The Intervention of Nutrients for the Treatment of GLAUCOMA
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness with cataracts being the first. Glaucoma often progresses without any noticeable symptoms until it has already damaged the optic nerve. It is estimated that up to fifty percent of people suffering with glaucoma go un-diagnosed, and as many as ten percent of people eighty years of age and over are affected by glaucoma so it is a very serious problem world-wide.
The good news is that several of the underlying factors that cause glaucoma can now be prevented, and even reversed, using natural remedies instead of drugs; this offers new hope to the millions of people at risk from this very debilitating disease of the eyes.
In a recently published study on people it was shown that a proprietary blend of extracts from French maritime pine bark and bilberry can help to combat the underlying mechanisms leading to glaucoma. In their test group of human subjects, a combination of these nutrients addressed one of the main contributory factors of glaucoma which is elevated intraocular pressure within the eyes, giving a reduction of as much as twenty-four percent. When combined with standard therapies, even more impressive results were seen.
Another recent study revealed researchers who have found a nutrient intervention that brings us one more step closer to finally combating vision-robbing glaucoma once and for all. So thankfully hope is now in sight for the millions of people world-wide suffering with glaucoma which is a truly devastating and debilitating eye disease. This very interesting study, printed in the May 2010 edition of Clinical Ophthalmology, was carried out on 79 patients who had elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) within their eyes. It is generally considered that persistent and progressive IOP is the single most contributing factor to the development of this disease; open-angle glaucoma which is usually diagnosed in at least eight out of every ten glaucoma suffers.
The most recent study involved patients who all had elevated intraocular pressure, but who hadn’t yet show any signs of open-angle glaucoma when they were given thorough and complete eye examinations. None of the subjects included in the trial had any other age-related eye conditions or other systemic or generalised diseases or disorders. The patients were assigned at random to receive either the oral nutrient compound made from French maritime bark extract and phenolic bilberry extract, or Xalatan eye drops which are one of the most common prescribed drugs for glaucoma, or a combination of both the nutrient compound and the Xaltan eye drops, for a total period of 24 weeks.
Xaltan is a synthetically manufactured agent which is designed to mirror in function and structure the messaging molecule prostaglandin F2a (PGF2a). Among its other actions, PGF2a causes smooth muscle cells, like the ones found in blood vessels and in the eyes, to contract and relax. These prostaglandins, which are used in the medical therapy treatment of glaucoma to lower intraocular pressure inside the eye, are prone to complications associated with both their short term and longer term use so are far from ideal. Xalatan and other PGF2a-derived prescription eye drops are not good prophylactics to stop glaucoma from developing for many people who have elevated intraocular pressure or other similar predisposing conditions of the eyes. This limitation of prescribed medications helped generate much excitement for this new study as the pine bark/bilberry oral nutrient compound does not have any of the same adverse side-effects that the prostagladin-type drugs do; these include swelling, inflammation and ocular cysts.
All three of the treatment groups in the study showed improvements, or a lowering of their intraocular pressure, which was very carefully measured under the study’s protocol, and in triplicate, to help decrease the chances of any random variations or errors. Initially, all of the subjects who received the Xaltan prescription eye drops saw the most rapid reduction in their intraocular eye pressures of twenty-eight percent after the first four weeks of treatment. The study group who received the pine bark/bilberry nutrient compound began to show a statistically significant drop in their intraocular pressure after six weeks of treatment, and their improvements continued throughout the length of the study period, to a twenty-four percent reduction at sixteen weeks. While the pressure drop approached the same degree of lowering intraocular pressure as those using the Xaltan drops, the group given just the pine bark/bilberry nutrient compound did not reach the same level of intraocular pressure lowering as the group using just Xalatan.
However, the most exciting results came from the group who used both of the products in combination with one another. This third test group also began to show statistically significant intraocular pressure lowering of twenty-eight percent after four weeks, but the degree of intraocular pressure lowering after twenty-four weeks using both products was forty percent, which was far greater than those who were using Xalatan on its own (28%). The study concluded that using the pine bark/bilberry nutrient compound in conjunction with using the synthetic prescription eye drops worked in synergy together to amplify the intraocular pressure lowering better than using either of the two products on their own.
This particular study didn’t include a control group, but a prior controlled study of thirty-eight patients who all had elevated intraocular pressure, but without any evidence of glaucoma, measured the blood flow in the eyes in a group who took the pine bark/bilberry nutrient compound for six months and subjects who didn’t. After three months, the group taking the pine bark/bilberry nutrient compound showed a statistically significant thirteen percent reduction in their intraocular pressure plus improved ocular blood flow in three different blood vessels, over the baseline values taken at the start of the study, and also when compared to the untreated control group.
The promising findings from this study in May 2010 also add to the already mounting amount of evidence pointing to a far greater role of nutrients being used for prevention and in maintaining acute vision and good eye health. This strategy recognises that the delicate eye tissues, which are constantly under assault from free radicals, environmental toxins, and other cellular byproducts associated with aging, injury, and oxidative stress damage, can be supported and protected by the use of nutritional supplements and other natural therapeutic methods. Natural prevention takes on a whole new dimension in the fight against glaucoma as eye specialists begin to recognise that high intraocular pressure may not be the defining characteristic for diagnosing glaucoma, or for predicting if the disease will get worse. Twenty-five percent of people who have glaucoma have intraocular pressure measurements which are still within the normal range. Also, up to one in ten patients who suffer with elevated intraocular pressure, and who are treated with standard surgical or medical treatments, may still progress to developing glaucoma.
