping to drain away toxins or congestion to the eyes.
  • Avoid foods to which you are allergic: a study of 113 patients with chronic simple glaucoma showed immediate IOP increases of up to 20 millimeters when they were exposed to foods in to which they were allergic. Manage stress. Take up meditation, yoga, tai chi, or any practice that helps you relax. Some consider glaucoma a stress related condition.
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