Natural therapy for glaucoma

Glaucoma treatment: Are there any natural therapies that prevent and treat glaucoma?

Often I am asked: Is there a natural therapy for glaucoma? Is there a miracle cure for glaucoma? Unfortunately, there is not. When you’re at risk for glaucoma, it is vital to focus our attention on glaucoma prevention. In this article, I will discuss 5 nutraceuticals that may be beneficial for your eye health.

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Preventing glaucoma naturally

Why we should shift our focus to preventing glaucoma

It is a well-known fact. Surgeons and specialists train many years to become experts in their field. But during their training at medical school and as registrars there is generally a lack of focus on the nutritional and preventive aspects of disease.

On top of that, there is also the lack of gold standard evidence on whether certain lifestyle changes and dietary nutrients have a positive impact on disease.

Randomised clinical trials are the gold standard for scientific medical evidence. The reality is that running a randomised clinical trial on prevention will cost a lot of time, effort and money, with minimal financial reward at the end of it. This is why such trials are rarely conducted. So the next best type of scientific evidence is population-based cohort studies, which unfortunately are not as highly accepted by clinicians compared to randomised clinical trials.

There is another reason why doctors forget to talk about preventing disease. It takes time to discuss this topic with patients. Unfortunately, doctors often lack time.

Study: “Consuming 3 or more servings of fruit per day may impact your risk of getting glaucoma”

I am a strong believer that nutrition plays an essential role in our vision health, particularly from a prevention point of view.

The results from the major population-based cohort studies worldwide have all shown that a healthy and balanced diet confers greater resilience to our eye health and reduces the risk of chronic eye diseases, such as glaucoma and macular degeneration.

  • Data from the Nurses Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study of over 100,000 participants reported that a higher intake of nitrate-rich foods and leafy green vegetables reduced glaucoma risk by over 20%.
  • A separate population-based study in the United States (the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures Research Group) reported that those who consumed 3 or more servings of fruit per day were 79% less likely to have glaucoma. Furthermore, those who ate more than one serving per week of leafy green vegetables (collard greens and kale), decreased their odds of having glaucoma by over 50%.
  • Daily greens and brightly coloured fresh fruit and vegetables (such as carrots, peppers, berries and citrus fruits), particularly when taken as part of a Mediterranean diet, also reduces the prevalence of macular degeneration. This is thought to be due to the natural antioxidants (such as vitamins A, C & E, zinc and carotenoids) present in these foods that help to protect the eyes from oxidative stress and chronic inflammation.

It is also worth remembering that as we age, the ability to absorb the B vitamins (including vitamin B12 and folate) from food declines. As a result, dietary deficiencies in the B vitamins become more common as we grow older. Deficiency in either vitamin B12 or folate can cause vision loss, anaemia, and cognitive impairment. We should therefore ensure that our diet also includes rich sources of B vitamins, such as whole grains, seafood and eggs.

Is there a natural therapy for glaucoma (and macular degeneration)?

Clinical studies have demonstrated potential neuroprotective benefits of certain nutraceuticals and vitamins against glaucoma.

There are two caveats. Firstly, there is no conclusive data on the benefits and risks of taking these supplements for glaucoma over the long term. Secondly, these supplements are intended to be complementary to, and not as a replacement for, existing glaucoma treatments.

As I mentioned before, I am passionate about this topic and I believe that nutrition plays a pivotal role in preventing disease. So even though we lack conclusive data, as an eye specialist here in Melbourne, I strongly support my patients in their journey to prevent further eye damage.

In this article, I will cover 5 nutraceuticals that may be used to improve your eye health. Just remember, always consult with your family doctor if you are taking supplements.

Natural therapy for glaucoma

Vitamins for glaucoma prevention

Natural therapy for glaucoma: 5 nutraceuticals worth taking [Part 1]

Pyruvate

Pyruvate is a key intermediate in many biological processes vital for cellular metabolism, including helping cells generate energy.

It is present naturally in foods such as red apples, cheese, dark beer and red wine.

Nicotinamide

Nicotinamide is the active form of vitamin B3, a water-soluble vitamin. Being water-soluble means that any excess vitamin is excreted in the urine and is not stored in the body.

It is naturally found in lean meat, milk, fish and nuts, and is commonly added to cereals and other foods.

Folate and Cobalamin

They are two water-soluble B-vitamins that are very closely intertwined with each other: vitamin B9 (folate) and vitamin B12 (cobalamin).

Natural food sources include broccoli, brussel sprouts, dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains, seafood and eggs.

Saffron

Saffron is a spice from the stigma of the crocus sativus flower. It is highly revered in the Middle East for its traditional medicinal properties, and has been used for hundreds of years to improve mood, support stress response, and boost memory.

Always talk to your eye specialist and family doctor before taking supplements

If you are considering supplementing with any of the nutrients and vitamins listed above, please make sure you discuss this with your eye specialist and other healthcare providers first, particularly if you are taking other medications.

Book an appointment

Ready to book an appointment? Dr Brian Ang consults at multiple locations. Choose the nearest to you. 

Consulting and operating at multiple locations in Melbourne

I work as an associate consultant for these private practices in and around Melbourne.

I operate at multiple locations in and around Melbourne.

  • Royal Victorian Eye & Ear Hospital, East Melbourne
  • St Vincent’s Hospital, Fitzroy
  • Sunshine Private Day Surgery, St Albans
  • Epworth Hospital, Geelong
  • Footscray Day Surgery

To make an appointment, please contact Dr Brian Ang here.

Multilingual consultations

I am multilingual and fluent in English, conversational Mandarin, Cantonese and Bahasa Malaysia.

What patients appreciate about Dr Brian Ang

Patients like the fact that my explanations are clear, concise, and easy to understand. I make sure that I provide enough relevant information so that patients can make the best informed decisions based on their own circumstances. What I will not do is to pressure patients into making decisions that they are not comfortable with. Instead I will respect and support your decisions as we work together to achieve the best clinical outcomes for your eyes.