Glaucoma is a serious eye disease caused by a significant increase in pressure inside the eye that damages the optic nerve. It can cause permanent vision loss that cannot be recovered, and it’s one of the leading causes of blindness in people over the age of 60. However, it can occur at any age. It is estimated that approximately 3 million Americans live with glaucoma.
There are many forms of glaucoma, and many of them show no warning signs and come on gradually. For this reason, regular eye exams, particularly if symptoms are present, are critical to recognizing the disease early in order to slow or prevent the progression of vision loss. The symptoms of open-angle glaucoma include patchy blind spots in the central or peripheral vision as well as tunnel vision in advanced stages. Acute angle-closure glaucoma may cause severe headaches and eye pain, nausea and vomiting, redness of the eyes, halos around lights, and blurred vision. There are Glaucoma Natural treatment options available.
Underlying Causes of Glaucoma
Part of our ability to see (and why our eyes have a round shape) comes from internal fluid pressure. In most cases, glaucoma occurs when the eye fails to maintain the proper balance between the amount of intraocular fluid it produces and the amount it drains away. If the eye’s drainage angle becomes too narrow (closed), the fluid will have difficulty passing through it to drain. An open angle can also hinder fluid drainage if structural damage has occurred in the area.
This imbalance leads to dangerous levels of pressure in the eye that cannot be relieved. The pressure just keeps building against the optic nerve. Eventually, this will permanently damage the nerve fibers and cause vision loss.
However, glaucoma can also occur when the internal eye pressure is normal. In these cases, poor blood flow or damage to the optic nerve may cause eye disease.
Interestingly, a 2007 study indicates another potential common cause of glaucoma: a buildup of beta-amyloid proteins in the eye’s retina and in brain tissue. New findings also suggest that the vision loss associated with glaucoma may actually be caused by an immune response to early exposure to bacteria, which ultimately elevates eye pressure.
Natural Therapies for Symptoms of Glaucoma
While there is no cure, people with glaucoma require treatment for the rest of their lives to maintain their vision and quality of life. Glaucoma treatment options include eye drops, oral medications, surgery, and laser treatments. Further, natural treatments may supplement prescribed treatments and help relieve symptoms. Always talk to your eye care specialist before trying a new glaucoma treatment, even if it is natural.
Research indicates that medical cannabis high in THC can help temporarily lower eye pressure by 25-30% to provide relief from glaucoma symptoms (for 3-4 hours). It is most often recommended by ophthalmologists to alleviate symptoms in the later stages of glaucoma.
For this reason, glaucoma is a qualifying condition for medical cannabis in many states. Getting a medical marijuana card can give you access to this natural treatment option. If you’re interested in getting a medical ID card, sign up with Heally and we’ll connect you with a marijuana-friendly doctor in your state for a telehealth appointment to start the application process.
Eat a Healthy Diet That Promotes Eye Health
Good nutrition is critical to overall health and wellness; however, certain foods can specifically promote eye health and may even slow the progression of eye diseases like glaucoma.
Top foods for glaucoma contain higher levels of carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin A, and antioxidants.
Foods for eye health:
- Brussels sprouts
- Collard greens
- Black and green tea
- Acai berries
You may also want to cut down on your coffee intake, since caffeine may increase eye pressure.
Exercise Regularly but Safely
Regular moderate exercise can help improve blood flow to the eyes and help you maintain healthy eye pressure. However, you might want to avoid vigorous exercise as well as some yoga poses like headstands and downward-facing dogs, which can actually increase eye pressure.
Try Herbs for Glaucoma
Some studies indicate that certain herbs may help improve glaucoma symptoms. Ginkgo may improve ocular blood flow. When applied topically, Forkskolin may reduce the amount of fluid within the eye and, in turn, reduce eye pressure. Scientists have also found that baicalein, a natural product found in plants, may significantly reduce eye pressure by improving the rate at which fluid is drained.
Interested in more natural remedies for glaucoma? Book an appointment to talk to an integrative health doctor online.