A Comprehensive Guide to Home Remedies for Glaucoma07 April 2023
- Glaucoma is a severe eye disease that may result in permanent vision loss if left unattended over the long term. To make matters worse, this issue is frequently exacerbated by the absence of early warning signs.
- Medical cannabis is a generic term used to describe all kinds of cannabis-oriented medication employed to treat the symptoms of various diseases.
- Researchers are currently looking into whether the active components present in medical cannabis hold the potential to treat glaucoma. Should the effects of the medical cannabis compounds be properly isolated and engineered to be long-acting with all undesirable side effects eradicated, this may open up many treatment solutions.
- The problem is that studies and drug development for such solutions necessitate additional years of research before any efforts begin to bear fruit.
- In summary, patients are all highly recommended to consult their ophthalmologist as part of figuring out the specific forms of glaucoma treatment that would benefit them the most.
In the United Kingdom, glaucoma is a significant public health concern as it is the second most common cause of blindness, following cataracts. Not to mention, this type of blindness is typically permanent. On top of that, it is projected that around 111.8 million individuals will be affected by glaucoma by 2040.
While there is no cure for glaucoma at the point of writing, early diagnosis and treatment can help contain the disease before any vision loss or blindness surfaces. Moreover, treatment options for glaucoma include the utilisation of medications, normally eye drops, to enhance eye-fluid drainage or reduce fluid production, as well as laser treatment and conventional surgery.
Regardless, there is a growing trend among glaucoma patients to employ alternative therapies to manage or complement their traditional glaucoma treatment procedure.
What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a cluster of eye illnesses that harms the optic nerve, which is in charge of transmitting visual information from the eye to the brain and is crucial for maintaining good eyesight. In particular, damage to the optic nerve is frequently associated with elevated pressure in the eye. Nonetheless, glaucoma can also occur with normal eye pressure.
Although it can develop at any age, glaucoma is more prevalent in older adults and is one of the primary culprits of blindness in people over 60 years of age. In many instances, glaucoma has no early warning signals, and vision changes may go unnoticed until the disease has progressed. There are three primary types of glaucoma, and each necessitates a somewhat unique treatment.
Chronic glaucoma is the most frequent type and progresses slowly. This type begins when the trabecular meshwork, the eye’s drainage system, becomes less efficient, resulting in fluid not exiting the eye cavity adequately. As a result, intraocular pressure increases slowly, and symptoms are frequently overlooked until the disease has progressed significantly.
On the other hand, acute glaucoma is caused by a rapid increase in eye pressure, often linked to a hypertensive crisis, which can immediately harm the trabecular meshwork. Besides that, acute glaucoma may also cause blindness quickly and is regarded as a medical nightmare. Headaches, nausea and vomiting, eye pain, rainbows or halos surrounding lights, as well as photophobia, are all symptoms to keep a lookout for.
Last but not least, normal-tension glaucoma occurs when the optic nerve is damaged, but the intraocular pressure (IOP) remains normal. The cause of this type is unknown, although certain optometrists hypothesise that a minute blood clot could disrupt the blood flow surrounding the optic nerve. However, this theory is still unconfirmed by proper research.
Natural Home Remedies to Treat Glaucoma
Despite there being no known cure for glaucoma, complementary and alternative treatment solutions have garnered considerable scientific interest and are commonly utilised in glaucoma treatment.
Whilst natural remedies alone are insufficient to treat the condition and cannot cure the disease, they may complement prescribed treatments effectively. As with any treatment, it is important to consult your doctor before trying any natural remedy to ensure this is the right treatment option for you.
What Is Medical Cannabis?
Medicinal cannabis refers to the use of cannabis to alleviate symptoms associated with a medical condition, such as Parkinson’s disease or epilepsy. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that medical cannabis varies from non-medicinal cannabis, which is mainly taken for recreational purposes.
