In a fast paced and ever changing world, as our ideas of Western medicine have changed in recent years, individuals in this present day are clamoring for a more comprehensive plan of treatment from its doctors and medical care providers.

The reductionist style of assigning each symptom to the realm of a specific specialist that is detached from the whole person is now being slowly set aside for more adjunctive modes of healthcare like Chinese medicine and acupuncture. More and more people are starting to consider each individual as an integrated being. In determining treatment strategies The specific symptoms that brought the patient to treatment as well as dietary preferences, the types of relationships the person is currently in, exercise programs, and dietary choices are considered in order to determine the kind of treatment the patient will get..

It is my opinion that our eyesight is rooted in our totality and not an isolated phenomenon. Who we are is made up of our genetic composition, our work environment, the foods we eat, our belief systems, our exposure to toxins in the air, and our world. Each of us is unique and our senses, most especially, our eyesight are the means in which we take in the world. How we perceive the world is, to a certain extent, a mirror of who we are. The visual issues we exhibit also further mirrors who we are.

Our body is an integrated living dynamic system and works as a whole rather than an isolated set of parts. Each of our body’s cells possesses receptors for neurotransmitters; hence, every cell is practically a nerve cell. We do not think with our brains or see with our eyes, but instead have a “minding body.” The consciousness of our biological cells is actually the basis of vision, the power to find meaning from light which are electromagnetic patterns and to course our action according to this interpretation.

In Chinese medicine, the skin of our body is filled with tiny electric eyes known as acupuncture points or acupoints, for short. They run parallel along channels called meridians where energy flows. When energy in these channels flow smoothly, there is neither illness nor pain. When obstructions develop along the meridians, illness and pain occur. Each acupoint is a door to enhanced sensitivity near the skin’s surface, giving the acupuncturist easy access to the meridians to remove obstructions.

In our society, vision issues are reaching epidemic levels, the multi-billion dollar business that is the eye care industry offers as its major tools contact lenses, eye glasses, and eye surgery to virtually all peoples of the Western world.

Year after year, patients with worsening vision go to their eye doctors who tell them that their problem is a typical consequence of aging and there is nothing they can do to prevent that visual decline. They, especially those diagnosed with glaucoma, are usually placed on medications for a lifetime.

Listed below are some examples of common mainstream advice or treatments that holistic therapies can equally measure up to for the prevention of deteriorating vision.

1. A lifetime of drugs is immediately prescribed by doctors for patients suffering from early stages of glaucoma or they advised to wait and see if the condition gets worse. Meanwhile, those patients are not informed of any other preventative steps that could be taken.
2. The patient’s prescriptions are being increased each year, as required by their eye care providers. The professional usually blames the aging process for the degradation of eyesight even in children.
3. Doctors tell people suffering from macular degeneration that there is nothing that can be done about their problem, and that some of them eventually will go blind.
4. Cataract sufferers are told that there is nothing that can stop the growth of their cataracts and all they can do is to wait until the cataract “ripens,” which can then be removed via surgery.

What about, education, prevention, and rehabilitation? An abundance of peer-review studies provably shows that these vision problems can respond to nutritional supplements, lifestyle modifications, and proper diet and that vision can be preserved in these people. Herbalists, acupuncturists, and other leaders of the complementary health care profession, can easily adapt to the role of helping preserve people’s eye sight.

Surgery and drugs are at times needed and can save vision in certain acute instances. Western medicine’s role in saving vision and lives is remarkable. In practice however, modern Western medicine is devoid of the preventive and holistic measures that can easily make the need for drugs and surgery totally unnecessary. People suffering from macular degeneration and other such conditions Western mainstream medicine cannot treat and has virtually nothing to offer these people. This is an excellent reason why holistic therapies should be at the frontline of medicine instead of being at the tail end.

Eye Care and Chinese Medicine

An organic and truly sophisticated unit, the human body, its organs and tissues are mutually dependent and interconnected with each other. Hence, the eyes’ health, as the body’s visual organ, can be affected and can also affect any organ in the body.

In the treatment of a wide range of optical conditions including optic atrophy, optic neuritis, macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma, acupuncture has been proven to work extremely well. There is a fundamental difference between the Western and Eastern medical approach.

Western medicine specifies eye disease based on the process of the pathophysiological disease (“X” causes “Y”), and designates a specific diagnosis to specify the underlying problem. Once a diagnosis has been determined, the therapy and drugs are usually uniformly prescribed for patients with the same diagnoses, in spite of differing symptoms. For acute issues, this approach can work well, but won’t work for chronic conditions in which the reason (s) for the symptoms cannot be identified.

In Chinese medicine, each individual is deemed as unique. Practitioners focus on identifying a patient’s patterns of disharmony in order to determine the relationship between “X” and “Y.” Treatment is not based on knowing how X causes Y, but on how the interrelationship works between the X’s and the Y’s. Diseases are not labeled in Chinese medicine; instead, treatment is determined based on the pattern of symptoms exhibited by the patient.

TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) believes that all eye conditions are intimately affiliated with the liver. Also, it is believed that the eye gets its nourishment from all internal organs in the body. Basically, the iris and cornea of the eye associates with the liver, the top eyelid to the spleen, the eye’s veins and arteries to the heart, the sclera to the lungs, and the pupil and lens to the kidney. The Abdomen and Spleen also govern blood flow in the eyes and when an imbalance in any of the internal organs occurs, the final consequence may be eye disease.

People’s experiences show that visual health is a dynamic process that includes such considerations as:

• Attitude, lifestyle, including whether we exercise, drink coffee or alcohol, and smoke cigarettes, etc.
• Adaptation to stress
• Genetics
• Drugs
• Health conditions
• Diet including how well our bodies absorb nutrients and what we eat
• Computer use
• Our work (10% of farmers are nearsighted while 90% of accountants are nearsighted)

Common Acupressure Eye Acupoints

Surrounding the eyes lie several acupressure/acupuncture. This includes the points surrounding the orbits of the eyes which are basically the bones around the eyeballs.

1. Stomach (St) 1 Chengchi right under the pupil on the bone of the infraorbital ridge. This is an important point for all eye conditions, including those caused by an overactive Liver Yang, Wind Heat, and Wind Cold.
2. Chiuhou right in the middle between Gallbladder (GB) 1 and St 1 along the eyes’ orbit.
3. Gall Bladder (GB) 1 Tonghsiliao located outside corner cavities of the eye sockets. Ideal for issues such as lateral headaches, blurred vision, early onset of cataracts, itchy dry eyes, photophobia, sore red eyes, and conjunctivitis.
4. Triple Burner Channel Sl 23 Sanjiao or Sizhukong found in the cavity at the eyebrow’s outside end. For facial and eye problems, this is a good local point, for issues related to Liver Yang and Fire or Wind invasion.

5. Yuyaoin on the cavity located right in the middle of the eyebrow. Ideal for mental strain, excessive study, and worry related to eye problems.
6. Urinary Bladder (UB) 2 Zanzhu found in the cavities at the eyebrows’ inner ends. Bladder 1 and Bladder 2 are probably the best acupoints for all types of eye conditions from earliest onset of glaucoma or cataracts or glaucoma to vision loss with hysteria. UB 1 and UB 2 can also be used for conjunctivitis related to Liver Heat and Wind-Heat, to foggy vision among seniors caused by Deficient Blood and Jing.
7. UB 1 Jingming, found in the area where the nose meets the eyes’ inner corner. Same as 6.

How to Do Acupressure on Yourself for the Health of Your Eyes

Mildly massage each acupoint around the eye’s orbit, beginning with Bl 1. Massaging each acupoint as you go outward and upward. Massage each point for around five to ten seconds. Massage both eyes simultaneously, if you desire. During the course of the day, you can perform this massage as often as you want. In terms of sensitivity, you may feel that each point has different degrees of sensitivity.

As you massage, do some deep breathing. This helps increase oxygen in the cells of your eyes crucial for healing. Do slow and long stomach breathing whilst massaging the acupoints.
Warning: Consult a qualified practitioner before performing acupressure on yourself if you are pregnant. Never massage a body part that has an infection, burn, or scar.

Self Help

Since most of us believe that most eye conditions is a reflection of our body’s general state of health, diet and lifestyle choices can be a crucial factor in maintaining and attaining good vision. The following are some vital health tips:

1. Stay away from foods you are allergic to: In a study involving 113 participants suffering from chronic simple glaucoma, results revealed rapid IOP elevation when these people ate foods they were allergic to. Alleviate stress by doing activities that can help you relax. This can include tai chi, yoga, and meditation. Some believe glaucoma to be a stress related problem.
2. Eye exercises can increase the flow of blood and energy to the eyes, which helps remove congestion and washes away toxins from the eyes.
3. Exercise every day: Do aerobic exercise at least 20 minutes each day. Two other ideal forms of exercise are swimming and walking.
4. The Vision Diet. In some studies, patients show that with an improved supplementary and diet program, eye pressure in the eyes can be reduced by 5 – 7 mm. Basically, a diet rich in sulfur-bearing amino acids, vitamins C & E, and beta-carotene are recommended. Foods having those nutrients include tomatoes, oranges, apples, seaweed, leafy green vegetables, orange and yellow vegetables, turnips, celery, spinach, onions, beans, and garlic are also advisable.
5. Control stress – Pray daily, do visualization techniques, practice yoga, talk a walk in the park, or meditate.
6. Drink lots of water – This means drinking eight to ten glasses of purified water each day. Avoid alcoholic, carbonated, and caffeinated beverages as they can actually dehydrate the eyes.
7. Juice daily (organic if possible) – At least one pint a day. For healing, to two to eight pints a day. Choose vegetables that are dark and leafy green.
CAUTION: Talk to a qualified acupuncturist before doing self-healing techniques especially if you are pregnant. Never massage an area with an infection, burn, or scar.

Scott Paglia is a licensed and board certified acupuncturist in Bellingham, WA and provides master level pulse diagnosis, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture in Whatcom County, WA.