Glaucoma is an imbalance between the production and outflow of fluid in the eye. The increased pressure can lead to a loss of peripheral vision, also known as “tunnel vision,” that can make daily life difficult. If left unchecked, glaucoma can cause blindness.
Nearly 3 million Americans are affected by glaucoma. The only available treatment for glaucoma is prescription eye drops, which lower intraocular pressure (IOP), which means pressure inside the eye. These drops must be used twice daily for the rest of the patient’s life and are known to cause considerable local and systemic side effects. Laser treatment and surgery can also slow progression, but even so, glaucoma is largely considered incurable.
Fortunately, there are other natural treatments for glaucoma can that normalize eye pressure and slow disease progression.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Recent research on omega-3s has shown how important this nutrient is for normalization of eye pressure and general eye health.
In one study—an Australian review of placebo-controlled clinical trials testing the effects of omega-3 supplements on eye pressures—researchers concluded that taking fish oil supplements (1,000 mg EPA/500 mg DHA) for three months significantly lowered intraocular pressures.
The researchers concluded, “These findings justify further investigation into the therapeutic potential of omega-3 supplementation for reducing IOP, to prevent and/or treat conditions with IOP elevation, including ocular hypertension and glaucoma.
In another study, UCLA researchers evaluated data on 3,865 participants in the government-sponsored NHANES study. They discovered that individuals with a high dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids were considerably less likely to have glaucoma, while those who ate a lot of omega-6s had a three-fold greater risk.
Additional research confirms that too many polyunsaturated fatty acids—in the form of omega-6s—can increase inflammatory status and raise the risk of glaucoma. The problem with the standard American diet is it tends to have an overabundance of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids (thanks to the ubiquitous nature of these fatty acids in vegetable oils like soy and corn oil, margarine, and pretty much all processed foods). At the same time, the modern Western diet is marked by insufficient intake of omega-3s, found in fatty fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel), walnuts, and flaxseed.
The take-home message, especially if you have a family history of glaucoma: Eat more fatty fish and other omega-3-rich foods, fewer omega-6s, and take fish oil supplements.
Mirtogenol™ is a supplement that includes two highly researched herbal ingredients: Mirtoselect® bilberry extract and Pycnogenol® French maritime pine bark extract.
Mirtogenol has been studied in several clinical trials for treatment of glaucoma as it has been shown to improve microcirculation in the retina and decrease intraocular pressure.
A recent study followed 88 participants for 12 weeks. They were divided into three groups and received treatment with either Mirtogenol plus dorzolamide-timolol drops (a conventional glaucoma treatment that reduces eye pressure), Mirtogenol plus latanoprost drops (another treatment for glaucoma that reduces pressure by increasing the flow of natural fluids out of the eye), or latanoprost drops alone.
The results showed that all three groups had comparable benefits, all showing statistically significant improvements—with the Mirtogenol plus latanoprost group having slightly better results.
The researchers wrote, “Supplementation with Mirtogenol, in addition to local ophthalmic treatments, is safe and may contribute as a supplementary management to reach a normal IOP and ocular microcirculatory parameters.”
Finally, some studies reveal that vitamin C can help lower eye pressure. Oral dosages needed to achieve this benefit, though, can be very high, which can result in gastrointestinal side effects like diarrhea. This is why intravenous vitamin C (IVC) might be a better idea.
IVC is one of my favorite therapies of all time and has a decades-long track record of safe and successful clinical use. In addition to being a natural treatment for glaucoma, it can also be used for fighting off various infectious diseases and bolstering the immune system.