Vision Loss and Acute Angle-closure Glaucoma
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Low vision is a partial loss of sight (also referred to as partially sighted, severe vision impairment). It is often a loss of visual acuity or sharpness, but may be a loss of side vision or extreme difficulty with light or glare. Low vision exists when functional vision cannot be adequately corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, medications or surgery.

Glaucoma in its most common form is the second leading cause of blindness, and the leading cause of blindness among African-Americans. Glaucoma is a disease where pressure within the eye is so high that it can damage the optic nerve and lead to vision loss. It affects side vision long before central vision is affected. Although glaucoma cannot yet be prevented, it can usually be controlled or stopped with treatment and medication.

The liver is the most important organ that relates to the health of the eyes in Chinese medicine. It is written that "the liver opens into the eyes, and the eyes reflect the function of the liver." When the liver is functioning properly, the eyes receive the proper nutrients they require and one can see. When the liver is out of balance, the eyes lose this proper nutrition and begin to degenerate. Macular degeneration is no exception to this statement.

The kidneys are the the second most important organ system in relation to the eyes. They help nourish the fluid of the eyes and support the connection between the brain and the eyes. One of the books of Chinese medicine states "If the essence (which is stored in the kidneys) is abundant, the eyes can see things, distinguish color, and judge length."

The five branches of Chinese medicine are:
Herbal medicine

Utilizing these therapies one can help nourish the deficient organ systems, improve circulation, and increase nourishment to the eyes. Specific points on the body can be stimulated with acupuncture and massage to strengthen the liver and kidneys and increase circulation to the eyes. It is important to find a licensed acupuncturist trained with experience in treating these eye disorders to obtain the best results.

Some of the basic principles of nutrition were discussed in the last blog entry. It is important to nourish your eyes with foods containing Omega 3 fatty acids, colorful vegetables and fruits that are high in antioxidants, and foods high in macular protecting pigments containing lutein and zeaxanthin. Chinese herbal medicine is a very complex topic of it’s own, but a well trained herbalist can make you a formula that is specific to your diagnosis. There are herbs that are used to get rid of ‘phlegm-dampness’, and other herbs to help strengthen the liver and kidneys.

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