What is Glaucoma?

A health article about glaucoma from Your Health Online the A to Z directory of dealing with Health Problems & nutritional Self Care Strategies

Glaucoma is an eye disease in which the optic nerve is damaged. Usually, high pressure inside the eye causes the damage.

The damage can lead to a loss of vision.

However, early treatment can prevent blindness.

This is a serious eye condition characterised by an increase of pressure within the eyeball, called intraocular pressure.

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.

This condition 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.

Some of the common symptoms of glaucoma 

Open-angle and other chronic forms of glaucoma often have no symptoms in the early stages.

In later stages, you will begin to notice a loss of vision.

Side vision is affected first.

Symptoms of acute closed-angle glaucoma include:

• severe eye pain
• seeing halos around lights
• nausea and vomiting
• headache
• loss of vision.

The first symptom of this condition is the appearance of halos or coloured rings round distant objects, when seen at night.

In this condition, 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.

Headaches are not uncommon.

There is gradual impairment of vision as the problem develops, and this may ultimately result in blindness if proper steps are not taken to deal with the disease in the early stages.

What Causes glaucoma 

A clear, watery fluid called the aqueous humor normally circulates in your eye.

When the flow of this fluid out of the eye becomes blocked, the pressure increases inside the eye.

The increased pressure can damage the optic nerve.

There are two main types of glaucoma, depending on how the flow of fluid is blocked:

• Open-angle glaucoma is caused by a gradual blockage in the area that drains fluid from the eyes into the drainage channels.

It is the more common type of glaucoma in the US and Europe. It usually affects both eyes.

• Closed-angle glaucoma is a blockage caused by a change in the position of the iris (the colored part of the eye).

The change in position causes the iris to block the drainage channels.

This type of glaucoma usually happens in one eye at a time.

If you get glaucoma in one eye, you are at risk for having the same problem in the other eye.

When this type of condition happens suddenly, it is called acute closed-angle glaucoma and is a medical emergency.

  Suffering from this condition tends to run in families. It occurs most often after age 35, but sometimes children have it.

This can be a common eye problem in people over age 60.

It is more common among black people than white people.

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 the condition 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.

This condition has also been associated with giddiness, sinus conditions, allergies, diabetes, hypoglycemia,arteriosclerosis and an imbalance of the autonomic nervous system.

Risk Factors:  

How long will the effects last?

Loss of vision caused by glaucoma is permanent.

This is why this condition needs to be diagnosed and treated early to stop further damage to the optic nerve.

If your health care provider prescribes medication to control the pressure, you may need to take it for the rest of your life.

Prevention of glaucoma 

Glaucoma cannot be prevented.

However, blindness can be prevented if the condition is treated before pressure in the eye has damaged the optic nerve too much.

You may be able to help prevent the condition from becoming severe if you:

• Have a regular eye exam. How often you need to see the eye doctor will depend on how severely your optic nerve was damaged.

• At your eye exam, make sure the pressure in your eye is measured and that your optic nerve is examined.

• Learn about your family history. Chronic open-angle glaucoma often runs in families.

• See your health care provider at once if you see halos around lights or notice any changes in your vision.

When To Seek Medical Attention For glaucoma 

Your health care provider may screen you for vision problems during your routine checkups.

If you have vision problems, your provider will refer you to an eye doctor.

The eye doctor may use the following tests to diagnose glaucoma:

• tonometry, a painless procedure used to measure the pressure in your eyes

• ophthalmoscopy, in which the doctor uses an instrument to look at the optic nerve inside your eye

• visual field testing, which can show early changes in your side vision caused by damage to the optic nerve

• gonioscopy, which is a method of examining the drainage channels.


The goal in the treatment of glaucoma is to reduce the pressure in your eyes.

This may be done with eyedrops, oral medication, laser surgery, or other types of surgery.

Some eyedrops reduce the amount of fluid made by your eye.

Others increase the amount of fluid that flows out.

