What do the eyes and liver have to do with each other? Their relationship is extraordinary, though many people are unaware of the connection. If you experience blurry vision, floaters, dry eyes, poor night vision, and myopia (nearsightedness or when objects far away appear blurry), it can be a sign that your liver is struggling. Liver imbalances are also related to conditions like cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, bloodshot eyes, headaches, and deteriorating vision, especially when you need to keep changing your eyeglass prescription.
The liver controls blood flow and circulation to your eyes in addition to its other 500 critical functions. So, when your liver is impaired, it prevents proper blood and energy flow to other parts of the body, including the eyes. A healthy liver is soft, allowing the free flow of blood and nutrients to the eyes. Once the liver begins to increase in stiffness, such as with fatty liver and scarring, it struggles to clear toxins from the blood, and it may have problems getting clean blood and nutrients to the eyes. This is one reason some people who take vision supplements don’t see improvements.
Eyes and Liver: Four Signs Your Liver Needs Help
- Dry Eyes. Dry eyes with other problems such as blurry vision, floaters, poor night vision, muscle cramps, and fatigue could be signs of liver stress. Traditional Chinese Medicine has long used this symptom as a sign of liver blood deficiency. Still, it is now widely used in Western Medicine.
- Yellowing. A sign of good health is when the whites of your eyes are bright. If you notice any yellowing in the whites of your eyes, it could indicate a condition called jaundice. This happens when there are high blood levels of bilirubin, the yellow pigment in bile. Elevated bilirubin can result from toxic overload or other liver problems, such as fatty liver. With fatty liver, a widespread condition in today’s world, a person may have yellowing in the whites of the eyes along with eye puffiness and dark circles.
- Bloodshot Eyes. Red and bloodshot eyes can result from a lack of sleep or computer eye strain, but it can also indicate a build-up of toxins in the liver. Toxins like alcohol, cigarette smoke, processed sugar, chemicals, and drug exposure can overwork the liver, leading to health problems. Bloodshot eyes can also be a sign of liver inflammation.
- Bumps on the Eyelids. This is known as xanthelasma palpebrarum, which shows up as tiny deposits of yellow plaque near your eyes (cholesterol deposits). It could be a sign of high cholesterol or fatty liver disease.
Eyes and Liver Toxicity
One of the liver’s primary functions is to remove toxins from the body. Toxicity also manifests in poor eyesight. Several practitioners use a Visual Contrast Sensitivity (VCS) test to assess for neurological and mold toxicity. The VCS test shows how certain biotoxins can affect retinal artery blood flow, interfering with the eyes’ ability to see contrast. There are some VCS tests that you can take online.
It’s essential to consider liver health when dealing with poor eye health. Even mild forms of liver disease are linked to impaired vision (primarily night vision) and reduced ability to distinguish colors and shapes.
In Chinese Medicine, the liver meridian is also significantly affected by stress and emotions, causing imbalances in vision. Emotions related to the liver include anger, frustration, resentment, and irritability. The connection between our eyes and the liver is only one part of how the liver helps keep us optimally healthy.
Nutrition and Fitness for a Healthy Liver
Here are my top tips for keeping your liver healthy.
- Eliminate alcohol 100%.
- Reduce processed (added) sugar and limit to 25 grams a day or less (avoid high-fructose corn syrup altogether).
- Reduce fried foods (fries, chips, deep-fried foods).
- Increase fresh fruits and vegetables (especially greens and green juices).
- Engage in moderate exercise four times a week for 20-30 minutes (walking is a great choice).