Glaucoma is a condition in which the eye’s fluid pressure becomes too high and its drainage method has become impaired. The increased intraocular pressure eventually damages the optic nerve, which causes blind spots and other impairments such as light halos, blurred vision, eye pain, redness, and a complete loss of peripheral vision. It’s the second leading cause of blindness in America, and as such, doctors and researchers alike have struggled to find a way to cure the disease as efficiently as possible. Though any medical condition necessitates a visit to a professional, there are a number of natural treatments for glaucoma that may warrant a second look.
Pansy, Bilberry and Fish Oil
Pansy contains a compound called rutin that many advocates of natural remedies recommend for the treatment of glaucoma. On average, it is recommended that the patient ingest 20 mg of rutin three times per day, which are approximately three wild pansy flowers. Other plants that contain rutin are pagoda tree flowers, violets, eucalyptus, and mulberry leaf.
Bilberry contains a compound that helps slow the breakdown of vitamin C. This means that the vitamins ingested by a patient with glaucoma can actually help protect the eyes more effectively and for longer periods.
Fish Oil, such as Cod liver oil, is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and helps Glaucoma patients through reducing intraocular pressure. Fish oil should not be taken if the patient is anemic, or is taking blood-thinning medicine.
Eat Right and Exercise
Some studies have shown that regular physical activity can not only reduce IOP but also have a positive effect on causes of Glaucoma such as diabetes and high blood pressure. In one study, Glaucoma patients rode a stationary bike 4 times a week for 40 minutes each cycle. Within 3 months, their IOP had reduced 20%.
While physical exercise is a great compliment to any medication or other natural supplement a Glaucoma patient is taking, practicing Yoga may need to be avoided. While there are no official studies on the form of exercise and its effects on glaucoma patients, it is believed that the pressure placed on the eyes through headstands or other positions which require the head to be in a lowered position are potentially harmful to people with Glaucoma.
“What is Glaucoma, What Causes Glaucoma, Types of Glaucoma-University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center Ann Arbor MI.” Kellogg Eye Center-University of Michigan-Ann Arbor MI-Ophthalmology. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Aug. 2010. http://www.kellogg.umich.edu/patientcare/conditions/glaucoma.html.
“Alternative Medicine | Glaucoma Research Foundation.” Glaucoma Research Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Aug. 2010. http://www.glaucoma.org/treating/alternative_med.php.