A Silent Thief of Sight: Are You at Danger?


Glaucoma is the second main explanation for blindness on this planet. Worldwide, an estimated 80 million individuals are affected, and prevalence is rising.1 Glaucoma develops when excessive stress in your eye (ocular hypertension2) damages the optic nerve. Peripheral imaginative and prescient is impacted first, adopted by central imaginative and prescient.

Ocular hypertension happens when the entrance of your eye fails to empty fluid correctly, thereby inflicting stress to construct and put stress on the optic nerve. Components that elevate your danger for ocular hypertension embody:

Household historical past of ocular hypertension or glaucoma

Diabetics and people with hypertension

Folks over 40

Blacks and Hispanics

Myopia (nearsightedness)

Lengthy-term steroid use

Earlier eye accidents or eye surgical procedures

These with pigment dispersion syndrome or pseudoexfoliation syndrome

The one recognized technique to forestall and/or cease the development of glaucoma is to decrease the stress within the eye. Remedy choices embody medication, lasers, laceration surgical procedure, oral drugs, dietary dietary supplements, herbs and different plant treatments, a number of of which I’ll assessment under.

Remember that lack of imaginative and prescient is often the primary and solely symptom of glaucoma, so it’s vital to get an intensive eye examination by an ophthalmologist to find out in case your ocular stress is elevated, which may make you a candidate for glaucoma. As soon as imaginative and prescient loss happens, the harm to your optic nerve is irreversible.

The Ocular Hypertension Remedy Examine (OHTS)

Being recognized with ocular hypertension doesn’t imply you’re destined to develop glaucoma, but it surely does considerably elevate your danger, because it’s the first underlying trigger. The Ocular Hypertension Remedy Examine (OHTS), which started in 1994, has additionally recognized different danger elements that may assist decide your danger for glaucoma. As reported by Harvard Well being:3

“The researchers enrolled a various group of 1,636 contributors with ocular hypertension from 22 websites throughout the US. To review glaucoma prevention, contributors had been randomly assigned to begin both early eye pressure-lowering eye drops (remedy group) or shut statement (management group).

At 5 years the information confirmed that 4.4% of contributors developed glaucoma within the remedy group, in comparison with 9.5% within the management group. This tells us that early use of medicated eye drops helps delay over 50% of glaucoma circumstances in folks with ocular hypertension.

Throughout later phases of the examine, the management group may obtain eye pressure-lowering drugs to see whether or not beginning remedy later may nonetheless delay glaucoma; it did.

At 20 years, about 49% of these within the management group and 42% of these within the remedy group developed glaucoma. Nonetheless, because the examine was now not randomized, the researchers had been unable to check the 20-year danger discount between the preliminary beginning teams …

Glaucoma danger, it turned out, didn’t rely solely on eye stress and race, however on a mixture of examination findings. This info helps information clinicians in figuring out whether or not an individual with ocular hypertension is at a low, medium, or greater danger for growing glaucoma. Having such info may assist folks determine when to start utilizing medicated eye drops to forestall imaginative and prescient loss or gradual its progress.”

Other than excessive eye stress, different elements that affect a person’s danger for growing glaucoma had been discovered to incorporate:

  • Older age
  • Thinner corneas
  • Bigger optic nerve cup sizes
  • Low preliminary peripheral imaginative and prescient take a look at scores

Remedy Alternate options

If you happen to’re recognized with ocular hypertension, notably in case you additionally produce other danger elements listed above, your ophthalmologist might prescribe eye pressure-lowering eye drops, oral remedy and/or selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT).4

SLT is a five-minute process carried out at your ophthalmologist’s workplace, the place a low-energy laser is pulsed into particular cells in your eye. Your physique’s pure therapeutic response then does the remainder by rebuilding these cells. The rebuilding course of routinely reduces the intraocular stress and improves drainage.

Research have additionally proven that sure natural treatments, plant extracts5 and dietary dietary supplements might be useful, though most typical docs know little or no, if something, about these merchandise.

Melatonin Lowers Intraocular Stress

Melatonin, for instance, has been proven to decrease intraocular stress in sufferers with glaucoma. Topics who took 2 mg of melatonin day by day at 10:30 p.m. for 90 days, skilled a number of advantages, together with:6

  • Elevated stability of systemic circadian rhythm through improved part alignment and alignment with intraocular stress
  • Decreased intraocular stress
  • Improved operate of retinal ganglion cells in these with superior glaucoma
  • Enhancements to sleep and temper, notably in these with superior glaucoma

Apparently, these researchers7 recommended that glaucoma might, in reality, be a sort of neurodegenerative illness, and harm to retinal ganglion cells impacts not solely imaginative and prescient but additionally circadian rhythms and sleep, which melatonin helps regulate.

Its helpful results on the eyes can maybe be defined finest by the truth that melatonin receptors exist in a number of areas of your eyes, together with the retina, lens and cornea.8 This hints at melatonin’s significance for regulating eye processes, notably when stress homeostasis is concerned. As defined in a March 2020 paper revealed in Progress in Retinal and Eye Analysis:9

“Glaucoma, essentially the most prevalent eye illness, also called the silent thief of imaginative and prescient, is a multifactorial pathology that’s related to age and, usually, to intraocular hypertension (IOP). Certainly IOP is the one modifiable danger issue …

Melatonin and analogues lower IOP in each normotensive and hypertensive eyes. Melatonin prompts its cognate membrane receptors, MT1 and MT2, that are current in quite a few ocular tissues, together with the aqueous-humor-producing ciliary processes.