What you need to know about the intervention of nutrients for the treatment of glaucoma
Glaucoma is an age-related disease and the most common type is painless and can therefore go unnoticed for many years unless regular checkups and eye examinations are carried out and can lead to vision loss or eventually to complete blindness.
The people who are most at risk for glaucoma are people who are sixty years old and above, diabetics and ethnic people of African-American, Hispanic, and Asian backgrounds.
Newer adjunct and investigative glaucoma therapies include neuroprotection which can include additional nutrients to help support antioxidant pathways and vascular integrity.
Nutritional NAC eye drops offer new hope for the treatment of GLAUCOMA
Another very exciting breakthrough is the use of the natural compound N-Acetyl-Carnosine (or NAC for short). NAC is naturally occurring and indigenous to the human body and is thought to be part of the body’s own repair mechanisms. It is normally locked inside muscle tissue within the body and is only released when damage occurs. It has the unique ability to actually rejuvenate and extend the life-cycle of cells, known as the Hayflick factor. It is also a very powerful antioxidant and anti-glycation agent. It is NOT a drug, vitamin or mineral and it does not react with any drugs. As it is indigenous to the body there are no known contraindications nor adverse side-effects.
Gradually, over time, glaucoma leads to the loss of retinal ganglion cells which play key roles in how our vision functions by ‘projecting’ images to the mesencephalon or mid-brain. The mid-brain is a part of our central nervous system associated with vision, hearing, sleeping & waking, arousal & alertness, temperature regulation and motor control. In layman’s terms, these cells ‘harvest’ visual data and then transfer the information that they receive to the mid-brain which, in turn, then processes this information into what we know as vision. So when these cells become damaged by glaucoma it causes our vision to deteriorate and, if left entreated, will eventually lead to complete blindness.
The optic nerve, located at the back of the eye, is a critical conduit between what our eyes see and what our brain understands as vision. A healthy optic nerve consists of nerve filaments called axons, which radiate from the retinal ganglion cells or from the specialised nerve cells which collect, and then transmit, the electrical signals that are generated as our eyes are bombarded by light, shapes, colours, patterns, sizes and other imagery which are then translated by the brain into our sight.
Glaucoma consists of a group of diseases which attack the optic nerve and involves a loss of retinal ganglion cells in the characteristic pattern of optic neuropathy. Elevated intraocular pressure is a significant risk factor for developing glaucoma. The pressure inside eye channels is a function of the fluid inflow rates and the fluid outflow rates combined with any resistance factors in between. Resistance in the channels may build up inside the channel walls, in exactly the same way as that which occurs with stiffening of blood vessel walls which cause high blood pressure, or within the mesh-like structures which fluid in the eye enters and exits through. The aqueous humour is the name given to the clear, gel-like, liquid that circulates around inside the front part of the eye. In an area of the eye which is known as the drainage angle, this fluid passes through a mesh-like structure called the trabecular mesh-work which is made up of cells and a supportive tissue matrix. If outflow becomes sluggish, or is blocked, or if the fluid flow across the mesh-work is impaired by increased resistance due to greater matrix buildup, fewer cells, or both, the fluid backup causes excess pressure to build up within the eye leading to elevated intraocular pressure or IOP.
Tunnel vision is the visionary defect most commonly associated with glaucoma and is a very real phenomenon that occurs when about forty percent of the optic nerve fibers within the eye become damaged and eventually die. Nerve filaments die off because each of them are associated with a mother cell known as the retinal ganglion cell, or RGC. These RGCs are especially susceptible to free radical damage that results from the over-stimulation of receptors, especially the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptor types. Although glutamate is one of the most important stimulatory neural biochemicals or neurotransmitters in the brain, glutamate must also be well regulated or cleared away by healthy tissues to avoid any secondary damage from occurring. As nerve filaments die off, the edge of special nervous tissue inside the eye, called the neural rim, begins to thin out and the cup that the optic nerve rests in becomes larger. When this happens, a person may notice a reduction in their ability to see at the edges of their field of vision which is known as peripheral vision loss. As loss of peripheral vision continues to get worse, the person affected may only be able to see clearly what is in the center of his or her field of vision and nothing, or very little, in their peripheral field. This is known as tunnel vision and is one of the main problems associated with glaucoma.
NAC glaucoma eye drops, when applied regularly throughout the day, immediately go to work to start rejuvenating the damaged cells and repairing the damage caused by glaucoma. They also work naturally to reduce the intraocular pressure associated with glaucoma. As they are 100% natural there are non of the adverse side-effects commonly associated with prescription drugs for glaucoma, which include swelling, inflammation and ocular cysts. Many patients with elevated intraocular pressure have seen their eye pressures return to within the normal range in just six weeks of starting the treatment and have also noticed an improvement in their peripheral field of vision which is previously unheard of with conventional medications as NAC is the only substance with this unique ability to rejuvenate and regenerate damaged cells.
NAC glaucoma eye drops also have excellent prophylactic properties and should be used regularly to stop the onset of glaucoma and many other degenerative eye conditions including cataracts, macular degeneration and dry eye syndrome to name but a few.
Everyone is at risk from glaucoma; from new born babies to the elderly alike. Even with standard prescribed medications and treatments intraocular pressure within the eyes may continue to escalate and glaucoma can continue to advance until ultimately the progression leads to complete blindness.
Now, with a far greater understanding of the many different factors associated with the development of glaucoma, researchers are looking more and more towards natural antioxidants and compounds and their related reactions on cell defense and signaling to support the integrity of the delicate tissues within the eye and to support the healthy flow of eye fluids and the aqueous humour.