Glaucoma

Pro­file

Glau­coma is a con­di­tion in which the pres­sure of fluid in the eye­ball increases, lead­ing to blurred vision, dam­aged optic nerves and even­tual loss of vision. Fluid called aqueus humour is pro­duced in the pos­te­rior cham­ber of the eye­ball (behind the pupil) and then passes through the pupil into the ante­rior cham­ber, before drain­ing out through out­flow chan­nels above and below the eye­ball. When the fluid cre­ated in the pos­te­rior cham­ber builds up at a faster rate than it can drain through the iris into the ante­rior cham­ber (in front of the pupil) and out through the out­flow chan­nels, a con­di­tion of glau­coma becomes known. Gen­er­ally, intraoc­u­lar pres­sure (in the ante­rior cham­ber) exceed­ing 20–22 mm will tend to indi­cate the problem.

Glau­coma has become increas­ingly com­mon and is linked with the explo­sion of dia­betes across the world. In Amer­ica, approx­i­mately two mil­lion peo­ple suf­fer the con­di­tion. Nearly two per­cent of peo­ple over forty have the dis­or­der in the US, and by age sev­enty, over ten per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion suf­fer the con­di­tion – one of the major causes of blind­ness in adults in the west­ern world today.

Glau­coma has three recog­nised types: open-angle (chronic), closed-angle (acute), and sec­ondary. In open-angled glau­coma, fluid does not drain rapidly enough from the ante­rior cham­ber, cre­at­ing a build-up of pres­sure, lead­ing even­tu­ally to optic nerve dam­age and a pro­gres­sive loss of vision. This dis­or­der occurs usu­ally in both eyes and is the more grad­ual and pro­gres­sive of the three types.

Closed-angle glau­coma is when the out­flow chan­nels abruptly become con­stricted or blocked, caus­ing a sud­den rise in pres­sure. Some­times, con­di­tions which cause the pupil to dilate will squeeze off the out­flow chan­nels in those with the con­di­tion, lead­ing to acute attacks.

Sec­ondary glau­coma occurs when another con­di­tion results in dam­age to the eye (infec­tion, tumour, inflam­ma­tion, uveitis, eye injury, eye surgery, etc.) which causes the effects described in glau­coma. Cor­ti­cos­teroid drugs, such as pred­nisone, have a noto­ri­ous propen­sity for weak­en­ing col­la­gen struc­tures (see below) and should be avoided by all glau­coma patients. In these cases, the pri­mary con­di­tion should be treated as a priority.

Symp­toms

Open-angle (chronic) glau­coma: Increased pres­sure in both eyes often pro­duces no symp­toms, but as the con­di­tion devel­ops, dis­tor­tion of periph­eral vision may occur, includ­ing see­ing haloes around elec­tric lights. Mild headaches. Adap­ta­tion to the dark becomes more dif­fi­cult. Tun­nel vision begins to develop (an inabil­ity to view objects in the periph­eral arc, only straight ahead), and blind spots may occur in the vision field.

Closed-angle (acute) glau­coma: Symp­toms occur sud­denly, in ‘attacks’, which are usu­ally fore­warned with symp­toms sim­i­lar to open-angle glau­coma (above). An extended attack occurs after a few hours of the vague symp­toms, and may include severe headache, nau­sea, vom­it­ing, and a throb­bing pain in the eye (usu­ally one side only). The pupil appears mod­er­ately dilated and fixed and does not react appro­pri­ately when light is shone on it. The eye­lid swells and red­dens, and the affected eye becomes red and watery. The patient will com­plain of blurred vision. Each suc­ces­sive attack may cause a fur­ther, pro­gres­sive loss of vision.

Tra­di­tional treatments

Usu­ally the con­di­tion is diag­nosed by an oph­thal­mol­o­gist or optometrist who recog­nises the tell-tale signs. Typ­i­cally, eye-drops will be pre­scribed, as well as beta-blockers, and other med­ica­tions which var­i­ously restrict the pro­duc­tion of aque­ous humour or improve out­flow. How­ever no med­ica­tion claims to cure the dis­or­der. The Merck Man­ual admits mod­ern med­i­cine does not know the pre­cise cause of glau­coma, it appears to ‘run in the fam­ily’. So do bad diets. Surgery (drainage or fil­ter­ing oper­a­tions) may also be used to mod­ify the out­flow chan­nels and eye struc­ture (includ­ing cut­ting part of the iris) to relieve pres­sure in the most acute cases.

