About Dr Brian Ang

The Best Natural Treatments to Fight Glaucoma

Do natural treatments for glaucoma exist?

Many of my glaucoma patients ask me if there are natural glaucoma treatments, and they are somewhat disappointed when my answer comes back as: “It depends.”

This is because it depends on what you mean by ‘treatment’.

If your definition of treatment is cure, then the answer is “no”.

If your definition is a natural way to support the health of your eyes and complement your existing glaucoma treatments, then the answer is undoubtedly a resounding “Yes!”

In this post, I’ll list what I view as the best natural treatments to fight glaucoma. And in my professional opinion, the most effective way to fight glaucoma is to target all the key mechanisms and pathways that contribute to glaucoma damage.

What are the key mechanisms and pathways that increase risk of glaucoma?

There is a common misconception that you can only get glaucoma if your eye pressure is high.

This is not true. Glaucoma can occur even when the eye pressure is within the normal range.

Eye pressure is the most important risk factor for glaucoma, which is why glaucoma specialists spend most of their time trying to fix it.

The problem is that by only focusing on eye pressure, the other key mechanisms and pathways that increase risk of glaucoma become neglected.

If we want to fight glaucoma effectively, then these biocellular mechanisms and pathways also need to be addressed alongside eye pressure.

Below is my shortlist of recommended best natural glaucoma treatments based on my analysis of clinical studies and trials over the past 30 years.

Mechanism #1: High eye pressure

This is fairly self explanatory. The standard medical treatments for glaucoma are eye drops, laser or surgery, and you should always adhere to the treatments that have been prescribed by your eye specialist.

In my opinion, some of the best natural treatments for eye pressure in glaucoma include:

  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Combination of bilberry fruit extract & proanthocyanidin (such as in maritime pine bark or grape seed extract)
  • Saffron stigma extract
  • Combination of forskolin root extract & rutin
  • Palmitoylethanolamide

Mechanism #2: Stress

Chronic stress exerts a notable influence on the body’s hormonal balance, leading to the release of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.

These stress hormones increase glaucoma risk by elevating eye pressure and disrupting the delicate biochemical environment necessary for the proper functioning of our eyes and optic nerve.

In my view, the best natural treatments for stress in glaucoma are:

  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Adequate sleep and rest
  • Saffron stigma extract

Mechanism #3: High homocysteine levels

Homocysteine is a natural amino acid in our bodies and is necessary for crucial cellular functions in moderate amounts.

Elevated levels of homocysteine, however, impact the delicate equilibrium of the eye’s microenvironment and the health of blood vessels supplying the eye and optic nerve.

High homocysteine levels are linked with glaucoma, particularly a specific form called pseudoexfoliation or exfoliative glaucoma.

For me, the best natural treatments for high homocysteine levels in glaucoma are:

  • L-methylfolate (activated, highly bioavailable folate)
  • Methylcobalamin (activated, highly bioavailable vitamin B12)
  • Pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (highly bioavailable vitamin 6)
  • Magnesium (in the highly bioavailable form)

Mechanism #4: Vascular dysregulation

GinkgoLeaf

Vascular dysregulation is a fancy name to describe impaired blood flow to the eye.

This increases the risk of glaucoma damage because the blood supply to critical structures within the optic nerve becomes compromised

Based on published clinical data, the best natural treatments for vascular dysregulation in glaucoma are:

  • Aerobic exercise
  • Ginkgo biloba leaf extract
  • Bilberry fruit extract
  • Grape seed extract
  • Maritime pine bark extract
  • Vitamin E
  • Magnesium

Mechanism #5: Axonal dysfunction

Axonal dysfunction refers to impairment or disruption of the nerve fibers (axons) within the optic nerve.

Axons play a crucial role in transporting nutrients, energy, and other essential materials from the cell body (located within the eye) to the nerve endings (reaching towards the brain) – vital for the proper functioning and survival of the nerve fibers.

In glaucoma, axonal dysfunction is a key factor contributing to vision loss.

The best natural treatments for axonal dysfunction in glaucoma are:

  • Not smoking or vaping
  • Methylcobalamin (activated, highly bioavailable vitamin B12)
  • L-methylfolate (activated, highly bioavailable folate)
  • Citicoline

Mechanism #6: Mitochondrial dysfunction

The mitochondria are the energy-producing structures within cells.

They are often referred to as the “engines” of cells because they generate energy that is essential for various cellular functions and processes.

Mitochondrial dysfunction occurs when the mitochondria are not functioning properly, thus disrupting energy production and contributing to cellular damage.

In glaucoma, mitochondrial dysfunction is a key factor contributing to accelerated retinal ganglion cell death.

The clinical studies suggest that the best natural treatments for mitochondrial dysfunction in glaucoma are:

  • Nicotinamide (highly bioavailable vitamin B3)
  • Pyruvate (key intermediate in glucose metabolism)
  • Ginkgo biloba leaf extract
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Alpha-lipoic acid

Mechanism #7: Glycolysis impairment

Glycolysis is the process of metabolizing glucose into energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).This process occurs inside every living cell.

The latest science has shown that glucose metabolism is impaired prior to optic nerve degeneration when the eye pressure is elevated.

Based on current available evidence, the best natural treatments that help address glycolysis impairment in glaucoma are:

  • Reducing intake of highly processed and refined foods
  • Pyruvate (key intermediate in glucose metabolism)
  • Bilberry fruit extract
  • Saffron stigma extract
  • Resveratrol
  • Alpha-lipoic acid

Mechanism #8: Oxidative stress

Bilberry

Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between the formation of free radicals that cause cell damage, and the ability of antioxidants to neutralize them and contribute to cell repair.