Melatonin receptors belong to the superfamily of G-protein-coupled receptors and their activation would result in completely different signaling pathways relying on the tissue … The present work highlights the vital function of melatonin and its analogues within the wholesome and within the glaucomatous eyes, with particular consideration to the management of intraocular stress.”

Personally, I query the timing of the melatonin within the above examine at 10:30 p.m. In my opinion that’s removed from a perfect time to sleep and about two hours later than I personally do. The opposite concern of concern is that it’s unclear if these authors had been conscious that the best manufacturing of melatonin isn’t the pineal, however the mitochondria, when uncovered to infrared mild.

It could be attention-grabbing to check the outcomes of their 2 mg 10:30 p.m. protocol versus one hour of sunshine round photo voltaic midday in a heat local weather.

Melatonin’s Results Have Been Recognized for Many years

The impact of melatonin on intraocular stress has been recognized for many years, but most typical docs are nonetheless groping in the dead of night. In 1988, researchers with Oregon Well being Sciences College uncovered topics to shiny mild to suppress serum melatonin ranges, after which supplemented with melatonin to gauge its impact on intraocular stress.10 A major connection was discovered:11

“Our knowledge means that in the course of the interval of melatonin’s best ranges within the serum, IOP is lowest. All topics had most pressures kind 4 p.m. to six p.m. and most topics had minimums from 2 a.m. to five a.m.

In experiment one, shiny mild suppression of melatonin secretion attenuated the early morning fall IOP. This was statistically vital at suggesting that melatonin is concerned in decreasing early morning IOP.

In experiment one, there was solely partial suppression of melatonin manufacturing with shiny mild and consequently there was no vital distinction in IOP between topics uncovered to dim mild and shiny mild.

Nonetheless, administering 200 micrograms (one-fifth of 1 mg) of melatonin orally prompted a big lower in IOP. Intraocular stress remained low for about 4 hours after the final dose.”

Lutein Protects Towards Glaucoma and Different Eye Illnesses

Lutein is one other nutrient that’s actually vital for eye well being and helps to guard towards age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma and different eye illnesses.

Lutein concentrates in your macula, which is the a part of your retina chargeable for central imaginative and prescient. Together with zeaxanthin and mesa-zeaxanthin (a metabolite of lutein), these three carotenoids kind the retinal macular pigment, which not solely is chargeable for optimizing your visible efficiency but additionally serves as a biomarker for the chance of macular illnesses.12

Lutein can also be discovered within the lens, the place it helps shield towards cataracts and different age-related eye illnesses. Amongst carotenoids, lutein is essentially the most environment friendly at filtering out blue mild — the kind that comes from cellphones, computer systems, tablets and LED lights. Blue mild induces oxidative stress in your eyes, which will increase the chance of cataracts and macular illnesses. Lutein, nevertheless, acts as a defend towards it.

Your physique can’t make lutein, so you will need to get it out of your weight-reduction plan. Following are 10 meals which can be notably wealthy sources of lutein.

Darkish leafy greens



Egg yolks

Pink and yellow peppers

Candy corn





Lutein and different carotenoids are fat-soluble, so to optimize absorption you should definitely eat it together with a supply of wholesome fats, corresponding to coconut oil or grass-fed butter. As a result of natural, pastured egg yolks include fats, they’re among the many healthiest sources of lutein.

Different Useful Treatments

Sure herbs, plant extracts and nutritional vitamins have additionally proven promise within the remedy of glaucoma, together with:13

Ginkgo biloba — A 2013 examine14 highlighted the advantages of ginkgo biloba, discovering it slowed the development of glaucoma. Forty-two sufferers with regular stress glaucoma obtained 80 mg of ginkgo biloba extract twice a day and underwent 5 or extra visible area exams over the course of no less than 4 years.

Imply follow-up was 12.3 years. Whereas intraocular pressures remained largely the identical after remedy, the visible area index considerably improved, particularly central area imaginative and prescient.

Chinese language skullcap — A 2021 examine15 concluded that baicalein, a flavone present in skullcap root, successfully improved signs of glaucoma and diminished retinal ganglion cell apoptosis.

Bilberry — In animal analysis,16 bilberry extract was proven to forestall the dying of retinal ganglion cells in mice whose optic nerves had been crushed. The dosages given had been 100 mg per kilo of body weight per day and 500 mg/kg/day.

Inexperienced tea — A 2019 animal examine discovered inexperienced tea extract helped shield retinal ganglion cells throughout ischemic situations (i.e., when blood movement is restricted). As such, inexperienced tea extract could also be a viable therapeutic strategy for glaucoma and optic neuropathies.

A newer report,17 revealed in 2022, proposed that reasonable consumption of inexperienced tea or 400 mg of concentrated inexperienced tea extract per day may profit people with elevated intraocular stress and people in danger for glaucoma.

Curcumin — In response to animal analysis18 revealed in 2014, curcumin, a polyphenol discovered within the spice turmeric, might help deal with glaucoma by limiting oxidative harm within the eye and decreasing intraocular stress.

Vitamin B3 (nicotinamide) — Analysis19 revealed in 2020 reported that glaucoma sufferers who took oral vitamin B3 skilled vital enchancment in retinal operate. Sufferers within the remedy group obtained 1.5 grams of nicotinamide per day for six weeks, adopted by 3 grams a day for an additional six weeks.



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