Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine have long been used to help treat a variety of eye issues including dry eyes and lack of tearing. A new study recently published has demonstrated the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating dry eyes when compared with a control group. The study used 2 groups of participants, with the experimental group receiving acupuncture 3 times a week for 4 weeks. The researchers used a device that is able to measure the presence, size, and thickness of a tear layer that covers the eyes called the tear meniscus. This tear meniscus is often not present in those with dry eyes and is used as a diagnostic measure and means of diagnosis for dry eyes. After the study, those who had received the acupuncture had a significant increase in the size of the tear meniscus. The study utilized a series of acupuncture points that have a traditional indications and usage for treating eye diseases and treatments were done by experienced acupuncturists.
Chinese Medicine relates the eyes to the Liver. The Liver is an important organ in Chinese medicine as it is responsible for ensuring the proper flow of qi and blood in the body, essentially it is in charge of your body’s circulation. The liver also has the function of storing the blood, much like the western physiological function of the liver acting as the body’s filter, cleansing toxins and helping to metabolize the body’s wastes. The liver is also strongly related to the emotions of anger and irritability, and can often be affected by a high stress lifestyle. When the liver energy rises, due to excess emotions, or poor diet or lifestyle, it can affect the eyes, causing them to become red or bloodshot, anger can literally make you see red. Additionally, the Liver is related to the Kidneys as a strong container for the body’s nourishing and moistening yin energies. Often times, as people age, or when a high stress lifestyle begins to catch up with the body, the nourishment the liver provides to the eyes can be reduced, which can result in red, tired and dry eyes.
Chinese medicine has several treatment options for dealing with a variety of eye problems ranging from diminished vision, to floaters, poor night vision, excessive tearing and as we are talking about today, dry eyes. Acupuncture can help regulate and redirect your bodies’ qi and blood to help nourish the eye and eliminate dryness. There are also several herbal medicine formulas that have been used for hundreds of years to help with dry and tired eyes. Additionally some common foods and herbs have long been used to treat eye problems. For example, a simple tea made of dried Chrysanthemum flowers and Goji Berries can be used daily to help with eye problems. Chrysanthemum is called Ju Hua is Chinese herbal medicine and is used for a variety of eye disorders. Goji berries, called Gou Qi Zi are also used in a similar way to nourish and strengthen the eyes. On a different level, there are specific Qigong and Meditation practices used in Chinese medicine to enhance and correct vision problems.
Because our eyes are one of the strongest senses that we use to interpret the world around us, eye health is essential to helping us move through our lives unobstructed.
For a summary of the research study, click here.