Eye is window to the world. We perceive the world around us mostly through eyes. The importance of eyes can never be exaggerated in a person’s life. It is said to be the light of life. Unfortunately there are many diseases which can take away this light. In many such conditions, medical science has no effective answer. But there is hope and the name of that hope is acupuncture. Accepted by WHO as effective treatment, acupuncture today is helping millions of people around the world. It is found effective in preservation of eye sight.
TCM basis of Eye Diseases
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM, on which acupuncture is based, eye can be affected by two types of disorders. One group is those of eyes itself and other group due to disorder of vital organs like liver, heart and kidney. This is even confirmed by western medicine and iridology. Every internal vital organ is linked to some sensory organ. According to TCM whenever body is affected by external pathogen or internal pathogen, there is imbalance of energy. This leads to disorder of these vital organs. This disorder is manifested in the form some eye disease like glaucoma, optic atrophy, cataract, retinitis pigmentosa etc. Another associated factor is the disorder in body elements. Different parts of eye like cornea, lens, retina etc correspond to various elements. Any disorder of body elements leads to eye diseases.
How acupuncture helps in Eye Diseases
Acupuncture has successfully restored even the lost vision. It has successfully treated many eye conditions. Acupuncture helps at two levels. At local level it improves energy and blood supply to eye and causes better nourishment of eye tissues. It also helps in regeneration of eye tissues including in conditions like retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy etc. At the general level it balances the energy system and body elements. This leads to reestablishment of order in vital organs which are said to be the root cause of such eye diseases.
Treatment protocol at Ethos varies with the type of eye disease. Common treatment protocol at Ethos includes following:
- Holistic Diagnosis and Assessment – This includes collection of relevant information about sickness & its associated factors, clinical examination of patient and investigations. This is followed by diagnosis of the sickness, both clinical diagnosis and diagnosis of disorder on the basis of acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine.
- Treatment Plan – A suitable treatment plan is designed on the basis of diagnosis. This is explained to patient along with its benefits and precautions.
- Treatment sessions – Treatment sessions are then undertaken.
- Follow up – A regular assessment of patient’s health & vision and effect of acupuncture continues. On the basis of response, decision is taken about number and frequency of further sessions.
Common eye diseases treated by acupuncture
- Amblyopia also known as lazy eye is a disorder of the visual system that is characterized by poor or indistinct vision in an eye. Commonly it is a developmental disorder. Toxic amblyopia is reduction in visual acuity as a result of a toxic reaction of the optic nerve. It can be caused by various toxic and nutritional factors. The main symptom is painless vision loss. Alcohol, smoking, lead, methanol, drugs like chloramphenicol, digoxin, ethambutol, deficiencies of protein and antioxidants are likely risk factors.
- Behcets Disease is a form of vasculitis that can lead to ulceration and other lesions. In eye it can lead to eye inflammation, iritis, uveitis, retinal vasculitis, cells in the vitreous etc.
- Biettis Crystalline Dystrophy is a rare autosomal recessive eye disease characterized by crystals in the cornea, yellow, shiny deposits on the retina, progressive atrophy of the retina, choriocapillaries and choroid causing progressive night blindness and visual field constriction.
- Blepharitis is characterized by chronic inflammation of the eyelid margins causing redness of the eyes, itching and irritation of the eye with gritty sensation
- Blepharospasm is an uncontrolled and abnormal contraction or twitch of the eyelid. It can lead to functional blindness.
- Cataract is a congenital or degenerative opacity of the lens characterized by gradual, painless vision weakness and blurring. Apart from aging risk factors include trauma, smoking, alcohol, exposure to x-rays, infrared exposure, disease like diabetes, uveitis, drugs like corticosteroids, chronic ultraviolet exposure.
- Chalazion is a cyst in the eyelid that is caused by inflammation of a blocked meibomian gland characterized by heaviness, tenderness & swelling of the eyelid and sensitivity to light.
- Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva due to an allergic reaction or infection characterized by redness, irritation, and watering of the eyes.
- Corneal Ulcer is due to injury, inflammatory or infective condition of the cornea involving disruption of its epithelial layer. It is characterized by redness, foreign body sensation, intense pain, photophobia, and lacrimation and vision loss.
- Diabetic Retinopathy is damage to the retina caused by complications of diabetes mellitus and which can lead to blindness. It leads to blurred vision, black spots or flashing lights and painless vision loss.
