It’s one of the ironies of getting older.
On one hand, we see life from a much clearer perspective.
But meanwhile, what we’re LITERALLY seeing with our eyes gets fuzzier and fuzzier as time goes by!
And while it’s normal for your eyesight fade a bit as you age, it also could be an early warning sign of a more serious condition, like glaucoma.
Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of blindness in this country. And once you’re over 60, you’re SIX times more likely to suffer from this vision killer.
Age and family history have been blamed as risk factors -- but up until now, we didn’t know what set off the high intra-ocular pressure that’s a hallmark of the disease.
And now, a new study claims that glaucoma is actually an autoimmune disease!
If it’s true, knowing the TRUE root cause of glaucoma will help us treat it better and prevent it from occurring in the first place.
But it may not change how we relieve that excessive pressure in your eyes – which I’ll get to in a moment.
In this latest study, MIT and Massachusetts Eye and Ear researchers found that mice with glaucoma had T-cells that were attacking special proteins in the retina that typically protect the eye from stress and injury.
We see that happen in autoimmune diseases all the time: Your immune system goes haywire and “turns” on healthy tissue as though it’s an infection.
Normally, T-cells can’t get into the retina -- thanks to the blood-retina barrier. But when the pressure skyrockets, it somehow opens the door to an immune response that would not normally occur.
And to make sure that this problem wasn’t limited to mice, the researchers tested people. And found that folks with glaucoma had FIVE TIMES more haywire T cells!
What strikes me most about this study is that even when intra-ocular pressure was relieved, the symptoms of glaucoma didn’t necessarily get better. In some cases, the disease worsened.
And that confirms what we previously knew about glaucoma – that the pressure is a symptom and not the cause.
There are a few nutritional and natural therapies that may be able to help reverse it. And eliminating food allergies is a good first step.
Research has also shown that daily use of fish oil (I recommend 1 tablespoonful daily) and high quantities of vitamin C (10 to 35 grams daily, split into three to four doses) can help reduce high intra-ocular pressure.
And both magnesium (250 milligrams daily) and standardized extracts of ginkgo biloba (40 milligrams three times daily) have been found to improve vision in folks with glaucoma.