What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that primarily damage the optic nerve, often associated with increased pressure within the eye (intraocular pressure). It's one of the leading causes of blindness for people over the age of 60.

Glaucoma can occur in various forms, including hemorrhagic glaucoma and acute congestive glaucoma. This condition may not present early symptoms and can gradually lead to vision loss. Regular eye examinations are crucial for early detection and management of glaucoma.

How does TCM view Glaucoma?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views glaucoma through a lens that differs significantly from Western medicine. In TCM, glaucoma is seen as a symptom of underlying imbalances in the body's Qi (vital energy), Yin and Yang, and Blood.

These imbalances may be related to organ systems, primarily the Liver and Kidneys. TCM emphasizes identifying and treating these disharmonies, aiming to address both the symptoms and the root cause of the condition, offering a more holistic approach to patient care.

Causes of Glaucoma According to TCM

In TCM, glaucoma is often attributed to specific patterns of disharmony within the body. One common cause is Kidney Yin Deficiency, which can lead to Liver Yang Rising and result in increased intraocular pressure.

Additionally, patterns such as Kidney Yang Deficiency and the accumulation of Damp-Phlegm can contribute to the development of glaucoma. Understanding these patterns is vital for TCM practitioners to provide effective treatment, focusing on restoring balance within the body to alleviate the symptoms of glaucoma.

TCM Herbal Formulas for Glaucoma

TCM employs various herbal formulas to treat glaucoma, based on the underlying patterns of disharmony. For Kidney Yin Deficiency and Liver Yang Rising, formulas such as Ba Wei Di Huang Wan, Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, and Qi Ju Di Huang Wan are often prescribed. These formulas typically include herbs like Prepared rehmannia (Shu Di huang), known for their nourishing properties.

In cases of Kidney Yang Deficiency, Shen Qi Wan with Prepared Aconite (Zhi Fu Zi) is used. For patterns involving Damp-Phlegm, Wu Mei Wan can be effective. The selection of these formulas is based on a comprehensive diagnosis and tailored to the individual's specific needs.

Explore below some TCM herbal formulas used to address glaucoma, organized by formula type.

  • By Formula Type
  • Formulas that nourish yin and tonify
  • Formulas that warm yang and tonify
  • Formulas that expel parasites
  • Formulas that clear heat from the organs
  • Formulas that warm the middle and dispel cold

Acupoints for Glaucoma

Acupuncture, a key component of TCM, utilizes specific acupoints for treating glaucoma. Points such as Chengqi ST-1 and Sibai ST-2 in the Stomach Channel are selected for their effectiveness in clearing Heat and expelling Wind, both of which are beneficial for eye health.

Qiuhou EX-HN-7, an extra point, is used for its benefits to the eyes. In the Bladder Channel, Shenshu BL-23 is targeted for its actions in tonifying Kidney Yang and nourishing Kidney Yin, as well as benefiting the eyes. These acupoints are selected based on their traditional functions and relevance to the patterns of disharmony associated with glaucoma.

Explore below some acupoints used to address glaucoma, organized by meridian.

  • By Meridian
  • Stomach Channel
  • Extra Points: Head and Neck (EX-HN)
  • Bladder Channel
Chengqi ST-1

Chengqi ST-1

Between the eyeball and the midpoint of the infraorbital ridge.

Sibai ST-2

Sibai ST-2

Below Chengqi ST-1, in the depression at the infraorbital foramen.

Qiuhou EX-HN-7

Qiuhou EX-HN-7

On the lower border of the orbital ridge, at the junction of the lateral quarter and the medial three quarters.

Shenshu BL-23

Shenshu BL-23

1.5 cun lateral to the lower border of the spinous process of the 2nd lumber vertebra (L2).

TCM Herbs for Glaucoma

Explore below some TCM herbs used to address glaucoma, organized by herb category.

  • By Herb Category
  • Herbs that warm the interior and/or expel cold
  • Tonic herbs for blood deficiency
  • Warm/Acrid herbs that release the exterior
  • Herbs that stabilize and bind
  • Herbs that clear heat and dry dampness

"Herbs that warm the Interior and/or expel Cold" recommended for glaucoma

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Prepared Aconite (Zhi Fu Zi) Shen Qi Wan
Evodia Fruits (Wu Zhu Yu) Wu Zhu Yu Tang