What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is also known as Glaucomatous (Scientific name), Ankh ki roshani kam hona (Hindi/Urdu), Kach bindu (Marathi), Pacumpatalam (Tamil), Glakoma (Telugu), Qingguangyan (Chinese), glaucoma (Spanish), glaucoma (Portuguese), Cokhera chanira jatila abastha (Bengali), Glaukoma (Russian), Glaukoma (Indonesian). Glucoma are of 3 types open-angle glaucoma, closed-angle glaucoma and normal-tension glaucoma. Glaucoma is a serious eye condition, caused by increase of pressure within the eye ball, called intraocular pressure. This causes compression and obstruction of the blood vessels which feed the optic nerve, resulting in optic nerve fiber damage and visual disturbances.
When glaucoma is occurring in an eye, palpation will show a tenseness in that eye. It is similar to high blood pressure in the body. The condition is therefore, also known as hypertension of the eye. A certain amount of intraocular pressure is considered necessary, but too much can cause damage to the eye and may result in vision loss. Glaucoma may become a serious condition and can cause blindness, so one has to be very watchful. Acute glucoma may show symptoms painful, red eye, hard and tender to touch, possibly with dilated pupil; misting of vision, then severe visual impairment; nausea or vomiting; possibly abdominal pain. Where as chronic simple glaucoma shows slow but progressive loss of peripheral vision which can go unnoticed until the damage is irreversible; loss of central vision follows.
What Causes Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is the major cause of blindness among adults today. One out of every eight blind persons is a victim of glaucoma. Far sighted persons are more prone to develop this disease than near sighted ones. The symptoms includes appearance of halos or colored rings round distant objects, when seen at night. The iris is usually pushed forward, and the patient often complains of constant pain in the region of the brow, near the temples and the cheeks. If pressure in the eye becomes high, headaches may occur. There is gradual impairment of vision as glaucoma develops, and this may ultimately result in blindness if proper steps are not taken to deal with the disease in the early stages. Medical science regards severe eye-strain or prolonged working under bad lighting conditions as the chief causes of glaucoma. But, in reality, the root cause of glaucoma is a highly toxic condition of the system due to dietetic errors, a faulty life style and the prolonged use of suppressive drugs for the treatment of other diseases. Eye-strain is only a contributory factor. Glaucoma is also caused by prolonged stress and is usually a reaction of adrenal exhaustion. The inability of the adrenal glands to produce aldosterone results in excessive loss of salt from the body and a consequent accumulation of fluid in the tissues. In the region of the eyes, the excess fluid causes the eye ball to harden losing its softness and resilience. In persons who lift heavy weights (either at work or for exercise), who strain in exercise, who have high cholesterol or high triglycerides, or who have diabetes or nicotine toxicity due to smoking, intraocular pressure has a tendency to increase and may lead to glaucoma. Giddiness, sinus conditions, allergies, hypoglycemia, arteriosclerosis and an imbalance of the autonomic nervous system can also be cause of glucoma. Untreated, glaucoma leads to blindness, but is usually only found if looked for, say through routine checks. It tends to run in families, and its incidence increases with age.
Home Remedies for
The modern medical treatment for glaucoma is through surgery which relieves the internal pressure in the eye due to excess fluid. This, however, does not remove the cause of the presence of the excess fluid. Consequently, even after the operation, there is no guarantee whatsoever that the trouble will not recur, or that it will not affect the other eye. The natural treatment for glaucoma is same as that for any other condition associated with high toxicity and is directed towards preserving whatever sight remains. If treated in the early stages, the results are encouraging. Though cases of advanced glaucoma may be beyond a cure, even so certain nutritional and other biological approaches can prove effective in controlling the condition and preserving the remaining sight. If upon examination by an eye doctor it is determined that you have higher than normal intraocular pressure, these remedies may be helpful.
- Punarnava + Jatamamsi + Shanka Pushpi : Treat it with herbal formula. In earlier stages of glaucoma, Ayurveda treats this problem with the herbal formula made with punarnava, jatamamsi and shanka pushpi, which will help to relieve the tension in the eye. Mix all the herbs in 5:3:3 ratio. Boil 1 teaspoon of this mixture in a cup of water for a few minutes to make a tea. Drink twice a day.
- Bilberry : Research shows that bilberry extracts defend against cataracts and glaucoma and improve diabetic and hypertensive retinopathy. It is good remedy to defend against cataracts.
- Triphala Tea : Triphala makes excellent eyewash. To relieve the tension in the eye, wash the eyeball with triphala tea, which helps to regulate pressure in the eye. Boil 1/2 teaspoon triphala in 1 cup water for 2 minutes, strain it thoroughly so that no particles of triphala remain in the tea, cool it down, and wash the eye.
- Berries : Berries are natural eye strengthener. Many blue, purple, and ruby colored berries owe their color to a type of flavonoid called anthocyanins, a potent antioxidant and blood vessel strengthener. Top sources include bilberries, blackberries, blueberries, huckleberries, pomegranates, black currants, cherries, elderberries, cranberries, and eggplants. The blueberry is related to the bilberry, which is native to Europe. Whereas blueberries’ inner flesh is white, bilberries’ is blue, making them higher in anthocyanins. Try to include these berries in everyday meals.
- Ginkgo : Improve vision with ginkgo. A concentrated ginkgo leaf extract seems to improve vision in patients with glaucoma and works as a neuro protector of retinal ganglion cells in glaucoma due to its ability to open blood vessels and its antioxidant effect. Along with oxidative stress and high IOP, blood vessel inadequacy has also been proposed as a contributor to glaucoma, especially in normal tension glaucoma.
- Omega 3: Include fish in daily diet program. Oily fish are rich in the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The retina requires these fatty acids to function properly. Try making different recipes with tuna fish, red pepper and turmeric. Tuna’s omega-3 fatty acids promote eye health and curcumin from turmeric creates the yellow color and packs a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant punch. Curcumin shows promise in combating glaucoma and muscular degeneration. The antioxidant-rich red peppers add eye health benefits.
Glaucoma Prevention Tips
- Coffee should be completely avoided because of its high caffeine content which causes stimulation of vasoconstrictors, elevating blood pressure and increasing blood flow to the eye.
- Avoid excessive quantities of protein in your diet, which can exacerbate or contribute to glaucoma.
- Strictly avoid heavy weightlifting and similar straining. When you do yoga postures, avoid inverted poses such as Headstand and Shoulder Stand.
- Practice various methods of relaxing and strengthening the eyes.
- Ensure you have an adequate intake of vitamins A, Bl, B12, C, and the minerals chromium and zinc, which can contribute to the health of the eyes.
- Avoid prolonged straining of the eyes such as occurs during excessive T.V. or movie watching and excessive reading.