It’s quite easy to take our eyes for granted, most of the time — we rely on them so continuously as we move around, take in information, and relate to others. If the eyes function beautifully, we tend to forget about them until they complain somehow; and if we have problems, we correct them as best we can, and then adjust to whatever blurriness or eyestrain remains.
Spring is a good time to enjoy and take care of your eyes. The Liver organ system, which nourishes and “governs” the eyes, is most active this time of year. And, there is so much more to see and for the eyes to do!
Have you ever noticed how much stress and fatigue affect your vision? The Liver system is very sensitive to tension, worry, pain, and muscle tightness; any of these may make it harder to focus, read, or see at a distance. Simply relaxing and soothing the eyes can make an enormous difference (see the post on giving your eyes a rest, below); if problems are persistent, acupuncture or herbal treatment that balances the Liver can be very effective.
People often have other visual problems like blurry vision, dry eyes, or floaters; these are often worse when we are tired, overworked, or not eating well. In Chinese medicine, this is due to insufficient “Liver blood” not nourishing the eyes, and can be treated with diet, herbs, or acupuncture.
And, this time of year, problems like red, itchy, or painful eyes often arise along with other allergy symptoms. For more information on treating allergies with Chinese medicine, see the posting on allergies under the category “respiratory”.
Acupuncture can also be surprisingly helpful for much more serious eye diseases, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, and other diseases that threaten the eyesight itself. It goes without saying that these conditions should be primarily under the care of an eye doctor. However, acupuncture can be a tremendous help in supporting the eyes and relieving symptoms.
For example, acupuncture has been shown to be very effective in decreasing eye pressure in glaucoma, and is often used by people who have not responded well enough to medication, or who want to decrease their medication due to side effects. In degenerative diseases, acupuncture can help alleviate symptoms like eyestrain, visual disturbances, night blindness, and sensitivity to light. By helping to nourish the eyes and increase blood flow to the area, acupuncture may also help slow the progress of disease and facilitate healing.