At first glance, the eyes and liver have about as much in common as milk and champagne. And, if you imbibe too much of the latter, you may be excused for thinking that bubbly’s only link to eyesight is to induce drunken double vision.
But according to Dr. Marc Grossman, O.D., L.Ac (author, lecturer, and consultant to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point), in traditional Chinese medicine – a discipline that goes back more than two millennia – all diseases involving the eye are closely related to the liver. Specifically, he says the cornea and the iris are most connected to the liver.
So, in order to best take care of your vision, let’s not forget to take extra care with our liver health. Your whole body will thank you!
Blurry vision, myopia, floaters in the eyes, dry eyes, and color blindness are all connected, to some extent, with liver blood deficiencies. This deficiency can occur due to scarring of the liver or anemia. Both of these problems prevent the flow of blood through the liver. We need a healthy flow of blood from this extraordinary organ in order to keep our eyes healthy and our vision clear. Usually, complications in the eyes are linked to liver heat. This is usually associated with inflammation in the liver. Of course, one of the most common causes of liver heat is alcoholism.
So, what are the signs of liver heat when it comes to your eyes? Your eyeball turning upwards or moving involuntarily may have to do with internal liver wind. This normally occurs when there is extreme heat in the liver. This can be caused by high blood pressure, emotional stress, or overindulgence in alcoholic beverages.
Strange as it may seem, your liver and your eyes really are linked in many ways.
As the saying goes, the head bone’s connected to the neck bone, and that goes for the rest of your body as well.
A Holistic Approach
Echoing the core principle of holistic medicine, Dr. Grossman declares, “The body does not work as a series of parts in isolation, but as a dynamically integrated living system. Every cell in the body has receptors for neurotransmitters, so in a real sense every cell is a nerve cell… This biological awareness of every cell is really the foundation of vision.”
He further explains: “A healthy liver is soft and open. This softness permits the free flow of blood and energy throughout the body directly to the eyes. A healthy liver keeps the blood clean and pure and thus directly improves eyesight.”
Thus, when we rejuvenate the liver, we directly promote healthy vision. And the good news is, it’s actually quite easy to take care of your liver because it’s one of the only organs in our body that can regenerate over time – though maintaining a healthy liver is about more than just laying off the champers.
Dr. Grossman calls diet the “foundation of all rejuvenation regimes” and notes that beta carotene – found in carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, dark green leafy vegetables, cantaloupe, squash, and cabbage – is a powerful immune booster. These leafy greens can also cleanse the blood and eliminate liver inflammation.
Other notable liver-regenerating herbs include:
- Scute root
You can purchase these in the form of easy-to-use liver-cleansing products at many drug and grocery stores.
If, like many other people, you are unable to incorporate all the healthy foods you need in your normal everyday diet, you may want to consider a vision-improving vitamin supplement. This way, you will know without all the testing and measuring that you are getting the right amounts of nutrients that your body needs on a daily basis.
You may know these nutrients better as antioxidants. Two strong antioxidants that help in removing free radicals from our liver and eyes are lutein and zeaxanthin. You can find both of these antioxidants naturally in the eyes, in relatively high concentrations in the lens and retina of the eyes.
Lutein and zeaxanthin act to protect our eyes from damaging ultra-violet blue light. As we age, it is important to make sure that our bodies have these antioxidants to protect the eye. With proper amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, it is possible to prevent the development of age-related macular degeneration.
Another important antioxidant for both the liver and eyes is alpha-lipoic acid, or ALA. This antioxidant has been shown to help prevent cataracts in the eyes and helps to dissolve toxic substances. So, be on the lookout for these nutrients in the foods and supplements you purchase.
Traditional Chinese medicine holds that to function optimally, the eyes require an abundance of yin essences (blood and other bodily fluids that moisten and nourish the organs and tissues). In this view, dry eyes reflect a yin deficiency. Natural News recommends combating dry eyes with such classic herbs as eyebright and goldenseal, which are very effective in clearing inflammation from the liver channel. Chinese herbs such as rehmannia and lycium also promote eye health by refreshing and maintaining the blood, as well as the yin essence that circulates to the eyes.
Dr. Grossman also advocates avoiding carbonated, caffeinated, and alcoholic beverages, and instead drinking eight to 10 glasses of purified water a day to hydrate your eyes. Excessive caffeine and alcohol are very hard on our livers. Cirrhosis of the liver is just one problem that comes with excessive alcohol use. Water, on the other hand, helps to flush impurities out of our bodies. There’s yet another reason to make sure you’re getting the proper amount of water every day!
Whether you prescribe to Chinese medicine or not, it is crucial you get all the important nutrients your eyes need for optimal vision health. Eating foods that benefit your liver will also benefit your eyes. Plus, the more you take care of your health in these ways early on in life, the better vision you will have as you age. It’s truly a win-win!