Com­men­tary

Glau­coma is pri­mar­ily found in those suf­fer­ing from mal­nu­tri­tion, specif­i­cally in the way the tough, elas­tic, fibrous mate­r­ial col­la­gen has not formed cor­rectly in the sup­port­ing struc­tures of the patient’s eyes.1 Col­la­gen, as we have seen in other dis­or­ders like heart dis­ease and scurvy, is directly depen­dent upon ade­quate intakes of vit­a­mins C, D, E and sup­port­ing amino acids, such as lysine and pro­line, in order to form cor­rectly (see Heart Dis­ease). In the absence of sus­tained lev­els of these nutri­ents, an early form of scurvy devel­ops as the col­la­gen dis­in­te­grates, man­i­fest­ing itself in many dif­fer­ent con­di­tions around the body treated by dif­fer­ent spe­cial­ists. Per­haps the spe­cial­ist, fac­tioned nature of today’s med­i­cine is why an overview of the patient’s gen­eral state of health and nutri­tion is often not taken into account and the obvi­ous causes missed.2

Take action!

A pro­gres­sive nutri­tional pro­gram aimed at a) reduc­ing intraoc­u­lar pres­sure and b) build­ing up the col­la­gen matrix in the body is the way to go. Aller­gies and food intol­er­ances also increase fluid pres­sure and so these need to be iden­ti­fied and treated in the appro­pri­ate manner.

Please note that acute glau­coma is a seri­ous mat­ter and an oph­thal­mol­o­gist should be con­sulted imme­di­ately. Seri­ous and per­ma­nent dam­age to eye­sight may result in a mat­ter of days if emer­gency steps are not taken to treat the condition.

The reg­i­men below is designed to treat col­la­gen matrix prob­lems in the body, as well as for­tify the immune sys­tem and pro­vide proper nutri­tion over an extended period of time. It should be rig­or­ously adhered to. You will note that this regime bears a sim­i­lar­ity to the heart dis­ease pro­to­col, as the lat­ter is also a col­la­gen prob­lem in the major­ity of cases.

  • DIET: COMMENCE THE FOOD FOR THOUGHT LIFESTYLE REGIMEN, ensur­ing a robust intake of fresh, organic fruits and veg­eta­bles. 90% of the food should be organic and plant-based, 90% eaten raw. Take spe­cial note of the Foods to avoid sec­tion
  • DIET: Ensure at least 6 oz (1 cup­ful) of fer­mented veg­eta­bles is ingested per day to pro­vide tril­lions of colony-forming bac­te­ria for the bowel
  • DIET: Veg­etable juices should be lib­er­ally employed
  • VITAL: Increase water intake to A MINIMUM OF four pints (2 litres) per day
  • VITAL: Half a tea­spoon (tsp) of unre­fined sea salt or, best, Himalayan salt for every ten glasses of water, taken straight into the mouth in the morn­ing (NOT sodium chlo­ride, an indus­trial poi­son). Sprin­kle a few flakes on your tongue and allow to melt upon retiring
  • RESTORING NUTRIENT BALANCE: COMMENCE THE BASIC SUPPLEMENT PROGRAM, ensur­ing:
  • Vit­a­min C com­plex, 20–30 g per day in divided doses (see A Guide to Nutri­tional Sup­ple­ments: Vit­a­min C before taking)
  • Astax­an­thin, 2–4 x 4 mg per day, or as directed
  • Opti­mise vit­a­min D-3 serum level to 150 nmol/L (see A Guide to Nutri­tional Sup­ple­ments: Vit­a­min D-3 before taking)
  • Vit­a­min E, 800 — 1200 IU per day

  • Chromium, 200–400 mcg per day
  • Lysine and pro­line, as directed
  • Mag­ne­sium, 500 mg per day
  • Flaxseed oil, 1 tbsp per day
  • Krill oil, 2 g per day
  • EXERCISE: At least an hour, four times a week, with 20 mins with the heart-rate var­ied. Just aer­o­bic, no weight-training until advised
  • Avoid all refined foods, espe­cially sugar, alco­hol and items to which the patient may be sensitive
  • REST: Max­imise mela­tonin pro­duc­tion and boost immu­nity by review­ing sleep­ing and light­ing arrange­ments (see A Guide to Nutri­tional Sup­ple­ments: Mela­tonin)
  • EARTHING: The patient should spend fif­teen min­utes a day bare­foot on grass or a beach to allow a flow of antioxidant-acting free elec­trons into the body (see A Guide to Nutri­tional Sup­ple­ments: Earth­ing). A ground­ing bed-sheet or bed-mat is ideal for earth­ing pur­poses dur­ing sleep

 

Excerpted from Phillip Day’s The ABCs of Disease

1 Weiss, J and M Jayson, Col­la­gen in Health and Dis­ease, Churchill, Liv­ing­stone, New York: 1982, pp.388–403

2 Ten­groth B and T Ammitzboll, “Changes in the con­tent and com­po­si­tion of col­la­gen in the glau­co­ma­tous eye: Basis for a new hypoth­e­sis for the gen­e­sis of chronic, open-angle glau­coma”, Acta Oph­thamol 62 (1984): pp.999‑1008; Rohen J, “Why is intraoc­u­lar pres­sure ele­vated in chronic, sim­ple glau­coma?” Oph­thal­mol­ogy 90 (1983): pp.758–765