Glaucoma

Published: October 4, 2012
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Glaucoma is the presence of increased pressure in the eyeball. The fluid that makes up the inside of the eye (called the vitreous humor) circulates into and out of the eye. When the flow out of the eye is slowed, pressure inside the eye rises. Holistic physicians suspect the backup of fluid in the eye may be caused by lack of integrity of the collagen in the eye tissues.

Unaddressed glaucoma can put pressure on and damage the optic nerve, causing visual field loss which can progress to blindness. One person may develop nerve damage at a relatively low pressure, while another person may have high eye pressure for years and yet never develop damage.

Chronic glaucoma has been nicknamed the "sneak thief of sight" because the loss of visual field often occurs gradually over a long time with no other symptoms, and may only be recognized when it is already quite advanced.

When acute glaucoma occurs, however, one often has severe throbbing pain in one eye and blurred vision, the pupil not getting smaller when you shine a light on it, and sometimes nausea and even vomiting. This uncommon form of glaucoma is a medical emergency, and must be addressed surgically immediately (preferably within 12 hours) to prevent blindness — so get to the eye doctor or emergency room immediately if this occurs.

Paradoxically, while synthetic adrenal steroids like prednisone (especially in high dose) can cause glaucoma, natural adrenal support may help lower the eye pressure.

Eye pressure is easily checked at your local eye specialist (including opticians) by simply blowing a puff of air on the eye, and should be checked each 2 years during regular eye exams.

Therapy

For chronic glaucoma:

  • Take vitamin C powder (preferably buffered, such as Perque or powdered Ester-C vitamin C ) at a dose of 7,000-35,000 mg a day (divided through the day — less if uncomfortable diarrhea). A dose of about 250 mg per pound of body weight has ben shown to decrease eye pressure an average of 16 mm.
  • Take mixed bioflavonoids 500-1,000 mg a day.
  • Take magnesium 200 mg a day.
  • Take chromium 100-250 mcg a day.
  • Take bilberry (25% extract) 80 mg 3x day.
  • Exercise.
  • Take fish oil, or eat 3-4 servings of salmon or tuna a week.
  • Avoid caffeine.

The bioflavonoids, magnesium, chromium, and 750 mg of the vitamin C from the above list can all be found in a good multivitamin powder.

If you have symptoms of inadequate adrenal function (see "Adrenal Exhaustion") such as low blood pressures and irritability when hungry (low blood sugar), consider a trial of an herbal supplement that supports adrenal function for adrenal support as well as addressing low thyroid if present.

Recheck eye pressures after 6-12 weeks of therapy.

Your eye doctor has a host of reasonable medications that can lower pressure as well, and using these can also help protect your vision.

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of four research studies on their treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome From Fatigued to Fantastic! and his newer The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution.  Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health. 

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