Optic Nerve Atrophyaccording to TCM

What is Optic Nerve Atrophy?

Optic Nerve Atrophy refers to the damage or deterioration of the optic nerve, which is crucial for vision. This condition can lead to a gradual decline in visual capability, including loss of visual acuity and field. The atrophy can occur due to various reasons such as eye diseases, systemic health issues, or trauma. The optic nerve's inability to transmit visual information from the retina to the brain effectively results in impaired vision, which can range from mild to severe.

How does TCM view Optic Nerve Atrophy?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Optic Nerve Atrophy is understood differently from the Western medical approach. TCM does not view this condition merely as a localized eye problem but rather as a manifestation of deeper imbalances within the body's systems, particularly related to the Liver, Kidney, and Essence.

TCM believes that the health of the eyes is directly linked to these internal Organ systems and the flow of Qi and Blood. Identifying and correcting the specific pattern of disharmony causing Optic Nerve Atrophy is a fundamental aspect of TCM treatment.

Causes of Optic Nerve Atrophy according to TCM

TCM recognizes several patterns that may contribute to Optic Nerve Atrophy. One common pattern is Liver Yang Rising, which can disrupt the flow of Qi and Blood to the eyes.

Another pattern is Kidney Yin Deficiency With Empty-Heat Blazing, which indicates a depletion of vital substances needed to nourish the eyes. Both these conditions reflect an imbalance in the body's Yin and Yang energies and can lead to the degeneration of the optic nerve.

TCM Herbal Formulas for Optic Nerve Atrophy

In TCM, specific formulas and herbs are recommended to treat Optic Nerve Atrophy, targeting the underlying patterns of disharmony. Liu Wei Di Huang Wan and Qi Ju Di Huang Wan, both containing Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang), are used to nourish Yin and tonify, particularly beneficial in patterns like Liver Yang Rising and Liver Yin Deficiency.

Additionally, Ci Zhu Wan, with Magnetite (Ci Shi), is utilized for its calming properties on the Mind, helpful in cases of Heart and Kidney Yin Deficiency. Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang, including Poria-Cocos Mushrooms (Fu Ling), is another formula used to transform water and Dampness, treating conditions such as Phlegm-Fluids in the Stomach.

Explore below some TCM herbal formulas used to address optic nerve atrophy, organized by formula type.

  • By Formula Type
  • Formulas that nourish yin and tonify
  • Formulas that sedate and calm the mind
  • Formulas that warm and transform water and dampness

All "formulas that nourish yin and tonify" recommended for optic nerve atrophy

Formula Key herbs
Liu Wei Di Huang Wan Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang)
Qi Ju Di Huang Wan Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang)

Acupoints for Optic Nerve Atrophy

Acupuncture is a critical component of TCM treatment for Optic Nerve Atrophy. Acupoints such as Chengqi ST-1 and Sibai ST-2 in the Stomach Channel are selected for their efficacy in clearing Heat and expelling Wind, both beneficial for eye health. Fengchi GB-20 in the Gall Bladder Channel is known for subduing Liver Yang and expelling Wind, aiding in vision improvement.

Additionally, Qiuhou EX-HN-7, located on the lower border of the orbital ridge, is used for its direct benefits on the eyes. These acupoints are chosen based on their ability to address the specific imbalances causing the Optic Nerve Atrophy, aiming to enhance the body's natural healing processes and restore visual health.

Explore below some acupoints used to address optic nerve atrophy, organized by meridian.

  • By Meridian
  • Stomach Channel
  • Gall Bladder Channel
  • Extra Points: Head and Neck (EX-HN)
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.

Fengchi GB-20

Fengchi GB-20

In the posterior aspect of the neck, below the occipital bone, in the depression between the upper portion of sternocleidomastoid and trapezius muscle.

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.

TCM Herbs for Optic Nerve Atrophy

Explore below some TCM herbs used to address optic nerve atrophy, organized by herb category.

  • By Herb Category
  • Herbs that anchor and calm the spirit
  • Herbs that drain dampness
  • Tonic herbs for blood deficiency