Traditional Chinese Medicine for Glaucoma
From the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine, eyes and internal organs are closely related. Eye problems are mostly related to liver. The lens of the eye and pupil are related to kidneys. Sclera is to lungs. Upper eyelid is related to spleen and lower eyelid is related to stomach. Common patterns of glaucoma are liver qi stagnation, liver and gallbladder heat, liver and kidney qi deficiency.
In TCM theory, liver stores blood and circulates blood to the head. Liver disorders can affect the flow of qi and blood to the eyes. TCM practitioners often offer herbal formula combined with acupuncture for glaucoma. For patterns related to liver, TCM aims to improve or regain liver functions, clear liver heat and resolve other underlying causes of glaucoma.
Chinese Herbs for Glaucoma
For glaucoma caused by liver qi stagnation, Xiao Yao Wan, an herbal formula is often used to regulate liver qi. It contains herbs include Chai Hu, Dang Gui, Bo He, Bai Zhu and Fu Ling. For glaucoma caused by liver and gallbladder heat, Huang Lian Yang Gan Wan can be used. It has been traditionally used to clear liver and gallbladder heat, improve vision. It contains herbs include Huang Lian, Huang Qin, Chai Hu and more.
Other herbal formulas to support eye health are sometimes used for glaucoma. Qi Ju Di Huang Wan, an herbal formula which contains herbs include Gou Qi Zi, Ju Hua, Shu Di Huang, Shan Zhu Yu, Shan Yao and more. Shi Hu Ye Guang Wan, an herbal formula which contains herbs include Tian Men Dong, Ren Shen, Fu Ling, Shu Di Huang, Mai Men Dong and more.
Among herbal formulas for glaucoma, many of them contain Huang Qin (Chinese Skullcap), which has been used in Chinese medicine for a variety of health conditions. Baicalein is a flavonoid found in Huang Qin. Scientists have found that baicalein significantly lowers eye pressure and may act as a natural treatment for glaucoma (1).
Acupuncture for Glaucoma
Acupuncture can be considered as a supportive therapy for glaucoma. Studies suggest that it can improve blood circulation in the eyes, and reduce intraocular pressure. Some of the acupuncture points for glaucoma are located around the eyes. If you want to give Chinese medicine a try, but have a bit of hesitation about having needles inserted near your eyes, you can try to use only Chinese herbal formula first.