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Surv Ophthalmol. 2001 Jul-Aug;46(1):43-55.

Complementary and alternative medicine for glaucoma.

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  • 1Glaucoma Service, Wills Eye Hospital, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.

Abstract

Given the recent interest in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), some patients may seek such treatments to supplement their traditional glaucoma management. The prevalence of CAM use for glaucoma is approximately 5%. We reviewed the literature to determine the potential benefit of various alternative treatments. Aside from a temporary osmotic effect from high dose intravenous ascorbic acid, there is no evidence that megavitamin supplementation has a beneficial effect on glaucoma. During exercise, autoregulation in healthy eyes seems to maintain a consistent blood flow rate to the optic nerve despite fluctuations in intraocular pressure (IOP). In a glaucomatous eye, the very modest IOP-lowering that follows exercise may be offset by the initial elevation in IOP that occurs when one first initiates exercise. At this time, there is no evidence to encourage or discourage the use of special diets, acupuncture, relaxation techniques, or therapeutic touch specifically for the treatment of glaucoma. Very little research has been done on the majority of herbal remedies with regard to their treatment of glaucoma. Marijuana can cause a profound lowering of IOP, but the high nonresponse rate, short half life, and significant toxicity are strong indicators that it is not an appropriate therapeutic agent. Ginkgo biloba and some other Chinese herbal remedies do not affect IOP, but may improve blood flow to the optic nerve and, as such, may have a beneficial effect on glaucoma. These agents have recognized toxicities. Although there are some well-designed studies of alternative treatments, many of the recommendations for using alternative treatments are currently unsupported by the data provided.

PMID:
11525790
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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