Surgery relieves pressure inside the eye by opening up the drainage channel or by making another opening through which the fluid can drain.

Make sure your health care provider tells you about possible side effects of any medication you are taking.

If you have concerns, call your provider.

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.

Self Care strategies for Living with glaucoma 

How can I take care of myself?

• Take your medication as prescribed.

• Carefully follow your health care provider's recommendations for follow-up visits and pressure measurements.

• Call your health care provider if you have any side effects from your medication.

You should undertake various methods of relaxing and strengthening the eyes.

You  should avoid emotional stress and cultivate a tranquil, restful life style.

You should also avoid prolonged straining of the eyes such as occurs during excessive T.V. or movie watching and excessive reading.

The use of sun glasses should be avoided.

Diet change strategies:

Certain foodstuff should be scrupulously avoided by patients suffering from glaucoma.

Coffee in particular, should be completely avoided because of its high caffeine content.

Caffeine causes stimulation of vasoconstrictors, elevating blood pressure and increasing blood flow to the eye.

Bear and tobacco, which can cause constriction of blood vessels, should also be avoided. Tea should be taken only in moderation.

The patient should not take excessive fluids, whether it is juice, milk or water at any time. He may drink small amounts several times with at least one hour intervals.

The diet of the patient suffering from this condition should be based on three basic food groups,namely, seeds, nuts and grains ; vegetables and fruit, with emphasis on raw vitamin C-rich foods, fresh fruits and vegetables.

The breakfast may consist of oranges or grapes or any other juicy fruits in season and a handful of raw nuts or seeds.

A raw vegetable salad with olive oil and lemon juice dressing, two or three whole wheat chappatis and a glass of buttermilk may be taken for lunch.

The dinner may comprise of steamed vegetables, butter and cottage cheese.

Certain nutrients have been found helpful in the treatment of glaucoma. It has been found that patients with this condition are usually deficient in vitamins A, B,C, protein ,calcium and other minerals.

Nutrients such as calcium and B complex have proved beneficial in relieving the intraocular condition.

Many practitioners believe that intraocular pressure in glaucoma can be lowered by vitamin C therapy.

Dr. Michele Virno and his colleagues reported recently at a meeting of the Roman Opthalmological Society in Rome, Italy, that the average person weighing 150 pounds be given 7000 mg. of ascorbic acid, five daily, acquired acceptable intraocular pressure within 45 days.

Symptoms such as mild stomach discomfort and diarrhea from the large doses of vitamin C were temporary and soon disappeared.

It has also been suggested that some calcium should always be taken with each dose of ascorbic acid to minimize any side effects of the large dose.

Vitamin & Nutrient Associations

Even when we try to eat well, we're disadvantaged. The nutritional content of most food has been compromised over the years, not only by deficient soils and modern production, transportation, storage and processing methods, but also by the enormous amounts of chemical and artificial substances added to promote growth, storage life, taste and appearance.

It's for this reason that more and more medical authorities are advocating the use of vitamin and mineral supplements. However, finding them in the right combination can be both confusing and costly.

The nutrition products that we discuss on this site make use of knowledge gained from the botanical world's 6,000 year history. They incorporated health building nutritional herbs with the best modern technology to help our bodies cleanse and detoxify so that the cells - the tiniest living units - can be as fully nourished as possible.

This allows the cells to grow, repair and to perform their functions with the best possible efficiency so that we feel and look better and are more able to prevent and fight disease. Once the body begins to clear itself of toxins it can more efficiently absorb nutrition.

Further reading through our articles on health issues will give you a body of information that will help you decide what options you have to deal with the underlying causes of your problem through giving your body the nutrition products that will assist you body to heal from the inside out.

We wish you well in your search for solutions to this problem and your movement towards better health in all areas.

More Resources available about glaucoma 

You may find this page on our site interesting and useful if you would like to visit it:

Eye Infections and Defective Vision

For an overview of work being done with Glaucoma world-Wide you might like to visit the Fred Hollows Foundation site.

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