Before exploring potential glaucoma natural remedies, it is important to understand the causes, symptoms, and long-term effects.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a term used to describe a range of eye conditions concerning fluid and pressure issues. It is the second leading cause of blindness today. There is no known single cause of glaucoma and, while more prevalent in persons over 65 years, it can affect anyone.
Glaucoma occurs when fluid is unable to drain correctly. The fluid builds up creating pressure in the eye and causing damage to the optic nerve. There are two different types of gaucoma: open-angle and angle-closure.
The most common form is open-angle glaucoma which occurs as a result of a slow build-up of fluid and subsequent pressure over a long period of time. As a result, there are few symptoms in the early stages. However, as the disease progresses you may notice narrowing of the peripheral vision or “tunnel-vision.”
Angle-closure glaucoma occurs when there is a sudden increase in fluid and pressure. This sudden increase will be accompanied by symptoms such as a headache, pain eye pain, blurred vision, or seeing halos around lights. You may experience one or more of these symptoms. Left untreated, angle-closure glaucoma can lead to permanent vision loss in a very short time, so it is important you seek medical attention immediately should these signs occur.
Any damage caused to the eye and optic nerve from glaucoma is permanent and cannot be reversed. However, there are a variety of treatment options to prevent further damage. While one or more treatment options may be recommended by your health professional, there are several additional options you may consider if you are looking to treat glaucoma naturally.
Eating a healthy diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, including dark leafy greens and yellow or orange foods will ensure you are getting sufficient nutrients to sustain optimal health, including your eyes. Fish oil has been shown to reduce eye pressure, so incorporating fresh fish into your regular diet will increase your intake of this valuable oil. Increased chromium intake has been shown to have a positive effect on glaucoma and general eye health. By including foods high in chromium – kelp, leafy greens, apples, and sesame oils – you will be benefiting not just your eyes but your general health also.
Avoid any foods which cause allergies or intolerance. These foods create inflammation in the body which will affect the release of pressure in the eyeball.
Caffeine affects blood flow throughout the body by restricting the blood vessels. Caffeine intake also increases the release of stress hormones in the body. These stress hormones result in a temporary increase in blood pressure. As glaucoma is a condition directly linked to pressure, avoiding or limiting caffeine use has shown to have a positive effect.
Several supplements have been shown to have a positive effect on overall eye health, these include:
- Vitamin C – Studies have shown a drastic decrease in eye pressure on participants taking 2,000 mg of vitamin C daily. You will need to continue on a daily basis as further studies have shown pressure will rise again should you stop supplementing.
- Magnesium – Up to 80% of the population are unaware they are suffering from magnesium deficiency. Our magnesium intake comes from the soil in which our food is grown. However, declining levels of magnesium in the soil have led to a decline of the magnesium level of the food. Adequate magnesium levels relax blood vessels which improve blood flow and circulation. Supplementation can be taken orally or topically and is recommended for a range of ailments.
- Fish Oil – As noted above, fish oil has been shown to reduce eye pressure which will limit further damage to the optic nerve. If you are unable or unwilling to incorporate fresh, oily fish into your diet on a regular basis, consideration should be given to supplementing fish oil. 1,000 mg daily of high-quality fish oil will not only help in dropping and regulating pressure within the eye, but the Omega fatty acids will also help eye tissues to remain strong and healthy.
Other Natural Remedies
While the below remedies cannot cure glaucoma, they may provide relief from any related eye strain.
- Massage – Massage can help relieve soreness and tension in the neck and shoulders. A further benefit is improved blood circulation.
- Acupressure – As with massage, acupressure will not treat or cure glaucoma, but may be suitable for providing relief from eye strain.
- Smoking – Smoking is similar to caffeine by restricting blood vessels which impacts blood flow around the body, including Vitamin C the eyes. Stopping smoking and limiting exposure to second-hand smoke will greatly improve so many aspects of your overall health.