New Research Sheds Light on Chiropractic & Eye Disorders

Research News Staff
New Research Sheds Light on Chiropractic & Eye Disorders

Research Reveals Relationship Between the Spine, Nervous System and Vision

Recent research reporting on improvement in a 40 year old woman undergoing chiropractic care reveals that chiropractic may play an important role in managing people with eye disorders such as glaucoma. The research, reported in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research, includes a review of the literature demonstrating numerous effects on the eyes following chiropractic care including changes in visual acuity, oculomotor function, intraocular pressure, and pupillary size.

“Research is revealing that there is a relationship between abnormalities in the spine, the nervous system and vision” stated Matthew McCoy DC, MPH a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the journal that published the study. “Basic science research shows that the eye has an intimate anatomical relationship with the nervous system and the spine. Functions of the eye can be affected by the structure and movement of the spine.”

One such mechanism is through changes in blood flow to the eye which is controlled by the nervous system. Changes in intraocular pressure for example, are related to decreased production of the aqueous fluid, a result of decreased blood flow in the ciliary body, provided by small arteries. Aqueous humor is produced by the ciliary bodies in the back of the eye and is influenced by this neuroanatomic relationship. Nerve irritation may also hinder the aqueous outflow from the eye. Irritation of the nerves in the neck may arise from vertebral subluxation in the neck or upper back. Chiropractors treat vertebral subluxations and chiropractic adjustments to the neck and upper back have been shown to effectively lower intraocular pressure by means of an effect on the autonomic nervous system.

“It makes perfect sense when you think about it” stated Dr. McCoy. “And now we are seeing more and more basic science and clinical research showing the relationship between abnormal spinal function and visual disorders.”

In the case reported on in the research, a 40 year-old woman presented for chiropractic consultation with borderline glaucoma and numerous complaints involving her nerves, bones and joints. Previous to receiving chiropractic care, ophthalmic examinations revealed a steady increase in intraocular pressure increase such that she was diagnosed with borderline glaucoma.

The patient was examined by the chiropractor and found to have abnormal position and movement of the spinal vertebra which leads to nerve interference. It is this interference, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct.

Over a period of 2 months and 11 days, the patient was seen 25 times and received chiropractic adjustments Re-examination revealed improvements in the function of her nervous system as a result of adjusting the subluxations. Her bone and joint symptoms improved, including avoiding carpal tunnel surgery, she experienced reduced intra-ocular pressure and no longer has borderline glaucoma.

The authors of the study call for more research on the role of chiropractic care in visual disorders.

Contact Information:

Matthew McCoy DC, MPH

Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research 


McCoy Press