Almost all glaucoma treatments have one objective in mind: lower the pressure buildup in the eye.
In addition to traditional treatment, doctors sometimes recommend Ginko Biloba, bilberry and marijuana as remedies for glaucoma.
Lifestyle changes and dietary adjustments can also come into play as non-traditional methods for glaucoma help.
The traditional (and most common) treatments for someone with glaucoma are medicated eyedrops, laser therapy and eye surgery. But there are some non-traditional natural remedies that have been shown to help as well.
Someone with glaucoma can take herbs such as Ginko Biloba, bilberry or marijuana to help with symptoms of pressure buildup. Patients can also look at making overall lifestyle and health upgrades to make glaucoma symptoms less severe.
Glaucoma is an eye disease that occurs when fluid accumulates in your eyes, causing pressure build-up. Over time, the excess pressure causes tissue damage to the optic nerve, which diminishes vision.
Glaucoma nerve damage is usually irreversible and can lead to vision loss. The only way to avoid complete vision loss is to catch glaucoma in its early stages.
Natural Ways to Lower Eye Pressure from Glaucoma
Most glaucoma treatments aim to eliminate or relieve pressure on your eyes, and natural remedies are no exception. A doctor may encourage you to try one of these pressure-lowering remedies to supplement prescribed treatment:
- Herbal medicines
- Lifestyle changes
- Diet and nutritional adjustments
- Ginkgo Biloba: This is a leaf extract containing different compounds with medicinal properties. For instance, it improves blood flow to the brain and has neuroprotective capabilities.
- Bilberry: A medicinal fruit commonly used in treating glaucoma. Bilberry has different mechanisms of action, such as anti-inflammatory effects. It also makes the walls of certain blood vessels like capillaries less fragile.
- Marijuana: Can help reduce eye pressure (intraocular pressure). Please seek medical advice before using marijuana as it can decrease blood pressure, negatively affecting damaged optic nerves.
Adopting a different lifestyle, such as regular exercising, is also suitable for treating glaucoma. Other exercises, including walking and cycling, help reduce vision loss among patients with glaucoma.
Diet and Nutrition Adjustments
A healthy diet is also crucial when combating glaucoma disease. If you have glaucoma, you need to include the following in your diet to slow down its progression:
- Fruits and Vegetables: Eat those rich in vitamin A and C, such as kales, carrots, and peaches. These reduce the risks associated with glaucoma.
- Fat intake: Some dietary fatty acids and lipids have proven capable of reducing intraocular pressure.
- Dark chocolate: although its effects are not well defined, researchers suspect it dilates blood vessels, increasing blood flow to the eye, thus improving one’s vision.
Natural Remedies for Glaucoma Prevention
While you must schedule regular eye exams if you are at high risk of developing glaucoma, there are some natural remedies you can implement to help stave off glaucoma. Chief among them are:
- Taking care of your teeth and gums
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Not smoking
Oral Health: Take Care of Your Teeth and Gums
There is a close association between glaucoma and oral infections, especially those that cause gum diseases. Inflammation-causing microbes cause gum disease, so they can cause glaucoma if they reach the optic nerve. Avoid this by brushing and flossing regularly.
Overall Health: Maintain Healthy Body Weight
Your body mass index (BMI) should be within normal ranges because a high BMI can cause increased intraocular pressure leading to glaucoma. On the other hand, a lower BMI can also lead to glaucoma.
Smoking can indirectly lead to glaucoma by causing high blood pressure and diabetes. Therefore, you can avoid glaucoma if you quit smoking.
Bright surfaces can cause exfoliation glaucoma, so shades will filter ultraviolet light from your eyes.
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Herbal Medicines in Glaucoma Treatment. (June 2020). Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine.
GLAUCOMA AND MARIJUANA: WHAT OPHTHALMOLOGISTS WANT YOU TO KNOW. (January 2019). The University of Utah.
Greater physical activity is associated with slower visual field loss in glaucoma. (October 2018). National Library of Medicine
Does smoking affect intraocular pressure? Findings from the Blue Mountains Eye Study. (June 2003). National Library of Medicine.
The Association of Fruits and Vegetables Consumption With Decreased Risk of Glaucoma. (July 2012). National Library of Medicine.
Chapter 30 – Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Glaucoma. (June 2019). Handbook of Nutrition, Diet, and the Eye, Second Edition.
Did Eating Dark Chocolate Improve Vision? (April 2018). JAMA Ophthalmology.
8 Healthy Habits That (Possibly) Prevent Glaucoma. (November 2017). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Smoking Can Lead to Vision Loss or Blindness. (December 2009). NY Department of Health.
Oral Health and POAG. (November 2016). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Obesity and Eye Diseases. (June 2009). National Library of Medicine.
Last Updated April 20, 2022
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