Glaucoma treatments such as eye drops to lower intraocular pressure (IOP) are undeniably a modern miracle — especially for a problem which once led to certain blindness. If your doctor suggests them as an alternative to laser surgery, however, it’s important to discuss potential issues. Some people with glaucoma worry about the expense as well as possible side effects like increased blood pressure and blurred vision. Together, you and your eye doctor may decide to explore some of the natural ways to get rid of glaucoma, before advancing to more aggressive treatments.
Glaucoma Treatments | 5 Alternative Methods You Can Do
In this article:
- Boost Your Omega-3s
- Add More Antioxidant Foods to Your Diet
- Change Your Sleeping Position
- Evaluate Your Beverage Intake
- Ask About Alternative Therapies
1. Boost Your Omega-3s
Upping your intake of the “good” fatty acids known as Omega-3s will encourage eye health, particularly when it comes to age-related eye conditions. Foods rich in Omega-3 include fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, and mackerel, especially farm-raised types. (Cod and bass, while they may be good for you in other ways, are not high in Omega-3).
You’ll also find Omega-3 fortified options at the supermarket, including the eggs, milk, and yogurt labeled as such. If you’re vegan, look for fortified soy products and juice. Certain nuts and seeds — along with oils made from them — are also rich in this eye-healthy nutrient. Chia seeds, walnuts, flax seeds, flaxseed oil, and canola oils are all good sources of Omega-3.
2. Add More Antioxidant Foods to Your Diet
Chances are, if you stick to eating the often-mentioned “rainbow” of colorful fruits and vegetables, you’ll be getting a healthy intake of several antioxidant compounds. But if you’d like to focus on foods that help keep glaucoma from worsening, focus on dark, leafy greens like kale, spinach, and collards. Green tea, dark chocolate, and turmeric are also good foods and seasonings to add to your diet, in terms of glaucoma-fighting antioxidants.
In addition, seek out supplement antioxidant blends that are geared to optic nerve support, or are otherwise labeled as helpful for eye health.
3. Change Your Sleeping Position
It seems almost too good to be true, but the simple act of raising your head slightly while you sleep can help relieve IOP significantly. Doctors suggest propping your head at a 20-degree angle when turning in for the night. If you’re not sure how to achieve exactly the right angle with your normal bed pillow, don’t worry. You can easily find wedge pillows in drug stores and bedding shops and will list the angle each product provides.
4. Evaluate Your Beverage Intake
What you drink, as well as how you drink it, may be affecting your eye health more than you think. Mayo Clinic suggests limiting caffeine, which is known to increase eye pressure. Reduce your coffee and soda intake, or switch to decaffeinated versions. And remember — if you’ve added green tea to your diet, you’ll need to choose the decaf or reduced-caffeine version.
Even plain water can increase eye pressure if you drink too much of it at one time. Some people prefer to drink a large amount of their targeted water intake at one time so that they don’t forget, but those at risk of glaucoma need to be more careful. A large intake at once puts pressure on the eyes. Space out your liquids over the course of the day so you’re only sipping moderate amounts at any one time.
5. Ask About Alternative Therapies
You may have heard of melatonin only as a supplement which encourages sleep. Yet the synthesized hormone, which is available over the counter, can also significantly reduce IOP. Side effects and interactions with other medications are widely reported, however, so check with an eye doctor if you’re interested in this alternative treatment for glaucoma.
Depending on the state in which you live, medical marijuana may be one of the recognized potential glaucoma treatments. Because marijuana’s IOP-lowering effects linger for only three or four hours, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is not currently recommending it as a primary treatment. Acupuncture and meditation have also been explored, but again, consult with your eye doctor about the latest studies.
Watch this video about alternative therapies for reversing glaucoma by Dr. Edward Kondrot:
Remember, if you detect signs of worsening glaucoma after exploring alternative treatments, don’t hesitate to call your eye doctor. S/he may have additional suggestions for how to prevent glaucoma from getting worse that is non-invasive. But if surgery or medical eye drops become necessary, your doctor can guide you through the process to ensure the least intrusive effect on your eyes and your overall health — all while protecting your precious vision.
Do you know other alternative glaucoma treatments? Share them with us in the comments section below!