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Natural Remedies for Glaucoma

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 05/02/2024

Glaucoma is a degenerative condition that affects the optic nerve in the eye, leading to progressive vision loss and potentially irreversible blindness if not properly managed.


Discover six natural remedies for glaucoma that may help manage symptoms, prevent vision loss, and promote eye health.

Man rubbing strained eyes

What is glaucoma?


Glaucoma is a progressive eye disease that develops gradually as damage to the optic nerve accumulates over time.


The optic nerve is responsible for transmitting visual information from the eye to the brain. As nerve damage worsens, it can lead to significant vision loss and, eventually, blindness.  


The most common type of glaucoma is primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), which develops slowly and often has no noticeable early warning signs. This explains why glaucoma is generally referred to as the silent thief of sight.


Other types include acute angle-closure glaucoma, normal-tension glaucoma, and secondary glaucoma. 


Watch this video to learn how to improve glaucoma naturally.

How To Improve Glaucoma?

Causes and risk factors


The primary cause of glaucoma is increased pressure within the eye, known as intraocular pressure, which can cause reduced ocular blood flow to the optic nerve.


Several conditions can contribute to the development of glaucoma, and understanding what they are is crucial for the early detection and prevention of this eye disease.


Here are eight risk factors linked to an increased risk of glaucoma. 


1. Age

The risk of glaucoma increases with age, especially in individuals over the age of 60.


2. Family history

Individuals with a family history of glaucoma have a higher risk of developing this condition, particularly if immediate relatives such as parents or siblings are affected. 


3. Ethnic background

People of African, Asian, and Hispanic descent exhibit a greater prevalence of glaucoma in comparison to individuals of European ancestry.


4. Underlying medical conditions

Certain health issues, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, can affect ocular blood circulation, increasing the risk of developing glaucoma.


5. Chronic stress

According to a review published in Klinische Monatsblätter für Augenheilkunde, chronic stress is not only a potential consequence of glaucoma but also a risk factor for its development.


Researchers concluded that stress can contribute to glaucoma progression by triggering degenerative changes and increasing intraocular pressure in the eye.


6. Smoking 

Various toxic substances in cigarette smoke can cause oxidative stress and vascular damage, which can impair blood flow to the eye and increase the risk of developing glaucoma.


7. Eye injuries

Trauma to the eye, such as punctures or bruising to the eye area, can lead to immediate glaucoma or increase the risk of secondary glaucoma in later life. 


8. Other eye conditions

Eye conditions such as thin corneas, optic nerve sensitivity, or vascular issues that affect blood flow to the eye also contribute to the risk of glaucoma.

Blurry vision with glaucoma

Signs of glaucoma


Glaucoma can progress unnoticed for many years, and regular eye exams are crucial for early detection, especially if you are at increased risk of glaucoma. 


Here are common symptoms of glaucoma in more advanced stages: 

  • Gradual loss of peripheral vision

  • Tunnel vision

  • Halo-like appearances around lights

  • Eye pain or redness

  • Sudden blurred vision or blind spots


Certain types of glaucoma can present more abrupt symptoms and may require immediate medical attention. 


According to an article published by the Glaucoma Research Foundation, "Angle-closure glaucoma, although less common, is a medical emergency, and its symptoms include eye pain, nausea, and blurry vision."

Man getting an eye exam

How is glaucoma diagnosed?


Glaucoma is diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam. This typically involves a variety of tests, including optical coherence tomography, pachymetry gonioscopy, an optic nerve assessment, and a visual field test.


These tests evaluate several glaucoma risk indicators, such as intraocular pressure, the drainage angle of the eye, optic nerve damage, peripheral vision, vision loss, and the thickness of the cornea.



Can glaucoma be stopped, reversed, or prevented?


Unfortunately, there are no conventional glaucoma treatments that can cure this eye disease and restore lost vision.


The primary goal of conventional methods is to treat glaucoma symptoms by lowering intraocular pressure, which can help preserve vision and slow disease progression.

turmeric and omega-3 vitamin capsules

6 potential natural remedies for glaucoma


There are several nutrients, dietary strategies, and lifestyle changes that promote eye health and may help manage glaucoma symptoms.


Here are six potential natural remedies for glaucoma. 


1. Carbamide

Carbamide, also known as urea, is a naturally occurring compound that has shown promise in supporting eye health, particularly in relation to glaucoma.


This compound is highly permeable to tissue cells and effective in equalizing pressure and fluid retention in the eyes.


"Carbamide is especially beneficial when combined with essential nutrients for eye health, such as vitamins A and C. This combination may help provide targeted support for individuals concerned about glaucoma and overall eye health," says Dr. Berg.


2. Ginkgo biloba

The leaves of the ancient Ginkgo biloba tree species have been used as a powerful herbal remedy to promote eye health for thousands of years. 


Evidence published in Antioxidants underscores its powerful healing properties and potential applications for glaucoma.


The researchers found that Ginkgo biloba extract appears to increase ocular blood flow, improve visual fields, and help protect against retinal ganglion cell damage, which is linked to vision loss and glaucoma. 


3. Turmeric

The primary active compound in turmeric, curcumin, has been shown to possess potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and neuroprotective properties.


A review published in Planta Medica highlights the therapeutic potential of curcumin in glaucoma management by helping to protect retinal ganglion cells from damage and reduce oxidative stress in the eye. 

