Glaucoma affects over two million Americans and is the second leading cause of blindness after Macular Degeneration. Glaucoma can be a serious disease that needs treatment as soon as possible or loss of vision is eminent.
In the healthy eye, fluid is produced and drained at equal rates. If this cycle is thrown out of balance and the fluid cannot drain properly, it builds up and puts pressure on the optic nerve, the retina, and the lens. Over time, this rise in pressure can partially damage or destroy the retina and even the optic nerve causing blindness.
There are two major forms of glaucoma. If the outflow channels are open yet become clogged with debris, it is known as open-angle glaucoma. If the channels are blocked by the iris, it is known as closed-angle glaucoma.
Chronic open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the two and occurs over years. This is due to the slow build-up of fluid and slow drainage from the anterior chamber of the eye. When this slow rise of pressure begins there are often no symptoms. However, as ocular hypertension increases, symptoms may include narrowing peripheral vision, mild headaches, and vague visual disturbances like seeing halos around lights and difficulty seeing in the dark. As the disease progresses without treatment, tunnel vision may develop.
In closed-angle glaucoma, fluid pressure rises very quickly and causes intense pain in one eye accompanied by headache, blurred vision, and halos around lights. The eye will feel hard to the touch, the eyelid will swell and redden, the eye will water, and the pain may even cause vomiting.
If you experience any of the closed-angle symptoms above, it is highly advised to seek medical attention immediately as permanent vision loss or total blindness can occur in just a few days.
Glaucoma typically affects those 65 and older but can affect almost anyone. I for one am 31 and have ocular hypertension which is the condition that precedes full blown glaucoma.
There is no singular cause of glaucoma known as of yet, but it is believed that a variety of factors come into play like environmental toxins, nutritional deficiencies, certain medications, high stress levels, and other factors that may predispose one to developing glaucoma.
Symptoms of Open-Angle Glaucoma
• Mild headaches
• Narrowing peripheral vision
• Tunnel vision
• Vague visual disturbances (“halo effect” and trouble adapting to darkness)
Symptoms of Closed-Angle Glaucoma
• Intense pain in one eye
• Nausea and vomiting
• Red, swollen, watery eyes
• Swollen eyelids
• Vision disturbances
• Vision loss and/or blindness
The Root Causes of Glaucoma
• Accumulation of wastes and toxins in the body
• Certain prescription drugs including corticosteroids, blood pressure meds, and antidepressants
• Illnesses like macular degeneration and other eye disorders
• Metabolic slowing due to aging
• Nutritional deficiencies
The Best Remedies for Treating Glaucoma Naturally
Now that you know a bit more about glaucoma and its symptoms it’s time to get into the nitty gritty of treating it naturally and staving off its progress!
Recommended Diet for Treating and Preventing Glaucoma
Eating a clean diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, cold water fish, and organic grass fed animal products is key to getting all the nutrients you need for eye health.
Consuming plenty of dark leafy greens and orange and yellow fruits and veggies is especially beneficial for improving vision and overall eye health.
The bioflavonoids found in citrus help fight free radicals and keeps the soft tissues and collagen around the eye flexible and healthy.
It is recommended that if you have been diagnosed with glaucoma to drink fluids steadily throughout the day and not in large quantities at once. This may raise pressure in the eye.
Consuming a high-quality fish oil 2-3 times a week is known to lower eye pressure.
Brewer’s yeast, kelp and other sea vegetables, leafy greens, apples, safflower, and sesame oils are all known to contain high amounts of chromium which have beneficial effects on glaucoma and general ocular hypertension.
Foods to Avoid if You Have Glaucoma or Preceding Conditions
Avoid eating foods that you are allergic or intolerant to as this increases inflammation in the body.
Consuming caffeine has been shown to reduce healthy blood flow to the eyes which can exacerbate slow fluid flow within the eye.
Liver toxicity have been known to be related to eye problems so be sure to avoid the overconsumption of alcohol, processed foods, and processed sugars. You can learn how to do a liver cleanse here if you’re interested.
The Best Supplements for Treating Glaucoma Naturally
Below are some of the best supplements and herbal remedies to consider to help keep eye pressure balanced and help prevent it from rising. Of course, I am not a doctor so these are just things you should be aware of and look into for yourself. You definitely don’t want to mess with potential vision loss and blindness, so proceed at YOUR OWN RISK!
Taking 250 mg of magnesium daily can help relax blood vessels and greatly improves healthy blood flow and circulation to the eyes.
