Glaucoma Treatment

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of diseases of the eye which progressively steals ones sight and without warning. The scary thing about Glaucoma is that in the early stages of its disease., one may not experience any symptoms. It is proposed that half of those with Glaucoma may not even realise that they have it.  There is no known cure as of yet, though management of Glaucoma is possible with treatment. Glaucoma treatment may include medication or surgery to prevent further vision loss. Vision loss is caused by damage to the optic nerve. This nerve has over a million wires and it acts much like an electric cable. The optic nerve is responsible for transporting images from the eye to the brain.
  • Glaucoma is among the leading causes of blindness in the world
  • Glaucoma affects more than 60 million individuals worldwide

Symptoms of Glaucoma

  • Unusual trouble adjusting visually to a darkened room
  • Difficulty focusing on near or distant objects
  • Squinting due to unusually sensitive response to light or glare
  • Change in colour of iris
  • Recurrent pain in or around eyes
  • Double vision
  • Dark spot at the center of viewing area
  • Excess tearing or “watery eyes”
  • Sudden loss of vision in one eye
  • Hazy and blurred vision

Causes of Glaucoma

A leading cause of optic nerve damage due to glaucoma is intraocular pressure (IOP), which may be reduced by use of medical cannabis. Individuals with normal IOP can also lose vision due to glaucoma. In these cases, medical cannabis may help to halt or reverse deterioration making this glaucoma treatment one worth trying.

Adult glaucoma has two categories—open angle glaucoma and closed angle glaucoma.

Types of Glaucoma

  • Primary Open Angle Glaucoma
  • Angle Closure Glaucoma
  • Normal Tension Glaucoma (NTG)
  • Secondary Glaucoma
  • Pediatric Glaucoma

Everyone is at risk for glaucoma, yet there is a group defined for their higher risk potential.

  • African-Americans are afflicted with Glaucoma 6-8x more than Caucasians.
  • People Over 60 are 6x more likely to get Glaucoma
  • Genetics mean that if you have family members with Glaucoma, there is a 4-10x increased risk for developing it
  • Older Hispanics
  • Asians are at a greater risk for angle closure glaucoma
  • Those who use steroids have been studied to have a 40% increase in ocular hypertensions
  • Eye injury has the potential to cause a secondary open angle glaucoma

Other Risk Factors.

  • high myopia (nearsightedness)
  • diabetes
  • hypertension
  • Central corneal thickness less than .5 mm.

Statistics: Population diagnosed with Glaucoma in Australia

  • One in 10 Australians over 80 will develop glaucoma.
  • First degree relatives of glaucoma patients have an 8-fold increased risk of developing the disease.
  • At present, 50% of people with glaucoma in Australia are undiagnosed.

Medical Cannabis Treatment for Glaucoma

Medical cannabis primary benefit for glaucoma patients is its effect on intraocular pressure (IOP). In one study, more than 80% of patients who smoked marijuana using an ice-cooled water pipe experienced a reduction in IOP of 16-45%. Another study used cannabinoids contained in medicinal cannabis, and found a signficant drop in IOP in patients who took THC and cannabidiol. A third clinical trial also found that medical cannabis reduces intraocular pressure, as well as blood pressure overall.

Clinical Studies / Reference

Cannabinoids and Glaucoma

Neuroprotective effect of (-)Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol in N-methyl-D-aspartate-induced retinal neurotoxicity: involvement of peroxynitrite.

Effect of sublingual application of cannabinoids on intraocular pressure: a pilot study.