Q: I have eye nystagmus since childhood. Does acupuncture help
stop congenital eye nystagmus and improve vision acuity?
congenital conditions are part of the constitution a person is born with, they
can be more difficult to treat than other conditions.
However, constitutional conditions can often be greatly improved and symptoms
eliminated, as pathogenic factors are reduced and the body strengthened. The
degree of improvement varies by individual and the many factors affecting that
Acupuncture has been helpful to heal many eye conditions, and slow the
progression of eye diseases including Macular Degeneration, Cataracts, and
Glaucoma. Acupuncture is especially effective when combined with the other major
components of Chinese Medicine: Chinese Herbs, Diet & Lifestyle adjustments, and
Qi Gong exercise.
An acupuncturist would need to perform a thorough examination of your medical
history, signs, and symptoms to determine your particular patterns of disharmony
and appropriate treatment plan. However, the western diagnosis of nystagmus
would fall in the category of “Internal Wind,” in Chinese medicine. Internal
Wind is always associated with the Liver, as viewed by Chinese medicine. Because
your condition is congenital, The Kidneys are also involved, as the Kidneys
contain the root of your constitutional inheritance, called “Jing.” When the Yin
and Jing of the Kidneys are insufficient, the body is not properly nourished,
and the Yang can rise in excess and generate Internal Wind, which is
characterized by tics, tremors, convulsions, deviated eyes or tongue, dizziness,
numbness, or other forms of uncontrollable movement or paralysis. Western
diagnoses like Parkinson’s disease and Bells Palsy, are other examples of what
Chinese Medicine would call Internal Wind. The eyes themselves are associated
with the Liver meridian as well, as a branch of the Liver meridian travels to
Therefore, healthy vision is very much related to the state of the Liver.
There are specific acupuncture points (and herbs, and exercises) that work to
quell Internal Wind, heal eye disorders and improve vision. Points that address
these imbalances would be used, along with others to address your coexisting
patterns of disharmony. The body is like a mini-universe, and good health
depends on the entire system functioning properly and in unison.
Your acupuncturist can be your partner in achieving this so that you heal as
much as you can, help prevent the condition from worsening as you age, and
promoting an increased sense of health,
Vitality and ease.
Generally speaking, the longer a person has had a condition, the longer
treatment takes. One clinical case study by Dr. Bernard Seif, SMC, EdD, NMD,
describes a 35 year old individual with nystagmus for 3 years, possibly related
to a structural brain problem he’d had for 30 years for which he had declined
surgery. From the standpoint of Chinese Medicine, he had a number of signs and
symptoms that suggested overall patterns of disharmony that needed to be
addressed. Through a combination of acupuncture, Qi Gong, and other aspects of
Chinese medicine, the patient came to see his situation as an “absence of
balance in my being, rather than a structural problem with my brain.” He
experienced improvement in the nystagmus from the first treatment. He received
treatment once a month (due to time constraints) and did Qi Gong exercises as
homework. After 2 ˝ years of treatment, the nystagmus was eliminated completely,
even though the structural brain problem remained. Because you have had the
western diagnosis of nystagmus your entire life, long-term treatment is
recommended. I would suggest at least weekly treatments in the initial stages.
Later, treatments could be spaced out a little more as the body begins to hold
corrections on its own for longer periods of time. It is impossible to predict
the speed or amount of improvement of the nystagmus, however, improvement is
quite possible, and the many benefits of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine may
make the long-term investment very worthwhile, especially if the approaches you
have taken in the past have not provided sufficient help for your condition, or
have been otherwise problematic.
About our Doctor:
Viveka S. Rucker, L.Ac., Dipl. Ac., Dipl, C.H. practices Traditional Chinese
Medicine in Woodland Hills, California. Her general practice includes
acupuncture, Chinese herbs, bodywork, and Qi Gong exercise. She also specializes
in Facial Acupuncture Renewal. (818) 554-5418