How many hours a day do you stare at a screen? If you’re like most people, it’s easier to ask how long do you NOT stare at a screen. Even when we’re stopped at a red light in the car, doing our business in the bathroom and eating meals, our eyes are always glued to our phone.
How then may traditional Chinese medicine support eye and vision health? After all, there was no screen time thousands of years ago. But there was scroll time. Not only that, the ancient wisdom of TCM can apply to practically any modern health concern.
How Does ITCM Help With Chronic Screen Staring?
Let’s count the ways that staring at a screen can negatively impact eye and vision health.
- Dry eyes
- Retinal damage from blue light
- Diminished ability to focus your eyes on an object (like a screen)
- Double or blurry vision
And that’s just eye and vision problems. Staring at screens all day long can also negatively impact your cognitive function. (Feel like you need a new brain? Try BrainNewBrainNew.)
But let’s focus (no pun intended) on how TCM works to support your eyes and vision.
In order to understand how TCM can help even if you absolutely must spend hours a day on screens, you need to understand the 6 evils of Chinese medicine.
Cistanche extract, a TCM herb, may have beneficial protective properties for blue light exposure.
The 6 evils relate to external influences that can reduce your immunity and even your vision. A good starting point for supporting your eye and vision health is not to stare at a screen all day long. But for some people that’s impossible. Thus, in order to support your eyes and vision from this day forward, you need to have ample Qi in order to overcome the following 6 evils:
Heat: In terms of vision, heat causes redness and inflammation of the eyes.
Wind: May result in vision loss.
Cold: Eye strain and deterioration of eye function over the years
Dampness: Watery eyes
Dryness: Severely itchy eyes often accompanied by redness
Summer Heat: Excessive “eye goop” discharge
So how does screen time apply to 6 evils theory? Well, you know how your smartphone or laptop gets hot after a while? Well, the heat from the screen might be considered a form of pathogenic Heat.
TCM Organs That Affect The Eyes & Vision
In the west, there’s an expression that the eyes are the window to the soul. In TCM, the expression is that the Liver channel is the window to the eyes. This is because the Liver is the main organ system responsible for promoting healthy vision. But every TCM organ, not just the Liver, may directly impact your ability to focus on screens—without causing harm.
Kidney channel: pupils (dark center of the eye)
Lung channel: sclera (the white portion of the eyes)
Heart channel: tiny vasculature (blood vessels) in the eye
Spleen: Upper eyelid and blood circulation
Stomach: Bottom eyelid and blood circulation
Liver: Iris (colorful part of the eyeball) and cornea (clear coating over the iris and pupil)
Staring at screens all day long is bad enough for the eyes. But if you have an imbalance in any of these meridians, it can make a sight for sore eyes!
TCM Solutions For Chronic Screen Time Fatigue
Research shows that blue light from screens can damage the retina, the tissue at the back of the eye that receives images and sends them as electric signals through the optic nerve to the brain. In fact, blue light can kill human retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells.
Studies on TCM and blue light are hard to come by. But interestingly, there was a study published in Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry that suggested that Cistanche extract, a TCM herb, may have beneficial protective properties for blue light exposure.
Excuse the geeking out here, but what the research found was that Cistanche “significantly inhibited hydrogen peroxide-, tert-butyl hydroperoxide-, sodium azide-, and BLL-induced RPE damage.”
In addition, Cistanche reduced the expression of markers that lead to RPE cell death.
Did you know ActiveHerb.com offers Cistanche extract granulesCistanche extract granules? You simply add a provided scoopful of granules to make instant tea or add it to yogurt, congee or oatmeal.
Got Dry Eyes Because of Too Much Screen Time?
Another study in the peer-reviewed TCM journal, Tzu Chinese Medicine Journal, suggests that the herbs in the formula, Chi (Qi)-Ju-Di-Huang-Wan may “effectively alleviate dry eye symptoms.”
What’s more is that patients who used the formula combined with Western medicine “experienced significantly magnified therapeutic effects and reasonable costs of treatment,” leading the researchers to conclude, “TCM can be a promising approach for treating dry eyes, and combined treatment with TCM and Western drugs may represent a new strategy for improving the effect.
Use TCM For Eye & Vision Support With YivVive Eyes (No More Screen Fatigue)
ActiveHerb.com’s formula YinVive EyesYinVive Eyes is based on the formula, Chi (Qi)-Ju-Di-Huang-Wan, in the above study. YinVive Eyes works by essentially acting as a cooling agent for the Liver meridian. Remember how Fire (heat from the screen) causes redness and irritation? Well, if you don’t have enough Yin (cooling) energy in the Liver channel, then you won’t have enough Blood either. You need enough Yin to cool the eyes and you need enough Blood to nourish and moisten them.
To learn more about this formula read the product description herehere. In addition to YinVive Eyes and a similar formula YinVive VisionYinVive Vision, visiting your local acupuncturist is another way to protect yourself from screen fatigue.