Optic nerve atrophy according to Chinese Medicine

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Optic nerve atrophy factsheet

In Chinese Medicine, optic nerve atrophy can be associated with three so-called "patterns of disharmony". Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted. It is not equivalent to the Western concept of "disease", as a matter of fact here optic nerve atrophy can be caused by three different patterns.

To understand whether someone's optic nerve atrophy might be caused by a given pattern, one needs to look for signs and symptoms associated with the pattern beyond what one might typically experience from optic nerve atrophy alone. For instance when optic nerve atrophy is caused by the pattern Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency, patients also experience symptoms such as soreness and weakness in the lower back, lightheadedness, vertigo and tinnitus. Similarly, patients with Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or fine (Xi) pulses as well as a red tongue with partial absence of coating.

We've listed below a description of the three patterns associated with optic nerve atrophy so that you can start to get an understanding of the various possibilities according to Chinese Medicine.

Once identified, patterns are often treated using herbal formulas. Drinking herbal infusions is the most common remedy in Chinese Medicine, together with acupuncture. Here we detail below three formulas that can help treat the various patterns associated with optic nerve atrophy, depending on which pattern fits your profile.

The three "patterns of disharmony" associated with optic nerve atrophy

The Kidneys is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Kidneys in Chinese Medicine

Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Fine (Xi)

Tongue coating: Partial absence of coating

Tongue color: Red

Recommended herbal formula: Liu Wei Di Huang Wan

Symptoms: Vertigo Tinnitus Night sweats Lightheadedness Diminished hearing Chronic sore throat Spontaneous and nocturnal emissions Soreness and weakness in the lower back

Optic nerve atrophy might be due to Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as soreness and weakness in the lower back, lightheadedness, vertigo and tinnitus. Similarly, patients with Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or fine (Xi) pulses as well as a red tongue with partial absence of coating.

Read more about Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency here

The Liver is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Liver in Chinese Medicine

Liver Yin Deficiency

Optic nerve atrophy might be due to Liver Yin Deficiency if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as dizziness, numbness in the limbs, insomnia and blurred vision. Similarly, patients with Liver Yin Deficiency typically exhibit empty (Xu) or floating (Fu) pulses as well as a normal (light red) tongue with complete absence of coating.

Read more about Liver Yin Deficiency here

Phlegm-Fluids in the hypochondrium

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Soggy (Ru), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

Tongue color: Pale

Tongue shape: Swollen

Recommended herbal formula: Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang

Symptoms: Palpitations Dizziness or vertigo

Optic nerve atrophy might be due to Phlegm-Fluids in the hypochondrium if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as palpitations and dizziness or vertigo. Similarly, patients with Phlegm-Fluids in the hypochondrium typically exhibit slippery (Hua), soggy (Ru) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a pale tongue with thick white coating.

Read more about Phlegm-Fluids in the hypochondrium here

The three herbal formulas that might help with optic nerve atrophy

Liu Wei Di Huang Wan

Source date: 1119 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Nutritive tonic for the Liver and Kidney Yin Essence (nourishes the parasympathetic nervous system).

Why might Liu Wei Di Huang Wan help with optic nerve atrophy?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency, a pattern sometimes associated with optic nerve atrophy. If it looks like you might suffer from Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Liu Wei Di Huang Wan here

Qi Ju Di Huang Wan

Source date: 1350 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes Kidney and Liver Yin. Improves vision.

Why might Qi Ju Di Huang Wan help with optic nerve atrophy?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Liver Yin Deficiency, a pattern sometimes associated with optic nerve atrophy. If it looks like you might suffer from Liver Yin Deficiency, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Qi Ju Di Huang Wan here

Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Warms and transforms Phlegm-Fluids. Strengthens the Spleen. Resolves Dampness.

Why might Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang help with optic nerve atrophy?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Phlegm-Fluids in the hypochondrium, a pattern sometimes associated with optic nerve atrophy. If it looks like you might suffer from Phlegm-Fluids in the hypochondrium, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang here