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Glaucoma

The increase in pressure within one or both the eyes is one of the most serious disorders of the eyes and is commonly called glaucoma, this disorder can lead to permanent loss of vision. It affects approximately seven million people in North America and is considered the second leading cause of permanent blindness in the world. Women have a greater chance of contracting the disease when compared to men and the demographics suggest that people who are over the age of forty are the most susceptible group to contract the illness. Glaucoma as a condition occurs in two forms, one of which is slow and gradually develops over a prolonged period of time and stays hidden for a long time in that period. The other type of illness develops suddenly and causes a lot of severe and acute pain.

The sudden and abrupt attack that comes on during the acute form comes preceded by a warning sign. Some of the symptoms that are quite typical in glaucoma patients are the appearance of colored halos around lights and the presence of a foggy and blurred vision. There is nausea and vomiting which along with the severe headaches and pain in the eyes is often mistaken for abdominal problems in many patients who complain about these symptoms of this form of the disorder. Extreme reddening of the eyes takes place and a lot of tears are produced in the eye, glaucoma of this type causes one eye to hurt really badly in the form of a throbbing sensation immediately behind or above the affected eye. Because of the pressure in the affected eye, the eyeball hardens and is very hard when compared to the other unaffected eyeball. Because the acute form of glaucoma is also a result of the slow and steady development of the gradual type, the first sign of any visual trouble or blurring of vision must be examined by a professional medical doctor. Treatment must be carried out immediately if any symptoms indicate the acute form of the disorder and this should be dealt with as a serious form of the medical emergency.

Because of the fact that the symptomatic change in vision takes place very gradually and over a long period of time, the second type of glaucoma is hard to detect and diagnose, it is also different from the acute type of glaucoma in that it commonly affects both the eyes at once. The blank spots of the eyes and the periphery of the eyes are blurred and vision slows down. Because of the fact that there is visual compensation between both eyes, the problems with the vision can usually become obvious only when the patient closes one of the eyes. Other physical symptoms of the disorder include persistent and recurring headaches and soreness in the eyes. The patient may try to fix the issue by changing glasses again and again because of the blurred vision, since this symptom is often wrongly diagnosed and the patient is asked to increase the power of his spectacle glasses. Because of the fact that the vision thus lost can never be regained, and is permanent, this form of the disorder is considered to be very serious and needs immediate treatment from a qualified physician.

The increased production of the vitreous humor-the fluid that fills the eyeballs or an accumulation of this fluid due to a blocked drainage increases the pressure in the eyeballs and is the cause for both forms of glaucoma. The damage to the optic nerve is the result of this increased pressure leading to permanent loss of vision; the optic nerve is the connecting messenger between the eyes and the brain. Very abrupt changes in vision and severe pain can result if the pressure in the eyeball increases all of a sudden as in the acute form of glaucoma. For this reason when the person stays in darkness or meditates for long periods of time, the pupil widens and a sudden increase in pressure at this time is very painful to the person because of this factor. The most susceptible people to this disorder are women who have crossed thirty years of age, especially in those conditions where stress triggers the acute attack.

People over sixty five years of age are the most susceptible to the chronic form of glaucoma. The symptoms of the gradual form of glaucoma develop slowly over a prolonged period of time, and are not readily apparent, staying hidden and unknown for many months or years. The metabolic changes and accumulation of wastes associated with aging causes this form of chronic glaucoma, which is the most common form of glaucoma. Many types of other eye injuries and cataracts increase the susceptibility to this chronic form of glaucoma and are direct contributors to its appearance in some cases. The susceptibility to glaucoma is also increased by medications and drugs that are used to treat depression and high blood pressure; the compound cortisone also increases the chances of glaucoma. Excepting cases of rare birth defects, most infants are not affected by glaucoma.

