Glaucoma

Glaucoma is characterised by abnormally high intraocular pressure (pressure within the eye) as a result of an imbalance between production and outflow of fluid in the eye.
If untreated the increased pressure can damage the optic nerve and cause impaired vision or even total blindness.

There are two types of glaucoma :
Acute or closed angle glaucoma, which is more severe but less common than chronic or open angle glaucoma.
Closed angle glaucoma can occur quite suddenly and needs to be treated immediately in a hospital. It is characterised by extreme pain, markedly blurred vision and pupils that remain mildly dilated and do not respond to light properly.
There can also be nausea and vomiting.

Open angle glaucoma is far more common and more insidious and occurs when the drainage from the eye is not completely blocked but is restricted enough to keep the intraocular pressure above normal.

There are often very few symptoms associated with mild glaucoma, but if left untreated gradually there will be a loss of peripheral vision (which results in tunnel vision), perhaps mild headaches and a decrease in the ability to see at night.
Sometimes there will also be slightly blurred vision and the appearance of halos or rainbows around lights, and then the more severe symptoms will start to develop.

There seems to be no clear cut agreement on the cause of the gradual deterioration of the drainage of the eye.
Causes that I have found listed in various texts are collagen metabolism disorders, anxiety, stress and nutritional problems, allergy or hormone disorders and a possible relationship with diabetes and high blood pressure.

Homeopathics are prescribed by symptoms rather than conditions as each person will react in a different way to a particular condition.
For example, if you had blurred vision, pain in one eye which was worse in bright light then Belladonna 30 may be for you.
However if there was double vision with dull pain then Gelsemium may be better.
There can be any number of further appropriate remedies. If wanting to use homeopathic remedies a visit to a trained homeopath could be the answer!

Verified ‘natural’ treatments are also a little scarce. However things that are known to help are:
–  Reducing or completely eliminating coffee intake.

–  Check that the thyroid is functioning normally. In some cases under- active thyroids have been known to be related to glaucoma. Blood tests are not particularly accurate, but if you are experiencing abnormal lethargy in mid to late afternoon each day and have a tendency to gain weight, it is possible that your thyroid is under-active as iodine deficiency in New Zealand is very common.
Try taking a kelp tablet each day or rubbing 2-3 drops of iodine onto your wrist daily.
See page on ‘Hypothyroid’.

–  There seems to be agreement that high doses of Vitamin C are effective in lowering intraocular pressure.
Doses need to be in the region of 3000-7000 mg daily in divided doses. I would suggest that you start at around 3-4000 mg and have your doctor check the eye pressures again in several weeks and continue to have regular checks.
Increase Vitamin C if possible (without exceeding bowel tolerance). Vitamin C will work far better if combined with bioflavonoids, so check the labels of any products you buy. Bilberry contains the bioflavonoid Rutin and is a very useful herb to use for any eye condition. There are several good products available that contain nice amounts of Vitamin C and bioflavonoids.

–  Fish oils are also thought to help reduce eye pressures, but studies are
continuing on this aspect. However any food product that is high in Vitamin A
would be beneficial. Fish oils have the added benefit in that they enhance
circulation to the eye as well as containing high levels of Vitamin A.

–  If stress is a source of concern then also be sure to take extra B vitamins, especially B12.

–  Extra minerals (especially magnesium) should always be taken, ideally as Colloidal minerals.

–  Open angle Glaucoma has been known to improve with exercise. In studies, 40 minutes walking or cycling four times weekly has been shown to decrease intraocular pressure by 20%.

–   Take note that corticosteroids will greatly worsen eye conditions such as glaucoma or cataracts, and should be avoided.

  • Oliver Wastie

    Thanks Alison for this informative and interesting article. I have also researched other complementary treatments that might help glaucoma and reflexology may be of some help. This article may be of interest to some http://www.lensprices.co.nz/reflexology-and-glaucoma

    I would also be interested to hear if anyone has had any experience with other forms of treatment.