Natural Treatments for Eye Floaters
By Dr. Mao Shing Ni
THE ANNOYING, SPIDERWEB-LIKE IMAGES and black spots some people see in their field of vision are not on the surface of your eyes but inside them. Since they tend to float in and out of your vision with the movement of your eyes, they’re called floaters. They’re cellular debris within the vitreous fluid in the eye, a result of degeneration. Though more of a nuisance than anything else, the sudden appearance and rapid increase of seeing black spots or floaters may signal rapidly progressing visual decline and should be addressed with your eye specialist – in particular if they are accompanied with flashes of light.
In Chinese medicine, the liver stores the blood and nutrients that nourish the eye while the kidneys store the vital essence, which is necessary for good vision. Poor eating and lifestyle habits during the younger years depletes these vital substances. When combined with a buildup of metabolic and cellular waste in the form of dampness and phlegm, circulation to the sensory organs is diminished, causing malnourishment of the eyes. 
I’ve worked with some very fine ophthalmologists on patients who have annoying floaters. With treatment in the form of diet, herbs, acupuncture and qigong many floaters are substantially reduced or eliminated. The treatment includes cleansing and detoxification protocols, herbal and nutritional therapies, acupuncture, and energy exercises like qigong and tai chi. I instruct my patients in eye exercises and eye massage as well as appropriate lifestyle choices. Here are some of my recommendations - I hope they help you maintain good vision well into your golden years.
DIET FOR EYE FLOATERS
Proper nutrition is essential for delivering nourishment to the eyes and for preventing a buildup of toxic waste products in the body.
- I recommend a wholesome, balanced diet rich in complex carbohydrates, organic sources of animal protein, and whole grains.
- To help nourish eyes via the kidneys, the liver, and the vital essence, eat more blood-building foods, including fresh vegetables such as spinach and beets, and dried fruits, such as raisins, figs, and prunes. 
- Turnip tops, leeks, okra, tomatoes, lettuce, Swiss chard, cilantro, yams, carrots, cabbage, green peas, watercress, whole grains, beans (especially soybeans and mung beans), cloves, sesame seeds, and 
- Fresh fruits, including apples, peaches, pears, mulberries, blueberries, and blackberries, are all beneficial.
- Avoid foods high in fat content, animal fats, red meat, dairy products, and spicy foods all contribute to the buildup of toxins and waste in the body and should be eliminated. 
- Avoid coffee and alcohol, which injure the yin essence.
HOME REMEDIES FOR FLOATERS AND TIRED EYES
- Alternate hot and cold eye compresses by applying a hot, moist washcloth to both eyes for 2 minutes, followed by an ice-cold washcloth for 2 minutes. Repeat 3 or 4 times a day.
- Boil 4 ounces of fresh spinach in 4 cups of water for 20 minutes. Drink this broth and eat the spinach daily to provide vital nourishment for the eyes.
DAILY VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS FOR EYE FLOATERS
- Taking omega-3 fatty acids (3 to 9 grams daily in capsule or liquid form) helps to promote healthy circulation and reduce inflammation.
- Taking daily doses of vitamins A (200 IU), C (1,000 milligrams), and E (800 IU), beta-carotene (1,000 milligrams), and selenium (100 micrograms) can help stop the progression of macular degeneration.
- Daily use of lutein (30 milligrams), another form of betacarotene, has been shown to help the macula.
- Chlorophyll-rich algae like spirulina, chlorella, and bluegreen algae (1 to 2 grams daily) possess nutrients that are beneficial for the eyes.
HERBAL THERAPY FOR FLOATERS AND TIRED EYES
- Taking ginkgo biloba on a daily basis can improve circulation to the eyes.
- A traditional Chinese herbal formula to nourish the eyes includes: Lycium fruit, Chrysanthemum flower, Rehmannia root tuber (cured), Asiatic Dogwood fruit, Chinese Yam rhizome, Poria sclerotium, Asian Water Plantain rhizome, Tree Peony root bark.
- Make a tea by boiling 1/2 cup chrysanthemum flowers, 1/2 cup mint leaves, and 2 tablespoons cassia seeds in 4 cups of water for 15 minutes. Strain, and drink 3 cups a day to support healthy eyes by strengthening liver function and reducing inflammation.
- Grape seed extract and bilberry extract contain potent antioxidants for eye health.
EYE EXERCISES FOR FLOATERS
An active lifestyle is essential for preventing depletion of the vital essence and the buildup of toxic wastes in the body. I recommend a program that includes cardiovascular exercise every other day and tai chi or qi gong exercises for 30 minutes every day. The exercise called Warming Up the Eyes works directly on the eyes to improve circulation and reduce symptoms, and you can do it every day to help preserve good vision.
- Sit at the front edge of a sturdy chair with your back erect, your spine stretched, and your head tilted slightly forward.
- Relax and breathe deeply and rhythmically for 3 minutes to promote a feeling of relaxation and calm.
- Rub your palms together with some vigor to produce heat. With light pressure, immediately place your palms on your closed eyes. Feel the warming energy from your hands bathing and penetrating your eyes. Hold for 2 breaths.
- Repeat 3 times a day.
SELF-ACUPRESSURE FOR EYE FLOATERS
- Find the acupoint Gathering Bamboo (B-2), in the depression at the inner corner of the left eyebrow, just above the bridge of the nose. It is traditionally used to restore healthy vision. Apply steady pressure with your left index finger until you feel soreness. Hold for 2 minutes. Repeat on the right side.
- Locate the acupoint Hundred Meeting (DU-20), in the depression at the top of the head, in line with the tips of the ears. It is traditionally used to bring energy to the head area and clear heat from the liver, which can manifest as an eye disorder. Apply steady pressure with your index finger until you feel soreness. Hold for 3 minutes.
EYE FLOATERS: WHAT TO AVOID
- Using the computer and watching TV in the dark, watching a lot of movies, reading in poor light, and wearing sunglasses for long periods of time.
- Stressful situations and emotional turmoil, which rapidly consume the vital essence and aggravate the liver.
- Smoking, exposure to secondhand smoke, and alcohol, which injure the kidney yin essence.
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©2015 Dr. Mao Shing Ni
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