Medical cannabis is derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, which comprises around 100 types of compounds known as cannabinoids. Medical cannabis can be administered in a variety of forms and consumption methods, such as using a cannabis oil under the tongue or vaporised cannabis flower.
Furthermore, the primary cannabinoid in medical cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive element of the cannabis plant. While THC may be beneficial in alleviating nausea, chronic pain and muscle spasms, it can also affect mental processes, behaviour, mood, consciousness and perception. In contrast, cannabidiol (CBD) is the second most well-known cannabinoid but lacks the psychoactive properties of THC. Many hold the conviction that CBD may be effective in treating conditions such as depression, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain and Parkinson’s disease. A significant research project in 2018 suggested that medical cannabis may be helpful in treating some cancer-related symptoms, including chronic pain, nausea and sleep disorders.
Although THC and CBD are the primary agents responsible for the effects of medical cannabis, their precise mechanisms of action are not yet fully understood. In addition, the concentrations of THC, CBD and other cannabinoids may vary between different strains of the plant, which subsequently creates a challenge for scientists when they are clinically assessing the properties of medical cannabis, either alone or in combination with other drugs.
Cannabinoid Receptors and Their Function
Naturally occurring cannabinoids in the human body regulate various processes such as sleep, mood and appetite by interacting with cannabinoid receptors found in the brain and body. Essentially, there are two primary types of cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2 receptors, which trigger a biological process inside a cell upon activation.
CB1 receptors, located in the brain, are stimulated by THC, leading to the “high” sensation associated with medical cannabis use. On the other hand, CB2 receptors, found mainly in the immune system and brain cells, are believed to be connected to pain alleviation.
How Does Medical Cannabis Help with Glaucoma Treatment?
Medical cannabis has shown potential as a treatment for glaucoma due to its ability to lower intraocular pressure (IOP) on top of its neuroprotective characteristics. Nevertheless, there are quite a few challenges that have to be addressed, including undesirable systemic side effects, possible tolerance issues and complications in creating ongoing and effective topical preparations. As a consequence, investing more resources into researching non-psychotropic cannabinoids such as CBD, which have IOP-lowering effects, is required.
Thus, for now, most experts do not endorse using medical cannabis products for glaucoma due to the uncertain effects on eye pressure. Generally speaking, it is still best to consult with a trusted eye doctor for productive and risk-free ways to treat your glaucoma condition.
To help you with that, Lyphe Clinic, the largest medical cannabis clinic in the United Kingdom, makes available personalised treatment plans for numerous conditions, including glaucoma. Our team of clinical experts delivers private care tailor-made to every patient’s health care needs. With that in mind, individuals with glaucoma are more than welcome to schedule a private session with a specialist doctor via the Lyphe Clinic website to understand more about accessible treatment options for their precise conditions.
Ginkgo (Ginkgo Biloba)
What Is Ginkgo?
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), originating in China over 250 million years ago, is one of the first living tree species. Interestingly, extracts prepared from the fan-shaped leaves of Ginkgo are commonly known as Ginkgo biloba extract.
The extract primarily consists of flavonoids and terpenoids and encompasses over 60 bioactive compounds, 30 of which are exclusive to this extract. Most notably, Ginkgo biloba extract is the most frequently consumed herbal supplement amongst the elderly patient population.
How Could Ginkgo Be Used to Treat Glaucoma?
Research has suggested that taking Ginkgo biloba may be beneficial in treating glaucoma due to its potential to increase blood flow, offer antioxidant protection, relax smooth muscle and shield neurons from damage. According to a 2019 systematic review, flavonoids commonly found in Ginkgo biloba may have a positive effect on glaucoma by raising ocular blood flow and possibly slowing the development of visual field loss.
Moreover, Ginkgo biloba extract is thought to act as an antioxidant by stabilising mitochondria at the organelle level. This can help defend against oxidative stress, which can make retinal ganglion cells more vulnerable to damage. In particular, one study demonstrated that Ginkgo biloba extract lowered the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and protected the mitochondrial membrane within cultured neuronal cells.
