Find Natural Treatments for Glaucoma

Find Natural Treatments for Glaucoma
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Causes of Glaucoma

Collagen provides support and integrity to all eye structures. When eye structures are weakened, it can lead to blockage in the flow of aqueous humour (the fluid that provides nutrients to the eye and removes waste from the eye). This fluid will gradually build up in the eye, increase intraocular pressure (IOP), and damage the optic nerve. This can cause an irreversible blindness if not treated.

Risk factors include diabetes, advanced age, family history of glaucoma, eye injury, and corticosteroid drugs like prednisone. Women are more likely to get glaucoma than men.

The earlier glaucoma treatment is started, the better the outcome. Regular eye exams are important because some people may have glaucoma without symptoms.

Image: normal vision on the left and advanced vision loss from glaucoma on the right (click on image to enlarge).

Natural Treatments for Glaucoma

The treatment of glaucoma is dependent upon improvement of collagen metabolism within the eye and reduction of IOP.

Avoid corticosteroid drugs if at all possible. Corticosteroid drugs, commonly used to treat severe allergic and inflammatory conditions, weaken collagen structure in the eye.

Vitamin C is essential for collagen integrity. In one study[1], the IOP in people with glaucoma who were treated with vitamin C (0.5 grams per 2.2 pounds of body weight) decreased by an average of 16 mm Hg. Normal IOP is 10 to 21 mm Hg. Some people who were unresponsive to common glaucoma drugs showed significant improvements from taking vitamin C.

Flavonoids can help treat glaucoma naturally by improving collagen metabolism. Berries and bilberry extract are especially rich in flavonoids. Rutin, a citrus flavonoid, has been demonstrated to lower IOP when used as an adjunct in people unresponsive to glaucoma medications alone.[2]

Magnesium improves blood supply and lowers IOP. In one study[3], after receiving magnesium for four weeks, all participants had improved vision.

Omega-3 oils may also lower IOP. Though no studies have been done with humans, one study[4] was done on rabbits. When normal rabbits ate food soaked in cod liver oil (rich in omega-3 oils), their IOP decreased significantly and when the rabbits were taken off the cod liver oil, their IOP returned to baseline. Flaxseed and cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and halibut are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Ginkgo biloba extract (standardized to contain 24% ginkgo flavonglycosides) is a natural remedy that shows promise in glaucoma treatment. In one study[5], 46 people with severe glaucoma demonstrated mild improvement in IOP and visual field after being given ginkgo biloba extract.

References

  • [1] Eye Ear Nose Throat Monthly 46 (1967): 1502-8
  • [2] NY St J Med 49 (1949): 58-63
  • [3] Ophthalmologica 209 (1995): 11-3
  • [4] Medical Tribune August 19, 1991: 25
  • [5] Klin Monatsbl Augenheilkd 177(5) (1980): 577-83

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This post is part of the series: Eye Problems

Natural prevention and remedies for the eyes.

  1. Natural Treatments for Glaucoma
  2. How to Prevent Macular Degeneration Eye Disease
  3. Preventing Cataracts