- Dry Eye Syndrome an eye disease caused by decreased tear production or increased tear film evaporation causing dryness, burning and a sandy gritty eye with irritation, pain, redness, a pulling sensation, and pressure behind the eye.
- Glaucoma is an eye disease commonly with elevated intra ocular pressure in which the optic nerve is damaged leading to progressive, irreversible loss of vision. Angle closure glaucoma cause pain in or around the eye ball, headache, nausea, vomiting and visual disturbances like halos around lights.
- Hypertensive Retinopathy is damage to the retina due to high blood pressure leading to vision loss. It does not cause early symptoms and is recognized when damage has already occurred.
- Keratitis is a condition in which the eye's cornea becomes inflamed. The condition is characterized by moderate to intense pain, impaired eyesight, photophobia, lacrimation, and blurring.
- Macular Degeneration AMD is the condition which results in a loss of vision in the center of the visual field because of damage to the retina. It is characterized by loss of visual acuity, blurred vision, central blind spots, distorted vision, loss of contrast vision. Risk factors include genetic variants, smoking, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diet low in ω-3 fatty acids and dark green leafy vegetables and growing age.
- Nystagmus is a form of involuntary eye movement. It affects vision. It could be due to some neurological disorder or substances like alcohol, drugs like lithium, phenytoin etc.
- Ocular Histoplasmosis Syndrome is a condition characterized by vision loss due to peripheral atrophic chorioretinal scars, atrophy or scarring adjacent to the optic disc and maculopathy.
- Optic Atrophy see Optic Neuropathy
- Optic Neuritis is the inflammation of the optic nerve that may cause a complete or partial loss of vision. Most common cause is multiple sclerosis. Other causes include infectious diseases (eg, meningitis, viral encephalitis, sinusitis, TB, syphilis, HIV), tumor metastasis to the optic nerve, chemicals and drugs (eg, arsenic, lead, methanol, quinine, antibiotics).
- Optic Neuropathy is the damage to the optic nerve due to any cause like methyl alcohol, glaucoma, optic neuritis, loss of blood supply to optic nerve etc. It causes loss of vision.
- Pterygium is the benign growth of the conjunctiva. It causes redness, inflammation, foreign body sensation, dry and itchy eyes and in advanced cases the pterygium can affect vision. Risk factors include ultraviolet light exposure, low humidity, and dust.
- Refractive Error is an error in the focusing of light by the eye and this causes reduced visual acuity and blurred vision. These are myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. They occur due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
- Retinal Detachment is a disorder of the eye in which the retina gets detached away from its underlying layer of support tissue causing vision loss and blindness. Risk factors are high myopia, post eye surgery, diabetic retinopathy. Warning signals are symptoms like flashes of light, a sudden increase in the number of floaters, a ring of floaters or hairs just to the temporal side of the central vision, a feeling of heaviness in the eye, a dense shadow, a veil or curtain over the field of vision, straight lines appear curved, central visual loss.
- Retinitis Pigmentosa is a type of genetic progressive retinal dystrophy of the photoreceptors (rods and cones) or the retinal pigment epithelium of the retina that causes progressive visual loss. It causes defective dark adaptation or night blindness, reduction of the peripheral visual field (also known as tunnel vision) and loss of central vision.
- Scleritis is an inflammatory disease that affects the white outer coating of the eye, called sclera. It causes redness of the sclera and conjunctiva, severe pain, photophobia, lachrymation, decrease in visual acuity and slight loss of vision.
- Strabismus is a condition in which the eyes are not properly aligned with each other preventing binocular vision and depth perception. Acquired strabismus can result from high refractive error like myopia, tumors like retinoblastoma, head trauma, neurological conditions like cerebral palsy; spina bifida; paralysis of the 3rd, 4th, or 5th cranial nerves, viral infections like encephalitis, meningitis.
- Stye is an infection of the sebaceous glands of Zeis at the base of the eyelashes, or an infection of the apocrine sweat glands of Moll. They cause redness, swelling and pain. Risk factors include poor nutrition, sleep deprivation, rubbing of the eyes, sharing of infected items etc.
- Usher Syndrome is a genetic disorder that is a leading cause of deafness and blindness.
- Uveitis to inflammation of the middle layer of the eye, called uvea. It causes redness of the eye, blurred vision, sensitivity to light called photophobia, dark floating spots, eye pain. It may be associated with many systemic disorders like ankylosing spondylitis, inflammatory bowel disease, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, sarcoidosis etc.