Most elderly, health-conscious men and women are aware of common disabling conditions and diseases to be on guard against, and that includes glaucoma, which comes in a variety of forms. The group of conditions known collectively as glaucoma can cause impaired vision among other debilitating issues. For those who have glaucoma, or are deemed at risk, however, certain vitamins and supplements can help stave off such problems.
A Quick Glimpse at Glaucoma
Glaucoma refers to a collective of different diagnoses that relate to pressure on the optic nerve and impaired vision. There are five types of glaucoma.
Three of these types are known to have a slow, yet often unperceived, progression of symptoms over a period of time. These are open-angle glaucoma, normal tension glaucoma, and pigmentary glaucoma. Each has different symptoms common to each. Other types of glaucoma include acute closed-angle glaucoma, and glaucoma in children. Symptoms increase to the point that a persons’ vision is significantly impaired.
It is commonplace for individuals who develop glaucoma to not notice the early signs and symptoms of glaucoma, because they affect vision very subtly. For this reason, as years pass, it is important to get regular eye exams that include measurements of your eye pressure. In cases of acute onset of eye pain, pressure, and/or headache, seek medical treatment immediately, because these are typical signs of acute glaucoma.
It is usually not possible to determine an exact cause for glaucoma. And, there is no sure way to prevent it. Regular eye checkups can detect glaucoma before you can detect it yourself. If glaucoma is diagnosed, medical treatment can prevent or mitigate visual deterioration and blindness. Possible treatments for glaucoma include medication, laser treatment, and even surgery.
Supplements That Could Support Individuals with Glaucoma
Lifestyle factors can affect the chances of developing optic pressure that causes glaucoma; these include a vitamin-rich diet and regular exercise. Some dietary herbs and supplements have the potential to mitigate glaucoma.
Vitamin B3 is a water-soluble vitamin that contributes to cell metabolism, mitochondrial health, and DNA repair. Vitamin B3 has been shown helpful. In one study, daily B3 supplementation resulted in improved function of ganglion cells in the optic nerve. In another, B3 supplements contributed to an improvement in symptoms in patients with moderate acute angle glaucoma, when taken alongside pyruvate.
Pyruvate is a molecule and oral supplement that can benefit the eyes. It has been shown in one small study to lead to improved visual function in patients when taking pyruvate alongside vitamin B3. Animal studies have further supported the efficacy of pyruvate in mitigating impaired vision due to glaucoma.
Ginkgo biloba is an herbal remedy available as an oral supplement. Ginkgo biloba contains 37 separate phytochemicals, including flavonoids and retinoids, which benefit the eyes. These phytochemicals have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have linked supplementing with ginkgo biloba to improved blood flow to the optic nerve and improvement in vision loss in patients with low-pressure glaucoma.
Bilberry is an herb that is commonly recommended as an oral supplement. The antioxidant nature of bilberry makes it useful. Bilberry has been shown to reduce retinal ganglion cell damage in animal studies, and it is believed that this benefit can carry over to humans as well.
Glaucoma is a condition of the eyes that can go unseen until it is too late. If you or a family member are at risk of glaucoma, then schedule an eye exam with your medical provider. For those with glaucoma, the above vitamins and supplements can be of use to the optic nerve and your overall eye functioning. Talk to your medical care provider before taking any of these supplements for the first time.