Glaucoma affects around half a million people in the UK. This common condition causes damage to the optic nerve, leading to potentially significant issues with eyesight. Typically occurring due to a build-up of fluid, the condition can have a drastic impact on quality of life.
While there are effective ways to treat glaucoma that help patients regain normal vision, they can be invasive. However, according to various studies there could be an alternative treatment option in the form of cannabis.
So, could cannabis really help treat glaucoma? Find out everything you need to know below…
Studies into cannabis and glaucoma
A variety of studies have been carried out to determine the effectiveness of cannabis to treat glaucoma. So far, results have been positive, showing the herb can help to reduce the pressure within the eye. However, there are conflicting opinions, with the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) advising against its use as a potential treatment.
The reason there are conflicting opinions is down to the size of previous studies. They have so far been small, which means there is limited data available to back up the claims.
In the US, some patients are already taking medical cannabis to help treat their glaucoma. Some claim it helps, while others haven’t experienced any benefits at all.
There is a need for additional research before it can be recommended as a viable treatment option. However, initial results from research carried out do show promise it could work.
Using cannabis to treat glaucoma
According to initial results, cannabis presents a number of benefits when it is used to treat glaucoma. These include:
- It can potentially reduce Intraocular pressure (IOP)
- It may promote blood flow to the eye
The goal of any glaucoma treatment is to reduce IOP. This helps to decrease the risk of the condition, as well as ease the symptoms. Cannabis, or specifically CBD, has shown in some studies to reduce IOP, helping patients to find relief from the symptoms.
Studies carried out on animals have also shown that cannabis can help to promote blood flow to the eyes. This can help to prevent nerve damage, as well as reduce the negative impacts of the condition.
However, it is important to note that there are risks and side effects associated with taking cannabis to treat glaucoma. For example, it could even worsen the condition. So, until there is further scientific evidence to support its use, it is better to consider other treatment options.
Glaucoma can co-exist with cataracts – but special consideration would be needed when treating both conditions. Importantly, there is no scientific evidence that cannabis has any influence on cataracts, and surgery remains the best treatment option.
What current glaucoma treatments are available?
CBD has only recently been made legal to treat certain conditions in the UK. However, it isn’t widely available, especially in the treatment of glaucoma. Patients with the condition are advised to speak to an experienced eye specialist. Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon, Mr Zaid Shalchi can discuss your options with you.
Treatments currently available to patients include eye drops, laser treatment, and surgery. The type of treatment required will depend upon the severity of the condition. Keep in mind that when left untreated, glaucoma will worsen.
To ensure you receive the correct treatment, book a consultation with Mr Zaid Shalchi today.