Vitamins and Herbs May Help With Glaucoma

by Darrell Miller

Posted on Sunday 1st of March 2009

Glaucoma is a group of diseases that affect the optic nerve and can lead to irreversible vision loss. It is usually associated with elevated fluid pressure within the eye. All forms of glaucoma can cause damage to the optic nerve and lead to vision loss, even blindness, if left untreated. About 2.2 million Americans have been diagnosed with glaucoma and as many as 2 million more could have it and not yet know. It is one of the lading causes of blindness and is expected to become more prevalent in years to come due to the growing population of older adults.

Those people who are at greatest risk for developing glaucoma are people over the age of sixty, people of African ancestry, and people with diabetes, high blood pressure, severe myopia, or a family history of glaucoma. Smokers also have an elevated risk, as do those who have sustained eye injuries or who have used steroids for an extended period of time.

About 3 percent of Americans are believed to have open-angle glaucoma, which is the most common form of this disease. Because this disorder causes no symptoms until it is quite advanced, only about half of those who have it are actually aware of it. In open-angle glaucoma, there is no physical blockage and the structure of the eye appear to be normal. However, the drainage of fluid is inadequate to keep the intraocular pressure at a normal level.

The most pronounced symptoms of open-angle glaucoma are the gradual loss or darkening of peripheral vision and a marked decrease in night vision or the ability of the eye to adjust to darkness. Other possible symptoms include chronic low-grade headaches, the need for frequent changes in eyeglass prescription, and/or seeing halos around electric lights.

A far less common, yet more serious, form of glaucoma is closed-angle glaucoma. Closed-angle glaucoma is much more dangerous than open-angle forms because it almost never manifests any symptoms until very late in the condition. By that time, vision may be irreversibly damaged.

Glaucoma probably has many causes, with many scientists believing it may be closely linked to stress and nutritional problems or disorders like diabetes and high blood pressure. Some think that excessive amounts of glutamic acid, which is a nonessential amino acid, may be involved. Glaucoma has also been linked to deficiency in nitric oxide, which is a molecule that is critical for healthy blood vessels. Problems with collagen, the most abundant protein in the human body, have been linked to glaucoma as well. Collagen increases the strength and elasticity of tissues in the body, especially those of the eye. Collagen and tissue abnormalities at the back of the eye contribute to the clogging of the tissues through which the intraocular fluid normally drains. This results in elevated inner eye pressure, leading to glaucoma and related vision loss.

The following nutrients are considered to be very important when dealing with and preventing glaucoma: choline, essential fatty acids, glutathione, rutin, vitamin A, vitamin B complex, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, vitamin E, alpha-lipoic acid, magnesium, a multivitamin and mineral complex, and zinc. Additionally, the following herbs are helpful: bilberry, chickweed, eyebright, coleus forskohli, fennel tea, chamomile, ginkgo biloba, zinc sulfate, jaborandi, and rose hips.

To resolve issues with the eyes, one must change their diet, exercise, and take supplements and herbs like what are listed above. Medical doctors are at a loss as to how glaucoma happens but they can help stop the progression of this disease if detected early on. Always consult your doctor before adding vitamins and herbs to your diet, vitamins and herbs are available at your local or internet health food store.

*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins and herbs are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.

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