Myopia Explained: The Most Effective and Natural Treatments
Myopia or nearsightedness is very common today. It is estimated that more than 40% of Americans have some form of myopia. The number is rising, especially among school children because they spend so much time using smartphones and computers.
Myopia is an eye condition where you can clearly see objects near you, but those far away appear blurred. Usually, myopia is a minor inconvenience that can be corrected by eyeglasses, lenses, or alternative myopia treatments like acupuncture.
In sporadic cases, myopia can be so progressive to cause more serious degenerative conditions.
Myopia Alternative Treatment at Makari Wellness: Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs & Supplements
Specialized in vision conditions, Makari Wellness will provide you the best acupuncture methods. Mike Woodworth, a leading San Diego acupuncturist, is one of the Micro 48 certified ophthalmological acupuncturists. Combining acupuncture with acu-laser therapy, Chinese herbs, supplements, eye exercises, and nutrition counseling can have incredible results in slowing down myopia’s progression.
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What is Myopia?
In medical terms, myopia, or nearsightedness, is an eye focusing disorder, not an eye disease.
It occurs if the eyeball is too long, or the cornea (transparent, front part of the eye) is too curved in relation to the eyeball length. The light entering the eye is not focused correctly on the retina but in front of it. As a result, distant objects are blurred; it is a refractive error.
Myopia is diagnosed by the eye examination, including reading letters of different sizes from the chart, and using a phoropter or refractor. It is a device that contains different lenses that are put on each eye to test the individual’s refractive error.
There are 5 stages in myopia development:
- Premyotic stage, when after the close work, the distant vision becomes blurry for less than 30 seconds.
- Transient myopia is when the vision becomes blurry for more than 30 seconds after the close work.
- Preclinical myopia – the vision is still in the normal range of 20/20 (a normal visual acuity measured when a person stands 20 feet away), but the distant vision slowly declines.
- Refractive myopia occurs when the eyeballs have not elongated yet, but the vision is below 20/20.
- Axial or authentic myopia is the final stage when it comes to both vision declination and elongation of the eyeballs.
It is essential for your eye health to have regular eye exams every year.
Types of Myopia
There are 3 types of myopia.
- Simple myopia is measured in diopters (D). This mild type of myopia is measured from -0.25 to -6 D. This type usually slows down after adolescence, and in some cases, may even become stable.
- High myopia is a refractive error of -6 D, and it is considered more severe. Patients with high myopia have a higher risk of developing more severe diseases like glaucoma, cataracts, and retinal detachment.
- Pathological myopia is associated with additional diseases like retinal thinning (lattice degeneration), retinal atrophy (when parts of the retina do not work), and a type of retinal scarring (Forster-Fuchs’ spot).
People with myopia usually have several symptoms, including:
- Blurred distance vision
- Tired eyes/eye strain
Symptoms may appear in childhood because the eye continues to grow until about age 20. Myopia symptoms become more evident among school children when they experience difficulties seeing objects far away, for example, a text on the blackboard. Typically, the condition levels off but sometimes can worsen with age. It can even develop in adults due to an unhealthy lifestyle.
Experts are not sure what causes myopia, but it is believed that it is a mix of hereditary and environmental factors. If you have a parent with myopia, you are more likely to develop a condition. The risk is even higher if both parents have it. Some environmental causes include:
- Digital eye strain
- Lack of physical exercise
- Imbalanced diet
- Little outdoor time
- Limited daylight exposure
Traditional Medicine: How to Cure Myopia?
Suppose an eye exam shows you are myopic. In that case, your doctor can recommend glasses, contact lenses, refractive surgery, low-dose atropine drops, or some alternative, natural treatments for your condition. Orthokeratology is another non-surgical option where you wear special contact lenses every night to reshape your cornea. Refractive surgery includes:
- Photorefractive keratectomy – uses a laser to flatten the cornea’s curve so the light focuses closer to your retina.
- LASIK – where the doctor peels your cornea with a laser, reshapes the tissue underneath and puts the cornea back in place.
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How to Cure Myopia Effectively and Naturally?
There are several ways to cure myopia naturally. They all include TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). It is proven that Western medicine corrects the vision using glasses and contact lenses. Still, myopia may get worse over time.
TCM treats the root of the problem by improving blood circulation and oxygen supply in the retina. It includes non-surgical and non-pharmacological methods to cure myopia naturally.
Acupuncture for Myopia
One of the most effective alternative myopia treatments is acupuncture.
