There are many sayings in cultures around the world that may sound strange but are based in truth. I am sure you have heard the saying, “a way to a man’s heart in through his stomach.” That certainly applies to romance. But, according to TCM, eye is the window of the heart. Your eyes are your local visual organs. But there is a complete and inseparable relationship between the eyes and your other organs. For example:
- Pupil are associated with the Kidney
- Irises are associated with Liver
- Sclera is associated with Lung
- Canthus is associated with Heart
- Upper eyelids are associated with Stomach
- Lower eyelids are associated with Spleen
Maintaining normal visual function mainly depends on the internal organs that provide the qi, blood and body fluids to ensure good vision. This relationship between the eye and internal organs is of critical importance. Conversely, if you are experiencing eyes problems it is a sign that the internal organs may also have some problems at well.
Eyes and Lung
The Lungs govern Qi and respiration. They are located within your chest and are protected on the sides, back and front by your ribs, cartilage and the muscle between them. They also are closely related to the skin; therefore they are the organs that connect the human to the environment. Lung Qi also helps the circulation of blood by controlling the blood vessels and the movement of body fluids or water passages. The eyes need the Lung Qi controlling the blood vessels and the movement of the body fluids to nourish the eyes and maintain the normal visual. If the Lung Qi is dysfunctional, the eyes will lack fluids and/or blood which eventually leads to drying, blurring, floaters, white eyes with lighted red veins, and discomfort.
Eyes and Heart
Heart Qi refers to the pumping actions of the heart. If heart Qi is abundant and sufficient, the heart pumps at a normal pace, transporting blood smoothly inside the blood vessels, the pulse is regular and strong, and the face will look brilliant. As a result, the body is able to obtain from blood the nutrients needed to sustain life. On the other hand, if heart Qi is deficient, blood cannot maintain an efficient flow in the blood vessels, and the pulse is weak.
Eyes and Kidneys
The Kidneys are located in the lumber region and:
- store vital essence
- manufacture marrow
- dominate bones and are the source for growth, development, and reproduction.
- govern water metabolism and the reception of Qi (energy).
The kidneys open to the ears, and manifest in the hair. One of the functions of the kidney is to maintain body fluid in balance. Since your eyes are mostly water the link to the kidneys is critical. The front part of the eye is filled with a clear fluid called aqueous humor. This fluid is always being made in the back of the eye. When the kidney functions normally, the eyes get enough fluid from inside out. This sustains your vision and also maintains the round shape of eyeball. A kidney dysfunction will result in a body fluid imbalance that could cause the water retention inside the body. Too much water will eventually it will create eyes edema, watery eyes and/or eyes swelling, bags under the eyes, or ocular edema.
Eyes and Liver
According to TCM, the eye is the gate of the liver and is located in the hypochondrium. It is responsible for;
- regulating the smooth flow of Qi
- storage of blood
- dominates the tendons
- manifests on the nails
- opens to the eyes
Eyes and Liver Strategies
Anyone can struggle with eye problems. However, the connection between the liver and eyes means that those with liver disease are more prone to declining eyesight. Since a healthy liver typically benefits the eyes, a nutrient that is helpful to one organ is generally beneficial to the other. Known to support both eye and liver health by scavenging cell-damaging free radicals, antioxidants are typically advised to support the health of both the liver and the eyes.
Many people assume that a decline in eyesight is an unavoidable part of the aging process. To a TCM practitioner, those with liver damage are even more vulnerable to waning eye health than those with a fully functioning liver. While some individuals are certainly more susceptible to eye problems than others, a growing number of healthcare practitioners recognize that several approaches can strengthen and even restore eye health.
Those of us with liver disease who custom tailor our eating habits, receive TCM treatments or ingest high-quality vision-supportive supplements are especially likely to notice an improvement in their vision and overall eye health.
Whether your vision is less than stellar or your liver function is subpar, there are several strategies that can improve the health of both organs.
1) Diet – By consuming great quantities of foods high in lutein and zeaxanthin, nutritionists believe that your sight will benefit. Since these substances are also potent antioxidants, the liver will also gain strength in defending against potentially hazardous toxins. Foods high in these compounds include carrots, dark, green leafy vegetables like kale, green leaf lettuce and beet greens, egg yolks, squash, peaches and sweet potatoes.
2) TCM – A practitioner of TCM typically uses acupuncture and herbs to correct any given imbalance. In the case of an eye problem, TCM treatment strategies to tonify a liver blood deficiency, cool liver heat or extinguish internal liver wind will likely be employed.