2. Vitamin C
Studies have shown that taking 2,000 mg of Vitamin C per day can drastically reduce intraocular pressure by a whopping 16mm Hg. An even more aggressive approach in to see a physician who can administer intravenous Vitamin C. However, the effect only lasts as long as the Vitamin C is being taken so if you stop, your pressures may rise again.
It is generally recommended to take 1,000 mg of Vitamin C two to four times daily. Be careful though! If your body isn’t used to taking Vitamin C, it can have a laxative effect.
3. Fish Oil
Taking 1,000 mg of high quality fish oil (600 mg of EPA and 400 mg DHA) has been shown to significantly drop eye pressure. The Omega fatty acids will also keep your eye tissues string and healthy.
4. Alpha Lipoic Acid
This powerful antioxidant has shown promise when treating glaucoma naturally and lowing eye pressure. It helps protect your eyes from free radical damage and keep the soft tissue of the eyes supple and flexible.
It is recommended to take 100 mg of alpha lipoic acid twice daily.
5. Bilberry Extract
The powerful anthocyanins found in bilberry are believed to be the key bioactives responsible for improving vision. It also contains flavonols, quercetin, catechins, tannins, ellagitannins, and phenolic acids. However, it is the anthocyanins that are believed to be responsible for it effects on cell-signaling pathways, gene expression, and DNA repair.
Because of this, bilberry is suggested as a treatment a damaged retina, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts. Its high flavonoid content supports eye structure and function and increases healthy blood flow to the eye.
It is recommended to take 160 mg twice daily of a 25% anthocyanosides extract.
6. Ginkgo Biloba
One investigation sponsored by the Glaucoma Research Foundation concluded that herbal therpies such as the use of ginkgo biloba improves the visual field damage in some patients with normal-tension glaucoma.
Ginkgo is known to improve blood circulation in sensitive tissues such as the brain and optic nerve. Improved circulation to these organs may ease the course of glaucoma.
It is recommended to take 60 mg three times daily of a 24% flavone glycoside extract. Keep in mind that the herb must be consumed continually in order to produce clinical benefits.
For those who suffer from diabetes, hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, and other blood sugar conditions, it is important to eat a diet high in chromium rich foods or to take a chromium supplement to help balance blood sugar and regulate eye pressure.
It is recommended to take 250-500 mg of chromium twice daily.
• Grapeseed extract – a powerful antioxidant that helps improve vision. Take 100-200 mg once daily.
• Rutin – a bioflavonoid that helps support eye tissue health and function. Take 20 mg three times daily.
• Pycnogenol and bilberry – A mixture of 80 mg of pycnogenol and 160 mg of bilberry extract was found to significantly improve intraocular pressure over a 6 month period.
Homeopathy for Galucoma
Since glaucoma is a constitutional disorder, it is important to see a homeopathic practitioner for specific homeopathic remedies.
Acupressure for Glaucoma
While acupressure cannot cure glaucoma, it can be especially helpful for those who use their eyes a lot and suffer from eyestrain.
Use the acupressure points below to help treat glaucoma naturally and rest the eyes:
• Stomach 3 (St3) relieves pressure on the eyes
• Bladder 10 (B10) soothes eyes that are red and tired from strain
• Large intestine (L13 and L14) to improve blood flow to the head and eyes
I have included pictures of the acupressure points below for the eyes:
Images from pg. 677, 679, and 681 of Prescriptions for Natural Cures.
Bodywork for Glaucoma
Massage won’t prevent glaucoma from developing in and of itself, but it can help relieve tension in the neck and shoulders and improve healthy circulation to the head and eyes. Try to massage the neck and shoulder once daily for upper body tension relief.
Aromatherapy for Treating Glaucoma Naturally
The use of powerful essential oils is one of the best ways to help control ocular hypertension and chronic glaucoma symptoms. Not only can they reduce stress which is known to be a contributing factor in the development of glaucoma, they can also help balance eye pressure and improve circulation to the eyes.
Some of the best essential oils for glaucoma include:
You can learn more about how to use essential oils for glaucoma HERE.
Avoiding long periods of eyestrain while reading, playing video games, or working on the computer is key to keeping your eyes rested and healthy.
Avoid watching TV in the dark as extended periods of time in darkness can bring on acute glaucoma.
Smoking can greatly inhibit healthy circulation to the eyes and retina so it’s recommended to stop smoking and avoid second hand smoke as much as possible.
Mild to moderate aerobic exercise is known to improve and balance eye pressure.
What have been your favorite remedies for treating glaucoma naturally? Please share in the comments below!
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