Glaucoma and CBD

Overview

It’s estimated that 480,000 people in England have glaucoma. We want to look at glaucoma and CBD and how the two may work together.

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a common eye condition in which the optic nerve, this is connected to the brain, becomes damaged. This damage is typically caused when fluid builds up in the front section of the eye. This build up of fluid then increases pressure inside the eye. If left untreated and undiagnosed, the condition can lead to loss of vision.

eye, glaucoma, cbd for glaucoma

Symptoms of glaucoma

Glaucoma doesn’t tend to cause any symptoms to begin with. the condition develops slowly over many years; it may affect the edges of your vision first (peripheral vision). Because there are no symptoms at first many people don’t realise they have glaucoma and it’s often only picked up during a routine eye test.

 

Occasionally glaucoma develops suddenly and causes;

  • Intense eye pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • A red eye
  • Headaches
  • Tenderness around the eyes
  • Seeing rings around lights
  • Blurred vision

Causes of glaucoma

Glaucoma may develop for a number of reasons in most cases it develops from a build-up of pressure in the eye when fluid is unable to drain properly. This increase in pressure leads to damage to the nerve which connects the eye tithe brain.

It’s unclear as to whether there is anything that may be done to prevent glaucoma, but having regular eye tests will help pick it up quickly.

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Types of glaucoma

There are several types of glaucoma, yet the most common is primary open angle glaucoma. This type develops slowly over many years. It’s caused by the drainage channels in the eyes becoming clogged over time.

The other types of glaucoma are;

  • Acute angle closure glaucoma – this is an uncommon type of glaucoma, caused by the drainage in the eye becoming suddenly blocked, which can raise the pressure inside the eye quickly.
  • Secondary glaucoma – caused by an underlying eye condition, such as inflammation of the eye.
  • Childhood glaucoma – this is a rare type that occurs in very young children.

Treatments for glaucoma

Unfortunately, it is not possible to reverse any loss of vision that occurs before glaucoma was diagnosed, yet some treatments may help to prevent your vision getting worse.

The treatments recommended will differ from person to person and the type of glaucoma they have. Some common options are:

  • Eye drops
  • Laser treatment
  • Surgery

Eye drops

Eye drops are the main treatment for the condition. They work by reducing the pressure that has built up in the eyes. People tend to try a few different types of eye drops before finding the one that works best for them. Yet, eye drops don’t come without side effects. Eye drops may cause some unpleasant side effects such as eye irritation. As well as this, some eye drops are not suitable for people with certain underlying conditions.

Laser treatment

Laser treatment is suggested if the eye drops don’t improve the symptoms. During a laser treatment a high-energy beam of light is carefully aimed at part of your eye to stop fluid building up inside it.

Surgery

Surgery is only recommended in very rare cases when the different eye drops and laser treatment aren’t effective. The common type of surgery for the condition is called trabeculectomy. This type of surgery involves removing part of the eye-draining tubes to allow fluid to drain easier.

 

There are less common types of surgery for glaucoma these include;

  • Trabeculotomy – this is similar to a trabeculectomy, but instead an electric current is used to remove a small part of the eye-drained tubes.
  • Viscocanalostomy – part of the white outer covering of the eyeball is removed so fluid can drain from your eye easily.
  • Deep sclerectomy – the drainage tubes in your eye are widened, this is often done by implanting a tiny device inside them.
  • Trabecular stent bypass – this is a tiny tube placed into the eye to increase the drainage of fluid.

The recovery time for these types of surgeries are relatively short, around 6 weeks, and a person’s vision may be slightly blurred.

Despite these treatments having no serious side effects, people may not want to have surgery or the eye drops option may not be working with them. Research on CBD shows that it may be a natural aid for people with glaucoma.

How does CBD work for glaucoma?

Learn more on what CBD is and how it works within our bodies 

How does CBD work for glaucoma?

Even though CBD is known for being a natural alternative for many medications for a variety of different conditions, glaucoma is not one of them. Unfortunately, it isn’t something that medical cannabis may fix directly. CBD is a natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory compound. These properties may aid a person who has glaucoma by relieving some pain felt with the condition and any inflammation caused.

Medical cannabis is a well-known “neuroprotector” and shows that it may protect the optic nerve in glaucoma[1]. A neuroprotector is a mechanism and strategy which aim to protect the nervous system from any injury or damage. Based on research about CBD and glaucoma, adding CBD to the normal glaucoma treatment regime will help to prevent further optic nerve damage.

 

 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14578199