Glaucoma affects more than two million Americans and is the second leading cause of blindness in this country. This can be a very serious disease that must be given medical care as soon as possible if permanent vision loss is to be avoided. In a healthy eye, fluid is produced and drained at equal rates. If the fluid cannot drain properly, it builds up and puts pressure on the optic nerve, the retina, and the lens. This pressure can partially damage or even completely destroy the retina and the optic nerve.
If the outflow channels are open and become blocked with debris, the disorder is called open-angle glaucoma. Chronic open-angle glaucoma is the most common form and usually occurs over the years. Fluid drains too slowly from the anterior chamber of the eye and pressure builds up. At first, increased pressure in the eyes produces no symptoms. As the disease progresses, symptoms may include narrowing peripheral vision, mild headaches, and vague visual disturbances, such as seeing halos around electric lights or having difficulty adapting to darkness. At some point, tunnel vision-where the visual field narrows and makes it hard to see anything on either side when looking forward-may develop.
If the channels are blocked by the iris, the disorder is called closed-angle glaucoma. Fluid pressure increases quickly and causes intense pain in one eye, along with headaches and vision problems, including blurring or a "halo effect" around lights. The eyeball feels hard to the touch, and the pain may be so severe that it causes nausea and even vomiting. The eyelid swells, and the eye becomes red and watery. These symptoms are warning signs that you must receive medical care immediately. Permanent vision loss and even total blindness can settle in after just a few days. Fortunately, acute glaucoma is rather rare and accounts for only 10 percent of all glaucoma cases. Certain medications, long periods spent in darkness, and stress are all potential triggers for an attack.
Since the disease targets older people most frequently, anyone over sixty-five should make glaucoma tests part of their annual eye exam. African Americans, who have a much higher incidence of glaucoma than the rest of the population does, should start getting annual tests after the age of forty, as should anyone with diabetes. If at any age you experience a loss of peripheral vision, constant low-level headaches, eye pain, or blurred vision that is not corrected with one new lens prescription, see a doctor at once. If you test positive for glaucoma, you may not be able to recover the damage that's already been down, but there's a good chance that you can significantly slow the progress of the disease.
There does not seem to be one single cause of glaucoma. Most likely, a variety of factors come into play. A good strategy for prevention, as well as treatment in conjunction with a doctor's care, incorporates reducing the general number of toxins in the body, eating foods that support the eye, correcting nutritional deficiencies associated with glaucoma, enhancing digestion, avoiding medications that predispose one to glaucoma, and reducing stress.
** All of these prescriptions below have been proven effective; the level of effectiveness depends on the individual. Please consult your doctor when taking any and all supplements.
The top 7 vitamins and supplements have shown to help Glaucoma:
Prescription for Natural
Cures by James F. Balch, M.D. and Mark Stengler, N.M.D.
|Super Prescription #1 Magnesium - LifeSource Product Take 200 mg twice daily. Magnesium relaxes the blood vessel walls and improves blood flow to the eye.
|Super Prescription # 2 Vitamin C - LifeSource Products - See All of our Vitamin C Products. Take 1,000 mg two to four times daily. Studies show that vitamin C supplementation reduces eye pressure.
|Super Prescription #3 Omega 3, 6 9 - LifeSource Products - See All of our Omega 3 – Fish Oil Products. Take a formula containing a daily does of EPA and DHA. Animal studies using this supplement show a significant drop in intraocular pressure.
|Super Prescription #4 Alpha Lipoic Acid - LifeSource Products
Take 250 mg daily. This antioxidant has been shown to improve vision for some people with this disease.
|Super Prescription #5 Bilberry (Vaccimium myrtillus) - LifeSource Product Take 160 mg twice daily of a 25 percent anthocyanosides extract. Bilberry improves blood flow and contains flavonoids that support eye structure and function.
|Super Prescription # 6 Ginkgo Biloba - LifeSource Products Take 60 / 270 mg three times daily of a 24 percent flavone glycoside extract. Ginkgo has been shown to be helpful for glaucoma. It improves blood flow and contains flavonoids that support eye structure and function.
|Super Prescription #7 Chromium Picolinate – LifeSource Products Take 250 to 500 mcg twice daily. It is particularly important for people with diabetes to supplement for blood-sugar balance and the prevention of glaucoma.
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Vitamins Eye/Macular/Cataracts Products, Articles, and Studies: Click
- Narrowing peripheral vision
- Mild headaches
- Vague visual disturbances
- Tunnel vision
Symptoms of Closed-Angle Glaucoma
Chronic glaucoma is usually asymptomatic until irreversible damage has already been done. Sings that chronic glaucoma has already progressed include the following:
- Intense pain in one eye, with vision problems
- Nausea and vomiting
- Swollen eyelid
- Red, watery eye
- Vision loss
- Accumulation of wastes and metabolic slowdown related to aging
- High blood pressure
- Some prescription drugs, including corticosteroids, antidepressants, and blood pressure medication
- Certain illness, such as other eye disorders (especially macular degeneration) and diabetes
- Nutritional deficiency
If you have glaucoma of either kind, you must be under a doctor's care. The therapies listed here will complement and support your conventional treatment. Natural therapies work very well for chronic and open-angle glaucoma.
Eat a basic, wholesome diet based on whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables.
Carotenoids are essential for optimum eye health. Consume plenty of orange, yellow, and green leafy vegetables. It is also highly recommended that you drink live juice made from these and other fruits and vegetables several times a day.
The bioflavonoid anthocyanidin fights free radicals and helps keep the collagen around the eye healthy and flexible. Blueberries and cherries are excellent sources.
Drink a glass of clean water every two waking hours to flush toxins and to keep the eye tissues supple. Spread your consumption of water and other liquids out across the day, so that you do not build up pressure in your eye.
Some studies have shown fish oils to lower eye pressure. Incorporate fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and cod into your meals two or three times a week.
Chromium and magnesium both have essential effects on glaucoma. Brewer's yeast is the best source of chromium; kelp, leafy greens, apples, and safflower and sesame oils will provide you with magnesium.
Foods to Avoid
Fluid retention in the eye may be a response to food allergies. Determine whether a food is contributing to your problem. If you find that consumption of a certain food makes your eyes red, irritated, painful, or tender, you must avoid that product from now on.
Caffeine has been shown to reduce blood flow to the eye, so avoid coffee, chocolate, and caffeinated teas and sodas.
A toxic liver may be related to eye problems. Avoid alcohol, which puts a terrible burden on this essential organ.
- Avoid eyestrain from reading or working at computer terminals for long periods. Take frequent breaks and look away from the screen or your reading material often.
- Don't watch television in the dark. Prolonged periods of darkness with the pupils dilated can bring on acute glaucoma.
- Tobacco smoke reduces blood flow to the retina, so don't smoke. You must also avoid smoky rooms, bars, and restaurants.
- Mild to moderate aerobic exercise can reduce eye pressure, so find an activity you enjoy and make it a daily habit.
- Wear sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays; both kinds of light create free radicals that have been linked to glaucoma.