Do you know that in Singapore, 1 in every 2 children develops myopia (short-sightedness) by the time they turn 12 years old?
While wearing spectacles is being regarded as a norm in Singapore, the rising prevalence of children being myopic is worrying. Myopia is generally known to be harmless but the majority does not know that high myopia may be associated with other eye problems like posterior vitreous detachment, myopic macular degeneration, peripheral retinal breaks, degeneration and retinal detachment, glaucoma and even blindness.
Therefore, it is important, and possible, to prevent one’s eyesight from getting worse.
Normal vs Myopic Eye
In TCM perspective, myopia is associated with the heart, liver and kidney. Poor lifestyle habits, which many of us are guilty of, such as straining the eyes for an extended period of time, poor neck posture and poor sleeping pattern can cause these organs to malfunction.
Acupuncture, herbs, eye massage and lifestyle changes are some of the ways to prevent myopia from progressing. Acupoints near the eye like Jingming (BL1), Zanzhu (BL2), Chengqi (ST1), Taiyang (EX-HN5) are commonly used to relax the eye muscles, improve local blood circulation and strengthen the optic nerve in tandem with the body and ear acupoints.
Recent functional MRI investigations support the TCM principle: stimulating specific acupoint(s) have a therapeutic effect on the target organ system(s). For example, Guangming (GB37), which is known to regulate the flow of energy and blood between the liver and gallbladder, and is often used in patients with visual disorders, is found to increase neural responses in the occipital cortex.
Children and needle-fearing patients may choose to do auricular acupuncture or child massage therapy instead. We also encourage patients to adopt positive lifestyle changes such as resting the eyes every 45 minutes, sleeping before 11pm, eating a well-balanced diet with sufficient protein, zinc and Vitamin B1, and reduce sugar intake, as well as choosing outdoor activities over electronic games.
Younger patients aged 5-16 years old usually have better results after a cycle of treatment (10 sessions). The number of treatment cycles needed may vary according to one’s environment and lifestyle habits.
Prevention is better than cure.