Supplements and herbs

Dietary factors are very important in combating glaucoma and a diet of whole foods has to be included daily, along with the supplements that are listed below. Successful use has been made of the vitamin C to treat internal eye pressure within a treatment time of less than a week, however such treatment methodologies differ from one individual to the next and a common dosage is not possible, doses are individually decided. To improve and increase the effectiveness of the use the body makes of the vitamin C, additional supplements of the plant based natural substances called the bioflavonoids must be included in the regimen. The best accompaniment to vitamin C supplements is the bioflavonoid known as rutin, this bioflavonoid is recommended. Since the individuals differ from one to the other biochemically, this factor must be included in deciding the dosage of these nutritional supplements. It is very safe to use these natural substances along with prescription medication for glaucoma; the nutritional supplements have no side effects and do not interfere at all with the conventional drugs.

The following herbal remedies can be used as supplements to treat glaucoma.

The juice of the rose hip is exceptionally rich in vitamin C, take a single tbsp. of the juice everyday to supply this vitamin which is essential to promote the internal metabolism of collagen, it also reduces the pressure in the eyeballs and increases capillary strength. Connective tissue can be bolstered and strengthened by drinking the juice of the horsetail herb, dosage can be one tbsp. of the horsetail juice everyday for a treatment period of two weeks at one stretch. An infusion made from the eyebright can be used to wash the eyes on a regularly basis as an external measure. The infusion of the eyebright must be strained through a muslin cloth to remove impurities. Other useful herb that can be used as supplements for treating glaucoma is aloe vera and germanium. One vitamin called niacin or B3 must be avoided, as should all herbs rich in this vitamin including the licorice. Other helpful and important herbal supplements are herbal teas made form the fennel, the chamomile and the Essiac; eyebright can also be used to make a tea for internal consumption. The turmeric herb (Curcuma longa) contains a pigment known as curcumin which has an anti-inflammatory effect as its main property; it is comparable to cortisone, and other analgesics like ibuprofen and phenylbutazone. This pigment is known as an antioxidant and is also reputed to have cancer preventive abilities. Curcumin's antioxidant activity is similar in scope to those of the vitamins C and E. Hypertension or an elevated blood pressure, disorders like asthma, cardiac problems such as congestive heart disease and glaucoma, have been shown to be treatable using forskolin, which acts mainly through its vasodilating effects, this substance can be used as a supplement to boost circulation in the body. Another supplemental option is to take a 1,000-mg of the bilberry everyday. Many eye disorders and problems such as cataract, glaucoma and degenerative eye disease like macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa and metabolically induced diabetic retinopathy have been treated in Europe through the use of bilberry. The supplements has properties of stabilizing the collagen in the body, and it also increases intracellular vitamin C levels at the same time, while decreasing capillary fragility, this property is because of its content of anthocyanidins. Similar to aspirin it can decrease platelet aggregation and lowers high blood sugar levels in the patients, so a study suggests. It prevents additional damage from the high pressure during glaucoma because of its antioxidant effects within the eyes. Bilberry therefore is a very important antioxidant supplement in the treatment of the disease. The extract of the ginkgo biloba is used in the treatment of conditions such as an impaired memory, fatigue and cerebral vascular insufficiency, and even other conditions such as depression and impotence, this supplement is usually taken in 250 mg doses thrice a day, it can also be used for glaucoma. The ginkgo through its ability to improve circulation in the retina may prevent visual loss; additionally it has protective effects against free radicals because of its antioxidant property and can prove useful against cellular damage due to the high pressure within the eyeballs.

Additional things you may do

A balanced and well-adjusted lifestyle is very important to health, avoid and deal with stressful situation and include optimum periods for exercises and relaxation or rest on a daily basis. Keeping healthy and stress free is one of the better ways to deal with any disease. The supplements and therapies can be further enhanced when regular external treatments like hot foot baths are included in the treatment regimen. Other alternative methods are to keep the feet warm in a warm bed for thirty minutes after cold leg wraps; this treatment can be used on a daily and regular basis. Avoid strenuous activity and do not lift heavy things or over exert yourself in any way. Because permanent visual loss can begin in three or five days after an attack, any case of acute glaucoma must be effectively treated within twelve to forty-eight hours from the time of attack. Anything that may likely be stressful to the eye must be avoided, since they can become irritating factors, these include activities like prolonged reading, watching too much television, and irritants like tobacco smoke. For the same reason eye exercises must be carried our on a regular and daily basis.

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