Glaucoma is an eye disorder in which internal eye pressure (Intraocular pressure-IOP) is very high. In this condition, eye has too much aqueous humor pressure either because of over production of fluid or of improper draining. This leads to damage of optic nerve results in Vision loss. This nerve acts like an electric cable with over a million wires. It is responsible for carrying images from the eye to the brain.
According to World Health Organization, Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness (behind cataracts).
Glaucoma, known as “silent thief of sight” as it causes no pain and shows no symptoms in early stages and quietly causes vision loss. As no symptoms occur, the best way to diagnose this form of glaucoma is by periodic eye examination. Onset of any of symptoms like blurred vision, severe eye pain, red eyes, headache, nausea and vomiting is the warning alarm for eyes.
A clear fluid flows in and out of the space at the front of the eye, nourishing nearby tissues. Glaucoma causes the fluid to pass through too slowly or to stop draining altogether. As the fluid builds up, the pressure inside the eye increases, causing damage to the optic nerve and vision loss.
Age: Glaucoma is more common among older people. People above 40 are 6 times more likely to get glaucoma.
Family History: The most common type of glaucoma, primary open angle glaucoma, is hereditary. Family history of glaucoma increases the risk of glaucoma four to nine times.
Indiscriminate use of Steroids: Studies indicate Steroids increase intraocular pressure. These could be in the form of Oral medications, Steroid Inhalers and Steroid Eye Drops used for long periods of time.
Injury to Eye: Injury to the eye may cause secondary open angle glaucoma. This type of glaucoma can occur immediately after the injury or years later.
CARE, NUTRITION AND SUPPLEMENTS:
Glaucoma is controlled and treated if detected in early stages. Early detection of Glaucoma save the patient form vision loss and eye damage. Glaucoma is control with Medicines (Oral and eye-drops) and Laser Surgery.
Other than Medicines and Surgery, following care, nutrition and supplements are required to keep eye healthy and free from eye problems:
1. Exercise: Regular physical activity can lower intra ocular pressure by a little bit.
2. Food & Diet: Carrots, Spinach, Green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, blueberries, cherries, tomatoes, whole milk, egg, lean meat and seafood should be taken to keep eye healthy and full of vision. And should limit the intake of caffeine, alcohol and smoking.
3. Nutritional Supplements: There are few supplements known to improve the clinical condition of Glaucoma.
A. Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA): Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) is very powerful antioxidant and this antioxidant property is helpful in improving eye conditions like glaucoma, cataract and diabetic retinopathy. Clinical studies shows that, regular intake of 150 mg of Alpha Lipoic acid improves visual acuity and colour perception by 45- 47% in glaucoma patients. ALA shows strong neuroprotective properties which significantly prevent ischemic optic nerve damage and improves fluid discharge.
Ref.: Filina AA, et al. Lipoic acid as a means of metabolic therapy of open-angle glaucoma. Vestn Oftalmol 1995; 111:6-8.
B. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Studies show direct association between Omega 3 fatty acid and eye health. Omega 3 fatty acid is helpful in inflammatory and intraocular pressure (IOP) conditions. It is studied that with the regular consumption of Omega 3 fatty acid leads to decrease in IOP with age by increasing the aqueous outflow in glaucoma patients. Omega 3 fatty acid helps to decrease the eye inflammation by reducing the production of inflammatory cellular signaling molecules.
Ref.: 1. Cellini M, Rossi A & Moretti M. The use of polyunsaturated fatty acids in ocular hypertension. Acta ophtalmol Scand 1999;77 (suppl. 229):54-55
2. Dietary omega 3 fatty acids decrease intraocular pressure with age by increasing aqueous outflow. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2007.