Glaucoma and Acupuncture


Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness all over the world. Early intervention can stop the spread of this disease and prevent further vision loss. But most people feel no pain or pressure early in this disease’s progression, and this emphasizes the need for regular eye exams. While older people are at a higher risk for developing glaucoma, it can strike at any age.

While there is no medical cure, intervention can prevent further vision loss. Traditional western medicine is currently unable to restore lost vision, but a glaucoma study of acupuncture treatment  in Japan actually demonstrated that holistic eye treatments can increase visual acuity after a few weeks of regular treatment.

What is glaucoma?

This disease actually describes a group of conditions that damage the optic nerve. Sometimes the damage is caused because of an increase of intraocular (eye) pressure that restricts blood flow.  Other types of glaucoma do not increase pressure, but still decrease blood flow to the retina and optic nerve.

How Can Acupuncture Treatments Help Glaucoma Patients?

  •          Decreasing Intraocular Pressure
  •          Increased Eye Circulation

Acupuncture focuses on decreasing the disease symptoms that actually damage the retina, optic nerve, and vision. These types of holistic eye treatments have been demonstrated to reduce or eliminate the symptoms. This may stop vision loss, and in some cases holistic eye treatments might even restore lost visual acuity.

Separate Japanese, German, and Chinese acupuncture studies  focused on holistic eye treatments using acupuncture. Each study had regular acupuncture sessions performed on patients who suffered from glaucoma. In each case, intraocular pressure decreased steadily over the course of a few weeks. Patients improved over the 24 hour period following treatment. The Japanese study also concluded that regular treatment led to better results. In other words, patients had lower pressure immediately. But they also improved from week to week after submitting to periodic treatment over time.

The Japanese study also concluded that acupuncture resulted in increased blood flow to the eyes. Since it is this decrease in blood flow that causes damage, this study concluded that these holistic eye treatments should be an adjunct glaucoma treatment to traditional medical intervention.

After patients had acupuncture therapy twice a week over the course of five weeks, their visual acuity also improved. Uncorrected eyesight was tested after each week of treatment. Each week’s test was better than the test the week before. This is another reason that the Japanese study concluded that patients should make a commitment to long-term regular acupuncture holistic eye treatments for this disease.

Conclusions about Acupuncture Treatments for Glaucoma Patients

Doctors do know that increased pressure and decreased blood flow damage the eyesight of glaucoma patients. Traditional medical intervention can stop further vision loss, but not restore lost vision. International studies have demonstrated that acupuncture can relieve pressure, increase blood flow, and might even be able to restore lost visual acuity.

Have you been diagnosed with a type of glaucoma but been told that there is nothing more your optometrist can do for your vision besides prescribing a stronger pair of glasses? Find a qualified acupuncturist as soon as possible to discuss supplementing your medical care with natural and holistic eye treatments. You might be able to reduce your reliance on prescription medication and even restore some of your lost eyesight.


David Russell, CMT, L.AcDavid Russell, L.Ac, is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist, with a Master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and postgraduate studies in Hangzhou, China. Inspired to holistically heal vision conditions, David Russell studied under the nationally acclaimed Dr. Andy Rosenfarb. Now David brings to you a specialized system of acupuncture, nutrition, herbs, and functional medicine to help heal your eyes and restore the health of your body