New Sight of Glaucoma in a view of Chinese Medicine

Author: Yu-Yen Lin, MD

“Is ophthalmology a branch of Chinese Medicine?” “Could Chinese Medicine deal with glaucoma?”  Many people keep asking me about these questions. In fact, Chinese Medical Ophthalmology has been noted for thousands of years. It is written upon in some special books.

In Taiwan, if a chronic eye problem cannot be controlled with conventional treatment, many patients will seek for help from a Chinese Medical Ophthalmologist. However, new sight of glaucoma treatments with Chinese Medical Ophthalmology are very important for doctors to concern about…

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a disorder with increasing of intraocular pressure (IOP) and narrowing of sight. The progression of glaucoma is gradually and recessively. It is the main reason of blindness worldwide.

Vision loss in glaucoma is concerned with the damage of the optic nerve. An increase of IOP of the aqueous of humor (fluid circulates in the eye between the cornea and lens) is the most important reason that causes damage of the optic nerve.

Some patients are diagnosed with Normal Tension Glaucoma (NTG), although the pressure in the eye is not really high (normal pressure of eye is around 10~21 mmHg).

Therefore, the blood circulation around the eye and the increase of IOP in glaucoma play important roles in treating this disease.

Western medicine use eye drop medication and surgical methods to control the IOP.

It may reduce the vision loss and optic nerve damage, but these methods could cause serious side effects and solely directed towards controlling the eye pressure.

The loss of sight is hard to rescue with western medicine.

the vision of patient with glaucoma 

How Could Chinese Medical Ophthalmologists Help Patients in Glaucoma?

The symptoms of glaucoma are recorded in “秘傳眼科龍木論 (Nagarjuna's Ophthalmology Secretly Handed Down)”in Sung Dynasty (around 13 century).

The ancient physicians concluded the pathophysiology of glaucoma with the excess of emotions, the stagnation ofphlegm with Qi, deficiency of Liver and Kidney, and deficiency of blood and Ying.

And the main causes of disease are “wind”, “fire”, “phlegm”, “blood stasis”, and “the deficiency of liver and kidney.”  The most important thing is that the eye diseases are usually related with inner organs, Qi, blood, Ying and Yang.

In my opinion, the improvement of blood circulation around the eye could help lowering the pressure of the eye and nerve regeneration. Traditional Chinese Medicine works to regulate the circulations in whole body. It can not only lowering the IOP, but also rescue the vision loss.

I usually prescribe the herbal formula for patients with chronic eye problems. Acupuncture is also needed in patients with severe vision loss.

Acupuncture may be beneficial for lowering the IOP and nerve regeneration with minimal interventional therapy. I usually manipulate acupuncture in the acupoints on the scalp, forearm and lower leg. The ocular acupuncture is not really necessary unless severe disease progression.

Reversible of Sight Loss

Mr. Yu is 73 years old business man, who moved to Kansas 10 years ago. He came for help with his poor vision and hearing about 5 years when he came back to Taiwan. He has hypertension and diabetes with regular oral medication.

The blur of vision was noted even though with regular eye drop for the increase of ocular pressure. His hearing was very poor with audiphones.

I prescribed the herbal medicine and acupuncture for the patient. He felt improvement with sight immediately. After 3 weeks treatment, the reversible of vision and hearing is noted. Because of the flight, he took some herbal medication back to Kansas for follow up maintenance.

Three months later, I got the following e-mail:

“You are one of my most respected doctors. I am very grateful to you for treating my vision and hearing with care and kindness.”

Chinese Medical Ophthalmology Work!!

Until now, lowering the IOP is the golden treatment for glaucoma in western medicine. But many patients still progress to blindness even though they successfully controlled the IOP.

Traditional Chinese Medicine is definitely a better choice for patients with eye problems. The pattern identification and treatment is the core of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Regular clinical follow up is also required!

Combine with herbal medication and acupuncture can really help patients with glaucoma!