Healthy Living Blog
by Dr. Rachelle Tetreault DAOM, L,Ac
Eye health is essential for daily life and we may often take it for granted until there is a real concern. Here, in the United States alone, there are over 12 million people over the age of forty who have some form of vision impairment. Some of the more common eye disorders include cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, presbyopia, dry eyes, and many others. However, cataracts remain the leading cause of blindness worldwide and in the United States it also remains the leading cause of vision loss. So, there is a lot we can do to improve our own eye health and prevent many common disorders. Our eyesight is a precious gift and in order to nourish the eyes, one must nourish the liver. The liver blood not only nourishes but also moistens the eyes. Poor liver blood deficiency leads to many conditions such as dry eyes, blurred vision, floaters, poor night vision, and overall poor eyesight. Certain diseases such as heart disease and diabetes can also cause damage to the tiny blood vessels which supply nourishment to our eyes.
In Eastern Medicine, both the liver and the kidney are the most vital organs for eye health. The liver is the organ which is considered to manifest into the eyes. This is true that when the liver has heat, there is redness, dryness, pain, and even swelling in the eyes. The kidney is considered the mother of the liver in Eastern medicine. Therefore, the kidney yin is affected causing loss of visual acuity. In the clinic, eye herbal formulas are often used to nourish both the liver and kidney yin helping to both prevent and treat degenerative eye disorders. Traditional Chinese Medicine herbals help slow the aging process and can even reverse some degenerative atrophy of the eyes by correcting the underlying root cause. In contrast, western medicine is better at treating structural and acute disorders of the eye itself. Other ways to improve blood circulation to the eyes is by applying a warm moist towel carefully around the eye area. Certain acupoints are often used to help to treat atrophic and degenerative eye disorders. Many of these points are auricular or in other words can be found on the ear.
Eye health is also directly connected to diet. Certain foods like refined or processed or fried foods should be avoided. These are all high in free radicals which play havoc on your eyesight over time. Taking a high-potency multivitamin will also help provide a good start to help reduce the effect of these free radicals in the body. Vitamin A, C, B complex, E, a mixed carotenoid complex are all very helpful in eye health. Copper 2mg and zinc oxide 80mg are also very beneficial. Food therapy should include Mexican yam, carrots, melons, beets, rutabagas, and malanga. Especially foods high in beta-carotene, such as sweet potatoes, spinach, carrots, kale, and butternut squash are much needed and are delicious served with the right spices. Egg yolks are also a great source of carotenoids.
Avoid too many hot spicy foods and refrain from cigarette smoking. Smoking is a major cause of early aging and is a huge factor in free radical damage to the body including our eyesight. It is also very important to hydrate properly. To ensure our best optimal health we need to ensure proper hydration not only with water, but include hydrating foods. These include all the good fats such as seeds, fish and/or fish oil which which ultimately helps the yin of the body to become more balanced. Dehydration itself, often leads to dryness and discomfort of the eyes. With cataracts, it is especially important to
increase the intake of chrysanthemum (which can be found in herbal tea selections), cloves, cilantro, goji berries, and black beans.
The best advice overall for good eye health is to avoid excessive use of the eyes by taking frequent breaks when on the phone, computer, or watching tv. Soft circular eye massages in rotating directions around the perimeter of the eye area helps strengthen the muscles of the eyes and also allows the eyes to relax. Avoid rubbing the eyes and do not wear contact lenses for any extended period of time if possible.
Typically, depending on the chronic nature of the disorder, a patient needs to be on the herbal formula for up to three months. Acupuncture frequency is based off the patient assessment and need. Food therapy is used to help maintain this balance. Stress management and reduction is needed to keep the immune system working optimally and it naturally allows the body to eliminate free radicals more easily. With the right care, your vision can be a gift you have for a long time into a full ripe age. Call today to begin your journey to optimal health. 772-626-6419