Eyes: The windows to our inner health.
Our eyes affect our health in more ways than most of us are aware of.
In Chinese medicine, the eyes are seen as the entryway to the liver. There are acupuncture and acupressure points around the eyes and nose that affect the liver, kidneys, stomach, pituitary gland, brain, pineal, sinuses and gall bladder. Some of the same acupoints that treat the glands and organs have been used for thousands of years for energy, to treat pleurisy, the legs, mental conditions, dizziness, trachea pons (pons, any tissue that connects two parts of an organ), sciatica and more. It soon becomes apparent that there’s more to the eyes than meets the eye and what affects the eyes can affect the rest of our health.
Usually if we have problems with failing eyesight we go get a stronger prescription. With everyone’s rush toward the bottom line we may not get all the information that’s pertinent to our overall health. Since the viewpoint in Oriental medicine and western conventional medicine agree, which isn’t always the case, that the eyes affect the pineal gland, it might be wise to take a quick look at that gland.
Knowing that the pineal contains more lecithin than any other body part doesn’t mean anything unless we know what lecithin does. Lecithin helps maintain blood vessel pliability and keep blood fats in solution. The pineal isn’t actually a gland; it’s a neuroendocrine transducer, converting incoming nerve impulses into outgoing hormones. Since hormones dictate our lives, even a slight malfunction in the eyes can cause problems in other areas of the body due to improper secretion of hormones. The pineal releases hormones in response to bioelectrical messages from the outside environment received through the eyes. The optic nerve sends information to the visual portion of the brain. The impulses from the brain are carried to the superior cervical ganglia (a cluster of nerve cells) in the upper part of the neck. The autonomic nervous system relays the information to the pineal. The pineal secretes melatonin using the information received. Melatonin performs multitudes of jobs including the slowing of both normal and premature aging and proper sleep.
Working with computers increases the likelihood of dry, tired, painful eyes. Those are the symptoms: the cause is staring or not blinking as often as necessary. Blinking helps clean and lubricate the eye. Blinking also helps pump more blood and nutrients into the eye, especially if the eyes are closed tightly and reopened wide. Eyestrain and eye fatigue can be reduced by consciously blinking more. If we connect tired eyes with the pineal, the brain and the liver, we can begin to get an idea about what the Orientals call the Mother-Child Law. In that law; if one part of the body is malfunctioning other parts take some of the load, a load that they may not be equipped to properly handle and everything goes into a downward spiral.
In the center of the retina, at the back of the eye, is a yellowish oval spot called the macula. The macula contains the nerve bundle that sends optic information directly to the brain. This is the area of the eye that enables you to read small print and distinguish individual parts from the whole, like a face in the crowd.
The are two types of macular degeneration, dry and wet. The most common is the dry type, which occurs when small fatty blobs are deposited in the macular section of the eye. The fatty deposits restrict blood circulation and the oxygen it carries to the area. When oxygen is restricted the macula begins deteriorating. The more the restriction the faster the destruction.
Approximately one-fourth of all dry type macular degeneration progresses into the wet type. This type is called the wet or neovascular (meaning new vessels) type because new blood vessels, in an effort to reestablish circulation and oxygen to the area, invade the macula. These new vessels generally don’t have the structural integrity of the original blood vessels and begin to leak fluid, especially if high blood pressure is present. The fluid turns into scar tissue permanently damaging the macula. The wet type may also develop independent of the dry type. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in people over 65. More information is available in Eyes Part 2.