Eye Health and Holistic Medicine


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