HELPING GLAUCOMA WITH NATURAL THERAPIES
Firstly, I need to point out I am not an eye surgeon or optometrist. Yet I have firsthand experience with glaucoma.
There are a few types of glaucoma such as: primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) the most common type diagnosed which I will base this topic around, normal tension glaucoma (NTG), low tension glaucoma (LTG), pseudoexfoliation glaucoma (PEX) and also you may experience intermittent narrowing of the angle referred to as narrow angle glaucoma.
The topic is complex so this is a brief overview of how natural therapies can help POAG.
Global research has produced no cure yet. There will be one. Meanwhile globally, everyone is managing the disorder, some with success others not so successfully.
I have spent much time researching POAG and my personal journey took me to the USA with hope that micro current frequency devices could assist. However in my case it did not lower intraocular pressure and a device attached to it called a transducer was to help regenerate cells. I am not sure if in deed this was happening over the 8 months of trialling this.
My journey was not futile since I discovered I had intermittent narrowing of the angles particularly in the left eye and six local doctors in Sydney could not see this. Due to the fact it was a “mechanical” issue (as the Americans refer to it), therefore no remedy on earth would help this except a laser called a peripheral iridotomy (PI) specific for opening the angles. Since no local doctor would accept the diagnosis I had to fly back and receive a PI laser six weeks later which I could have had quite easily here in Australia yet could not get any doctor to do this. I am told intermittent narrowing of the angle is difficult to detect yet the US doctor saw it immediately and so did the one who performed the PI.
At the time people said “he” could be wrong if 6 local ones disputed it but I knew otherwise. The slight intermittent ache I had experienced for many months in the left eye was resolved with the PI and to date has not returned. The ache was a sign that the angle was narrowing. One never wants the angles to close. Sight is lost when this occurs for good.
I am pleased I took the journey since a laser called an SLT would not have opened the angles. SLT commonly used to assist with aqueous drainage and helping lower IOP. All lasers offered for various eye disorders perform specific things and it is important that you receive the correct type for the eye disorder and symptoms you experience.
I must stress that if two dozen people were diagnosed with POAG aside from genetic tendency, they would all have manifested it due to different circumstances. Some through physical head/eye trauma, metabolic problems and conventional drugs. I also feel the hormonal changes in midlife play a role. It is often put down as an “aging disorder” I don’t agree with this since young people may suffer from glaucoma.
Laser or glaucoma eye drops that help with lowing the IOP and improve aqueous fluid drainage. However there are many side effects with the drops. Some fortunate people may not experience too much of a problem but many others do both systemically and locally despite diligently following the 2 minute eyelid closure technique which your doctor explains.
Types of glaucoma drops
Prostaglandin analogues (PA) appear to be the most popular. Australia does not have as wide a selection as the US or Europe and it took time for us to have BAK free drops. BAK is a preservative and can be an irritant, some experts dispute this so there are two schools of thought.
My observations were that this type of drop interacts with the endocrine (hormonal) system. I had a long list of side effects. Liver enzymes doubled in 2.5 weeks, IBS like symptoms sore and bloated, brain fog, weepy, depressed, fatigued, excessive thirst then after lunch excessive craving for chocolate, sinusitis, headaches – just a few I experienced yet others may not.
I noted the excessive sweet craving subsided around 3.30pm which commenced shortly after lunch around 1pm – this fits with the Chinese 24 clock – small intestine was being challenged – including pancreas.
Beta blockers (BB) – can interfere with cardio and respiratory system but medical people may dispute this. They can cause shortness of breath, asthmatic type symptoms, dizziness, fatigue and I knew of one man who had a seizure yet no history of them and in good health prior to taking them.
Timolol is a (BB) – can cause impotency. One man advised me his eye doctor said it doesn’t matter if he became impotent since he was 65 and not about to father children!
Alpha agonists which decrease product of fluid and increase drainage contain pruite as a preservative which breaks down into a natural tear component and often better tolerated. I have heard of some respiratory issues with this medication
Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors reduce IOP by decreasing production of intraocular fluid. Can affect kidneys.
