When you are diagnosed with glaucoma or exhibit symptoms of this eye disease, it's always a good idea to do some research to prepare yourself for what may occur. Unfortunately, in addition to a lot of good information on the subject, there are quite a few myths floating around that could result in a poor outcome for you if you believe them. Here's the truth behind three of the most common inaccuracies about glaucoma.
Marijuana is an Effective Treatment for Glaucoma
Glaucoma is caused by high intraocular pressure that damages the nerves in the eyes, leading to loss of peripheral vision and eventually blindness if left untreated. The best way to prevent the progression of the disease is to get eye pressure under control. While marijuana has been proven to reduce intraocular pressure, it is not the best treatment for this disease for a number of reasons.
The primary issue at hand is that cannabis's effect on intraocular pressure is short-lived, lasting only 3 to 4 hours. Eye pressure must be regulated 24 hours a day, which mean you would have to consume cannabis 6 to 8 times a day for maximum benefit. In comparison, Betaxolol ophthalmic drops only need to be applied twice per day, meaning each dose lasts 12 hours.
Because of marijuana's mind-altering effect, taking so much of it to treat glaucoma would likely inhibit your ability to function. Although medical cannabis is legal in many states, you can still be fired from your job for imbibing it, regardless of the fact you're using it to treat a medical condition. Lastly, the smoke from a cannabis cigarette may damage eyes, and long-term use can lead to other medical problems such as lung cancer, dry mouth, tooth decay, and psychosis.
In short, marijuana does work to reduce intraocular pressure, but it's not the most effective treatment available because of its long-term effects of increased consumption that is required to treat glaucoma.
Only Diabetics Get Glaucoma
When people speak about glaucoma, it's often in reference to being one of the side effects of diabetes. So it's understandable why this myth is so prevalent. The truth is, while diabetes significantly increases your risk of developing this disease, glaucoma can affect anyone; even people who have 20/20 vision.
As noted previously, glaucoma is caused by high intraocular pressure, which can be the result from any number of physiological problems. For example, people with hypertension are also susceptible to getting glaucoma. Poor circulation can also contribute to the development of this disease, because the problem may result in narrow blood vessels that make it difficult for fluid to enter and leave the eyes freely. Some people are born with pressure-sensitive ocular nerves that are easily damaged even when intraocular pressure is at normal levels.
Anyone can develop glaucoma, which is why it's critical you have your eyes tested on a regular basis. Early detection can help you take steps that slow the progression of the disease and save your eyesight.
Herb/Natural Remedy/Homeopathic Tincture Will Cure It
Alternative medicine can be used to alleviate the symptoms of many diseases, including glaucoma. However, as of yet, there is no cure for this disease in either alternative or mainstream medicine. Glaucoma causes nerve damage, which is irreversible. Treatment can slow the progression of the glaucoma, but those damaged nerves cannot be repaired using the medical technology available today.
It's important to understand this before opting to use an alternative medicine that claims to cure the disease. Not only are you likely wasting your money, but you could be making the problem worse by using products that may not have been properly researched or evaluated for safety.
For more information about these myths or to get your eyes tested for glaucoma, contact an optometrist near you.