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Chiropractic Care and the Health of Your Vision

Serious vision problems that can lead to eventual blindness are categorized under the blanket term glaucoma. Glaucoma can occur in all age groups from infants to senior citizens. The causes of glaucoma aren’t completely known to medical science but it is understood that it is the result of fluid pressure building up in the eyeball itself. This pressure, when it reaches high degrees, causes damage to the optic nerve that transforms light reflections from the environment into visual images in the brain. The eye is constantly being filled and drained of fluids. Problems with pressure develop when the eye fails to drain fluids properly. 

A 25 year old woman who was born with glaucoma and could only see out of one eye visited a chiropractor seeking help for spinal pain, headaches, and classic migraine symptoms. By this state of her life glaucoma had completely blinded her in one eye and reduced the vision in the other to almost complete blindness. The woman had a small field of central vision and a limited peripheral sensitivity to light which had been stable for the past three years.

Because chiropractic therapy, especially methods that focus on the upper region or cervical area of the spine, is known to have beneficial effects on damaged nerves in the body it has been considered a possibility that optical nerve problems, like those present in patients with glaucoma, could benefit from chiropractic care. The young woman agreed to have her eyes examined and monitored during the course of her chiropractic therapy to see if it improved her eyesight in anyway. 

Within a week of treatment, which included four spinal manipulation sessions, the young woman began to report improvement in her vision. According to the patient and her ophthalmic surgeon the visual field in her working eye increased from 2 percent to 20 percent from what is considered normal eye sight. 

New attention has been focused by this case on the cervical sympathetic nerves that are associated with the upper cervical spine. The hypothesis is that sympathetic nerve fibers can become irritated by pressure from fluid build-up in glaucoma which causes further constriction. This constriction eventually causes a tension in the brainstem which is connected to the occipital lobe area of the brain that is responsible for creating vision. Chiropractic spinal manipulation serves to ease the built-up pressure and constriction in these parts of the body, resulting in an improvement of vision.


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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Daniel Oines

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