Blood Flow & Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a leading cause of vision loss that affects millions of Americans. It is not a singular disease — rather, it is a group of diseases characterized by damage to the optic nerve, or the nerve that carries information from the eye to the brain.
To date, the most widely known risk factor for glaucoma is elevated intraocular pressure, which occurs when there is an imbalance between the amount of fluid the eye produces and the amount of fluid the eye can drain. However, doctors have long suspected that although elevated eye pressure is important, it is not the only factor at play.
How else can they account for the patients whose glaucoma seemingly never progressed despite elevated intraocular pressure? Or patients with normal-tension glaucoma who have developed glaucomatous damage despite intraocular pressure levels within an acceptable range?
According to a growing body of research, there appears to be another systemic source of ocular nerve damage: blood flow problems.
How Does Ocular Blood Flow Affect Glaucoma Progression?
Ocular perfusion pressure, or the relationship between eye pressure and systemic blood pressure, has been identified as a potential threat to the health of the optic nerve. When blood pressure is low, blood has a hard time traveling to the eye’s cells to supply them with the oxygen and nutrients they need to thrive. Blood also has difficulty carrying away waste products from the eye’s cells. With less blood and less oxygenation, the optic nerve tissue can suffer damage over time.
Even patients with eye pressure within an acceptable range may have problems with blood flow to the eye if their blood pressure is low enough or they are over-treating high blood pressure with medications.
Factors that are known to compromise blood flow include obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, low nocturnal blood pressure, Flammer syndrome and low intracranial pressure.
Improving Ocular Blood Flow
Based on the literature, improving blood flow may play a critical role in protecting patients whose glaucoma seems to progress in spite of lowering intraocular pressure. Improving blood flow helps the ocular cells get the oxygen and nutrients they need to function properly and thrive, and helps carry toxic waste away from the eyes.
Nutritional therapy has emerged as a potentially promising solution. In the past few years, researchers have been investigating the effects of specific organic ingredients on ocular blood flow and the results have been encouraging. Some studies show that as little as one month of oral supplementation with gingko biloba and other eye-healthy antioxidants leads to a substantial increase in blood flow and a reduction in vascular resistance upon examination of the eye’s blood vessels.
Of course, managing blood pressure through traditional therapies under the treatment of a primary care doctor is also encouraged.
If you are interested in enhancing your nutrition and protecting yourself against damage from glaucoma and other eye diseases, you should ask your eye doctor about nutritional therapy. Since certain ingredients in nutritional treatments can counteract other medications, you should only take them under the supervision of your doctor.
For more information about nutritional supplements like GlaucoCetin, please contact Guardion Health Sciences today.