Ginkgo biloba extract has also been proposed to have vasodilatory characteristics (meaning that it can widen blood vessels), which can improve blood circulation and enhance blood viscosity. Not to mention, Ginkgo biloba extract may interfere with active cells that are capable of causing low-grade inflammation, such as glial cells. As a result, all of these benefits make Ginkgo biloba extract a potential neuroprotective agent (i.e., it can protect nerve cells from damage or losing their function) that could be used to treat glaucoma.
Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus)
What Is Bilberry?
Bilberry, a fruit with medicinal properties, has been used since the 16th century. Intriguingly, its name is derived from the Danish word “bollebar”, meaning “dark berry”. The berries and leaves of the plant have been used for medicinal purposes since the Middle Ages, traditionally for conditions like inflammation of the mouth, urinary issues, diabetes and diarrhoea. Furthermore, bilberry was also used to prevent scurvy due to its elevated vitamin C concentration, and during World War II, British pilots believed that eating bilberry jam could enhance their night vision.
Nowadays, bilberry is marketed as a dietary supplement for a number of conditions, including varicose veins, poor night vision, atherosclerosis and cataracts.
The Applications of Bilberry in Glaucoma Treatment and Management
Bilberry is thought to have healing effects on glaucoma, similar to Ginkgo biloba extract, because it may protect the nerves in the eyes. This could be achieved by improving blood flow to the cells that transmit visual information, making the optic nerve stronger and helping cells resist damage from various causes.
Bilberries might work in various ways, such as by acting as an antioxidant, strengthening tiny blood vessels, promoting the production and stability of collagen, and preventing the release of substances that cause inflammation.
What Is Goji Berry?
Goji berry is a traditional Chinese remedy for various ailments such as headaches, dizziness, dry cough, fatigue, abdominal pain and blurry vision. It has also been regarded as a potent anti-ageing agent.
Carbohydrates are the most abundant component in goji berries. Besides that, isolated bilberry fruit compounds have demonstrated several medicinal properties such as anti-cancer, hypoglycemic, immunomodulatory, neuroprotective and antioxidative effects.
How Does Consuming Goji Berry Help with Glaucoma?
Research suggests that eating goji berries may help protect important cells in the eyes and preserve vision in people with glaucoma. Similarly, goji berries are thought to protect nerves by reducing harmful stress and blocking certain pathways in the body. They may also temporarily increase the production of a substance called insulin-like growth factor-1, which plays a role in determining the fate of these cells when the optic nerve is first damaged.
The Bottom Line
Glaucoma is a type of eye problem where certain cells in the eye gradually die, leading to vision loss and damage to the optic nerve. The most common type is called primary open-angle glaucoma, which differs from normal tension glaucoma because it involves higher pressure in the eye. If glaucoma is not treated, it can seriously harm a person’s vision. That is why there is a big need for new and better treatments, even though there are already many options available.
However, it remains highly important for everyone to be cautious of “quick fixes” and supposed miracle remedies for glaucoma that may be found online. In general, always consult with an eye care specialist before starting any new treatment regime that may impact your condition or health or, in certain cases, interfere with your ongoing treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma refers to a collection of eye diseases that can lead to blindness by causing impairment to the optic nerve at the back of the patient’s eye. In some cases, symptoms may develop gradually, making it difficult to detect the condition early on. With that in mind, a comprehensive dilated eye exam is the only reliable way to confirm the presence of glaucoma. Nonetheless, while there is no known cure for glaucoma, early treatment can greatly aid in the prevention of further damage and safeguard one’s vision for the long term.
What is medical cannabis?
Medical cannabis pertains to preparations derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, utilised for alleviating symptoms associated with particular medical issues.
What is the distinction between CBD and THC?
Cannabis plants contain cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). While both compounds may have therapeutic benefits, the crucial distinguishing factor is that THC causes psychoactive effects or a “high,” whereas CBD does not.
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