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Glaucoma

Glaucoma

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a term describing three eye conditions that affect the cells comprising the optic nerve, located at the back of the eye. The optic nerve is responsible for conveying signals, received from the eye, in order for the brain to create an image. In most cases, glaucoma is diagnosed later in one's life. When patients develop glaucoma, their peripheral vision - that is the exterior edges of the vision field - begins to blur. If it is not treated in time, it can lead to severe or complete vision loss. There are three different types of glaucoma:

  • Open-angle glaucoma (chronic)
  • Closed-angle glaucoma (acute)
  • Congenital glaucoma

Glaucoma is most common in those over the age of 60, so it is expected that the number of older adults diagnosed with this condition will continue to rise as baby boomers reach beyond their 60th birthdays. Fortunately, diet, lifestyle, and all-natural treatment options are proving to be effective at preventing or slowing down the disease's progression. Routine eye exams can ensure it is caught early, before irreversible damage ensues.

Causes and Symptoms of Glaucoma

In most cases, glaucoma is caused by increased pressure by the aqueous humor, which is constantly circulating in and out of the eye. This gelatinous liquid supplies nutrients, as well as maintains balanced pressure to preserve the eyeball's round shape. Sometimes, the eye's ability to drain the liquid is compromised and a build-up in pressure begins to damage optic nerve cells. However, up to 50% of glaucoma patients do not experience increased pressure, and many people with increased pressure never suffer from glaucoma, which creates a bit of a mystery for modern medical science.

Common risk factors associated with glaucoma, include:

  • Age - The risks increase after age 40, with most diagnoses occurring after age 60
  • Race - African-Americans are the most at risk
  • Genetic predisposition/family history
  • Diabetes
  • Eye injury
  • Medications - Certain medications, such as corticosteroids, can lead to glaucoma

Symptoms

The symptoms depend on the type glaucoma:

Open-angle (OAG):
- Peripheral vision loss is the most common symptom of OAG. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to detect until considerable vision loss has occurred. It is easily noticed during a professional vision exam.

Closed-angle (CAG):
- There are more symptoms associated with this form such as: sudden blurring, severe pain around the eye, halos surrounding lights, chronic redness round the eye, nausea and vomiting

Congenital/infantile glaucoma:
- These are evident within the first few years of birth and include watery eyes, light sensitivity, and/or cloudiness in the eyes.

What are the Treatments for Glaucoma?

Nutrition: Recent research draws a distinct correlation between vision loss and a deficiency in Vitamins A and C, Thiamine, Vitamin B12, Chromium, and carotenoid pigments called lutein and zeaxanthin, among others. Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, covering the rainbow spectrum, is important. Egg yolks, nuts, lean poultry and fish, and whole grains are also important food sources. Supplements should only be used under supervision by your doctor to ensure you don't overdose, which can cause toxic side effects.

Exercise: Physical exercise has been shown to reduce interior optic pressure by as much as 20% in those who exercise at least four times per week for 40 minutes. Yoga and body-based practices, which utilize head inversions and postures, should be put on hold until you discuss them with your doctor as inversions can exacerbate internal optical pressure.

Bilberry: Some homeopathic remedies include the use of Bilberry extracts as a natural means for strengthening the capillary walls of the eyes, preventing common eye problems. Work with a holistic physician who can recommend the best formula for your medical condition to prevent overdose or misuse.


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