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What Kind of Eye Diseases Can Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs Help?


Ophthalmology of Traditional Chinese Medicine is unique in the understanding of physiological functions and pathological changes of the eyes, diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases. It looks at the eye as a part of the whole body linked with the internal organs through the meridians so that the eye is able to reflect the whole body’s health condition and the body’s problem also will affect the eye and cause eye disease. Therefore, when TCM ophthalmologists provide a treatment to a patient, he/she will never try to only treat the head when there is a headache, or to only treat the foot when there is a foot pain. Instead, the TCM ophthalmologist will make a thorough examination to identify the cause of the problem, and then treat the eyes as well as the whole body that causes the eye problem according to the syndrome differentiation. Eye diseases respond well to acupuncture and Chinese medicine, which has been successfully used to treat a wide range of eye diseases for centuries in China.

In contrast, Ophthalmology of TCM has an advantage in prevention and treatment of the following diseases.

1. Ocular bleedings: These include various retinal bleedings and vitreous hemorrhages caused by retinal periphlebitis, retinal vein occlusion, diabetic retinopathy and bleedings of the anterior chamber, conjunctiva and eyelids caused by ocular trauma.

Acupuncture, traditional Chinese herb formulas and Chinese patent medicines such as Yun Nan Bai Yao, Xue Shuan Tong and Tong Qiao Huo Xue Tang etc. have been widely applied in clinical practice to treat the above conditions.

The treatment methods include clearing heat and cooling blood to stop bleeding in the early stage and activating blood circulation to remove blood stasis in the middle and late stages of the ocular bleedings.

2. Difficult and chronic ocular fundus diseases: Eye diseases such as retinal pigmentosa, optic atrophy, and age-related macular degeneration have clear diagnosis, but they lack effective treatment so as to be convicted of “incurable illnesses” with conventional medicine. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have special methods and good results for such eye diseases. For example, replenishing the liver and kidney, removing blood stasis to treat retinal pigmentosa and classic Chinese herb formula Ming Mu Xiao Yao Tang to treat children’s optic atrophy have all proved to have good results.

3. Recurrent eye diseases which cannot be cured by western medicine: Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are the better solution for some eye disorders that usually have repeated attacks which usually cannot be cured by western medicine. They include paralytic strabismus, ptosis in myasthenia gravis, herpes simplex keratitis And children’s frequent winks with unknown cause, etc.

4. Complications of eye surgery: Western medicine combined with acupuncture and Chinese medicine can take care of some postoperative complications better and help the wound heal faster. These conditions include prolonged healing of a postoperative wound, postoperative low intraocular pressure for an extended period, sub-retinal fluid retention after retina detachment surgery and progressive vision decrease after glaucoma surgery.

5. Restoring the balance of the body during an illness or after a surgery: After eye surgeries or taking a long period of drugs for eye problems, some patients may suffer from dizziness, shortness of breath, tiredness, fatigue, abdominal fullness and bloating, spontaneous or night sweating, insomnia etc. Even though the patients feel very bad with such symptoms, there are no significant findings in the physical or blood tests, so there are no specific treatments for them with Western medicine. Chinese medicine considers those conditions as disharmony of body’s qi, blood, yin and yang. By applying acupuncture and Chinese herbs to regulate and restore the balance of the whole body’s qi, blood, yin and yang, the patients can obtain quick recovery.