Healthy couple preparing healthy food

4. Consuming a nutritious diet

Maintaining balanced nutrition can help support healthy vision and protect against the degenerative effects of glaucoma.


Consuming antioxidant-rich foods such as leafy greens and berries may help protect retinal ganglion cells by reducing oxidative stress.


Research published in Nutrients revealed a significant association between dietary intake of antioxidant nutrients such as vitamins A and C and a reduced risk of developing POAG.


Additionally, the article highlights that obtaining these vitamins directly through foods such as liver, eggs, butter, cheese, peppers, carrots, and strawberries showed better results compared to taking supplements. 


Moreover, reducing sugar intake can help prevent inflammation that can worsen glaucoma progression. 


The average American adult consumes around 17 teaspoons of added sugar daily. This is nearly three times the amount recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA).


As Dr. Berg explains, "High levels of sugar in the blood can lead to the accumulation of sorbitol in the lens of the eye. This causes inflammation, and reducing sugar intake is crucial to help prevent eye damage and glaucoma symptoms."

Woman taking a relaxing break

5. Stress management

Extended exposure to the stress hormone cortisol can severely affect eye health, posing a substantial risk for developing various degenerative conditions, including glaucoma.


This underscores the importance of integrating stress management techniques such as deep breathing, stretching exercises, and ocular relaxation exercises.


By mitigating the body's stress response, these practices can potentially reduce intraocular pressure and support eye health while providing broad benefits that can enhance general well-being and longevity.


6. Regular exercise 

According to research published in the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, regularly engaging in moderate aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, biking, swimming, or stretching, can help naturally lower intraocular pressure and improve ocular blood flow.


It's important to note that while these natural remedies may offer some benefits, they shouldn’t replace glaucoma treatment prescribed by an eye care professional without prior approval. 


Glaucoma patients should consult their eye care provider before trying new treatments or any dietary supplements.

Women taking omega-3 supplements

Glaucoma prevention


Maintaining overall health and well-being is one of the best ways to lower the risk of glaucoma and slow its progression.


Correcting nutritional deficiencies can play a critical role in preventing and mediating the effects of glaucoma.


Research published in Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science found that individuals with POAG had significantly lower plasma levels of vitamin B3 compared to those with no vision issues. 


The authors suggest that vitamin B3 deficiency could contribute to impaired energy production in the eyes and highlight the potential role of vitamin B3 supplementation as a therapeutic strategy for glaucoma management.


Similarly, increasing omega-3 fatty acid intake through fish oil supplementation can support healthy vision and may be an effective preventative measure. 


Evidence published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research states, "Intriguingly, glaucoma patients have lower omega-3 fatty acid blood levels, especially docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Dietary omega-3 supplementation in patients may normalize levels of fatty acid and, thereby, enhance their effects."


Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA, are critical for visual development and retinal function. Both EPA and DHA also exhibit anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties that may help protect against glaucoma by reducing intraocular pressure and enhancing ocular blood flow.


In addition, vitamins A, B1, B6, B9, B12, C, and D, along with minerals like calcium, magnesium, and zinc, are crucial for preserving eye health and potentially preventing the onset of glaucoma.

Healthy eyes young women happy

Key takeaways


Glaucoma is a progressive eye disease caused by optic nerve damage that can lead to vision loss and blindness. 


Various natural remedies for glaucoma can help manage symptoms and slow down vision loss, which include certain dietary supplements and herbal remedies, such as Ginkgo biloba and turmeric.


In addition, maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and addressing underlying health conditions can also help prevent or slow glaucoma progression.



FAQ


1. What is the best vitamin to take for glaucoma?

While no single nutrient can prevent or cure glaucoma, several nutrients can help mediate glaucoma symptoms and slow the progression of this eye disease.   


These include B vitamins, vitamins A, C, and D, omega-3 fatty acids, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and zinc. 


2. How do you stop glaucoma from progressing?

Early detection with regular eye examinations and proper management can help slow down or prevent further vision loss. 


Natural prevention techniques include herbal medicines, a nutritious diet, stress management, and regular exercise.


3. Is there an alternative to eye drops for glaucoma?

Increasing the intake of vitamin A and consuming plenty of vitamin C-rich foods can help improve dry eyes and may relieve intraocular pressure, which is typically managed with eye drops. 


4. What should you not eat or drink if you have glaucoma?

Limiting sugar intake can help significantly decrease inflammation and vascular damage that can exacerbate the severity and progression of glaucoma.


Additionally, it’s recommended to avoid alcoholic drinks and limit caffeinated beverages as these can negatively affect intraocular pressure. 


5. What are the best natural remedies for glaucoma?

Some of the best natural remedies for glaucoma include Ginkgo biloba extract, turmeric, and carbamide in combination with a nutritious diet rich in vitamins A, C, and D, B vitamins, and essential minerals, including magnesium, zinc, and calcium.


In addition, regular exercise and stress management techniques can promote healthy eyes and improve glaucoma symptoms. 



Sources


  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33578436/ 

  2. https://glaucoma.org/understanding-glaucoma 

  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7690615/ 

  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24323538/ 

  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5872777/ 

  6. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart

  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9940524/ 

  8. https://iovs.arvojournals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2736058 

  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37029593/ 

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