In glaucoma, oxidative stress and chronic inflammation causes impaired cellular function and gradual degeneration of the optic nerve cells, leading to eventual vision loss.

Addressing oxidative stress is crucial for preserving optic nerve cell health and slowing the progression of glaucoma.

In my opinion, out of the many antioxidants out there, the best natural treatments for oxidative stress in glaucoma are:

  • Not smoking or vaping
  • Ginkgo biloba leaf extract
  • Grape seed extract
  • Bilberry fruit extract
  • Saffron stigma extract
  • Coenzyme Q10

Mechanism #9: Chronic inflammation

In glaucoma, chronic inflammation sets off a series of immune reaction that damage the optic nerve and retinal tissues.

This inflammation-induced damage accelerates the degeneration of optic nerve cells, resulting in progressive vision loss.

Addressing chronic inflammation and oxidative stress is crucial for preserving optic nerve cell health and slowing the progression of glaucoma.

My recommendations for the best natural treatments to reduce chronic inflammation in glaucoma are:

  • Not smoking or vaping
  • Ginkgo biloba leaf extract
  • Grape seed extract
  • Bilberry fruit extract
  • Saffron stigma extract
  • Palmitoylethanolamide

Mechanism #10: Macular pigment loss

This can be controversial because most people associate macular pigment deficiency with macular degeneration, and not glaucoma.

The reality is that those with glaucoma also have depleted macular pigment, which is important for absorption of excessive blue light (especially from digital screens) and protection of retinal cells.

Emerging research suggests that the macular pigment may have neuroprotective effects that could potentially play a role in mitigating the impact of glaucoma on visual function.

The best natural treatments for macular pigment deficiency in glaucoma are:

  • 100% UV protection sunglasses
  • Lutein
  • Zeaxanthin

Which are the best natural supplements to complement glaucoma treatment?

You’ll have noticed that I have highlighted certain nutrient supplements in bold.

These are the ones that I recommend to my patients for comprehensive glaucoma neuroprotection, based on my analyses of the scientific literature to date.

But that’s a lot of pills and tablets and capsules, and who wants to take lots of pills every day?

Nutravision

This is why Nutravision is the only supplement I recommend to my patients these days because it saves them time, saves them effort, and saves them money.

All of the best nutrients and vitamins for glaucoma that I highlighted in bold above are already incorporated into Nutravision in clinically appropriate doses.

This means that by taking Nutravision, my patients save time, save effort, and save money.

And most importantly, I am reassured that their eyes and optic nerves are being optimally protected against all ten key biocellular mechanisms of glaucoma damage.

So far, my observation is that Nutravision has worked very well for many of my glaucoma patient in terms of eye pressure maintenance, visual field stabilization, ocular surface irritation, and overall general health support.

Case study:

Below is a case example of a real life patient of mine with glaucoma (permission was granted to share his depersonalized clinical data):

I had been managing this patient’s difficult glaucoma for over 10 years.

After multiple invasive glaucoma treatments with surgery, stent implantations and laser treatments, as well as using te maximum amount of glaucoma eye drops, I eventually managed to stabilize his eye pressures.

However, his right eye was left with advanced visual field loss from glaucoma damage to the optic nerve.

October 2021

He only had 25% of his visual field remaining in October 2021, but at least his eye pressure remained at 12 mmHg.

Advanced visual field loss

May 2023

His eye pressures remained good at 12 mmHg and he was using his eye drops faithfully as instructed.

Progressed visual field loss

But his visual field test result had worsened drastically! It had deteriorated to 15% as compared to 25% a mere 18 months back.

I has highly concerned that at this rate, he would go blind within 2 to 3 years.

I wasn’t sure what to do. He was not particularly keen on a sixth eye operation (and to be honest, neither was I) and he was already using all the glaucoma eye drops possible.

I realized that to combat his glaucoma effectively and prevent him from going blind fast, I had to also target the other key biocellular mechanisms and pathways that contribute to glaucoma damage.

And that’s when I started him on Nutravision.

September 2023

When I reviewed him nearly four months later, his eye pressure still remained consistent at 12 mmHg.

Improved visual field after Nutravision

His visual field test result though, was incredible! Not only did his visual field not get worse, it had actually improved to 27%!

Blindness is no longer a foregone conclusion for him now that he is continuing with both his medical and natural treatments for glaucoma.

In summary:

This case study serves to show how effective the correct supplements can be in targeting the key biocellular risks of glaucoma and improving visual outcomes.

So is Nutravision the best natural glaucoma treatment to complement your existing glaucoma therapy? In my biased opinion as a huge fan, the answer is a resounding yes.

Nutravision is now available for purchase online.

Don’t forget…

Every individual is different, with different health profiles, metabolic needs, and risk factors. Individual results to vitamin nutrients will therefore vary, and not everyone will achieve the same results when taking supplements for glaucoma.

While the aim is to stabilize glaucoma and prevent further vision loss, sometimes the visual field will still continue to deteriorate but hopefully at a slower rate.

Please do not always expect to see an improvement in your visual field. If an improvement does occur, then this is truly a blessing to be grateful for.

Whether or not you choose Nutravision or any other glaucoma neuroprotection vitamin, this must not replace the treatment that has already been prescribed by your eye specialist.

Neuroprotection should occur alongside and complementary to your existing glaucoma treatment.

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