Acupuncture is the insertion of thin, sterile needles into the body’s specific points to stimulate the balance of the body’s Qi (chee) energy. The Qi flows through meridians (pathways) in our body; by inserting needles at specific points along these meridians, the acupuncturist can stimulate the energy’s re-balance.
The needles stimulate the body to release endorphins (natural painkillers) to boost circulation and the immune system to relieve pain and treat the symptoms of many different diseases. In TCM, the liver, kidney, and spleen are connected to the eyes.
According to the TCM theory, myopia is caused by congenital deficiency, mal-development after birth, impropriate use of the eyes, weakness of the Liver, Spleen, and Kidney. All of this causes the lack of proper nourishment of the eyes.
When you start an acupuncture treatment early, there are many advantages – the higher chances of being cured and improved vision is easier to be kept. It is possible to improve the vision after only a few sessions.
- Improve naked vision (vision without glasses or contact lenses)
- Improve corrected vision (vision with glasses or contact lenses)
- Reduce myopia deterioration
One of the acupuncture styles used for treating eye conditions is Micro Acupuncture 48. It is a relatively new acupuncture system involving 48 acupuncture points located only in the hands and feet; it stimulates the blood flow to the eyes and promotes healing of the eye’s affected structures.
Chinese Herbs for Myopia
A certified Chinese herbalist will find and recommend the right formula for your eye condition during the acupuncture treatments to improve the outcome. He/she will combine various herbs to find the unique blend for you.
Many Chinese herbs help in the proper nourishment of eye tissue. They are in the form of pills, tea, herbal extracts, powders, or fresh or dried herbs. Some of them include:
- Dong Quai (or female ginseng) relaxes muscle spasms, which helps with the eye strain.
- Shihu Yeguang Wan is an herb mixture in the form of a pill that relieves eye fatigue and the feeling of dryness in the eyes.
- Lycium-Rehmannia formula is suitable for dry eyes, poor vision and helps with macular degeneration.
- Shou Wu Pian enriches liver and kidneys (poor eyesight).
- Ming Mu Di Huang Wan improves eyesight, nourishes red, itchy eyes, prevents glaucoma and cataracts.
Prevention of Myopia
The key to prevention is a healthy lifestyle.
Increase Outdoor Time to Prevent Early-Onset Myopia
Ambient light exposure plays a vital role in proper eye growth. The high level of light can slow down or even stop the development of myopia. The pupil’s shrinking (pupillary miosis) that occurs when viewing the distant objects outdoor results in less image blur.
Increased time outdoors helps regulate the weight, thus preventing obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, lowering anxiety and visual stress levels. It also enhances the blood and oxygen flow to your eyes, so exercise regularly.
Improve Your Diet
Include antioxidants for eye protection in your diet. They are called Carotenoid Antioxidants like alpha-carotene, beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene, and many others. Food rich in carotenoid antioxidants is leafy greens, bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, oranges, mangoes, etc.
Oily fish (fish that have oil in their gut and tissue) is the best source of omega-3 fatty acids, so try to eat tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, and herring. Fish can help with dry eye caused by digital eye strain.
Beef and oysters are rich in zinc, chicken breast, pork loin, and eggs, but they contain lower levels than beef. Zinc helps vitamin A to create pigment melanin, which protects the eyes.
It is also essential to drink enough water because water is a powerful antioxidant, so keep your body hydrated.
There is a strong correlation between high blood sugar levels and your overall eye health, so a balanced diet protects healthy cells and slows the current eye damage. A certified specialist can provide you a nutrition and lifestyle counseling.
Some eye problems can worsen due to smoking because nicotine slows down oxygen flow to the eye tissue.
Do Your Regular Eye Exam
Early treatment of eye problems can prevent them from getting worse, especially if there is a family history of eye disease.
Children need to be checked by an ophthalmologist at the age of 6 months, at 3 years, before first grade, and every 2 years during school years.
Adults wearing glasses or contacts should get checked every 5 to 10 years in their 20s and 30s and after that every 1 to 3 years. But, if you experience any inconvenience in your vision, schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
Get Enough Sleep
Good night sleep relieves tired eyes, decreases the amount of oxidative stress, and therefore improves vision.
Wear UV Protection Sunglasses
Keep the harmful sun rays away from your eyes because they can diminish your eyesight. It is also important to wear eye protection to prevent eye injury when doing something potentially dangerous to your eye health or when dealing with possible eye irritants (grinding or welding).
Limit Your Time in Front of the Screen
Digital eye strain increases the level of visual stress. So, use the 20/20/20 rule to relieve it. Look 20 feet away every 20 minutes for 20 seconds, and it will support your eyes’ flexibility.