Sometimes combined medications are offered.
The aqueous fluid (AF) serves a purpose providing nutrients, amino acids and glucose for the avascular ocular tissues, posterior cornea, trabecular meshwork, lens and anterior vitreous. So if some glaucoma drops reduce the AF how does that impact on the eye over years regarding nutrition?
Since there is a great deal of information on these medications, I recommend you thoroughly research the type of eye drop you have been prescribed.
The problem is, there are only these 2 options laser or drops. Worse case situations would require general surgery where one doctor advised me 50/50 re sight loss after surgery!
Things that increase IOP
Computer, TV, staring at any machinery for too long, any eye strain and working in bright lights or dull lighting. Aerobics in some cases, Zumba classes and weight lifting, running, jogging. There are restrictions with some yoga and Pilate exercises. I have noted a lack of knowledge re this with some Pilate instructors. You must never do Pilate roll down exercises placing the head low towards the knees, no leg raises, nor head stands in yoga, or the plank, even side plank can irritate. Various fitness instructors appear to lack understanding of appropriate exercises for those with glaucoma. Avoid sports where you may encounter head impact and too much jumping and over exertion.
Very hot drinks, soups and meals, eat just warm to cool in all cases. Over spicy food and other stimulants, gusty winds, small tight swimming goggles, (use Aqua Sphere they don’t impede circulation), diving into pools and scuba diving.
Heavy metal toxicity. Must resolve! One young man had excessive level of arsenic. He used to be a welder and at 32 diagnosed with POAG. So important to get these levels down even if you take the glaucoma drops otherwise damage occur at the cellular level despite medication.
Eating! Drinking, stress, anxiety and fear.
Adrenal and thyroid fatigue, blood sugar problems, excessively high or low blood pressure. There is a ratio between IOP and BP.
What helps stabilise/lower IOP?
Meditation, good sleep, lymphaciser (not all people), walking, gentle yoga – stretches (no leg raises), warm temperature foods/drinks, palming, head/facial/neck lymph drainage, anti-glare glasses, wearing black lenses sunglasses, having fun with friends/family, reading in natural light (black font on white paper) especially after meals, swinging exercises, various eye exercises to work tight muscles and destress the eyes. Some note relief with bed elevation.
There are no readymade formulas on the market for glaucoma. There are a few they state helps the macula if you have macular degeneration but this is not applicable for glaucoma.
Both Chinese and Western herbal medicine assess the metabolism of the person, each have slightly different approach but agree that the liver and gall bladder play a huge role.
Improving digestion is important, supporting entire endocrine system, central nervous system and brain. Lab blood tests to ascertain hormonal, mineral deficiencies etc. Remedies would be selected only then.
Homoeopathic’s, herbal remedies, various supplements, maybe probiotics and enzymes to optimise gut integrity and function. You need to balance hormones that is very important. You need to assess iodine levels and all vital nutrients. Optimising nutrition for the eye/brain is vital regardless of taking glaucoma meds or receiving laser.
Simple head, facial and neck exercises that can be done to help with drainage including lymph drainage which I often show people how to do.
This is a very complex disorder and what helps one person may not the next.
If you opt for conventional medications you can still work with natural remedies since the drops are to lower pressure and open up drainage channels or reduce aqueous fluid they do not provide any anti-oxidant properties, anti-inflammatory action or aid cellular integrity, nor help with your entire metabolism. It could be that you need to offset some symptoms that have occurred as side effects from the drops also.
The complexity of the disorder means we must tailor make remedies and they will change over time, they have to.
I keep things stable after the laser and help work with people who have glaucoma and continuing research. Keeping ocular pressure stable and slowing down degeneration with herbs and homoeopathy has proven successful
It is illegal to treat glaucoma with acupuncture in Australia, however we always treat the person not the named disease and this is what we did.
Contact me if you would like to incorporate natural therapies into your treatment program with your eye specialist. Phone: 0403 231 804 or email firstname.lastname@example.org