Vision is an integral part of the human experience. Experiencing colors, lights, and the beauty of nature are all important in our lives.
Unfortunately, as we move into later life, there are medical problems that can affect our vision in disturbing ways.
Eyesight loss has long been associated with aging, and the chief reason for this is glaucoma.
Glaucoma As An Illness of Eyes
Glaucoma, which is caused by excess pressure in the eyes can eventually lead to blindness or reduced visual acuity, so it’s important to treat this condition as quickly as you can in order to save your vision.
So what exactly is glaucoma? According to the National Eye Institute , glaucoma is an eye condition that results in too much pressure in the eye; and as a result, optic nerve has become damaged.
Typically, the cause of this damage stems from an overabundance of aqueous humor, which is the fluid in between the lens and the cornea. Age is often a risk factor for the condition, and the typical glaucoma age starts after 40.
Typically, this fluid, which is in the front of the eye drains through the trabecular meshwork, which is a spongy part of the eye that helps regulate the liquid.
When this drainage is prevented, the pressure inside the eye starts to build and gradually optic nerve damage ensues.The signs and symptoms of glaucoma on vision are varied. Some patients will experience a blurring on the peripheral parts of the vision.
When glaucoma blurred vision occurs, sufferers can see fine directly in front of them, but will have issues seeing out of the corners of their eyes.Other glaucoma sufferers, on the other hand, will experience acute eye pain and or halos around light sources that can be disorienting.
Some glaucoma symptoms in women and men also include nausea and vomiting. Unfortunately, effects of glaucoma on vision can often lead to total blindness, so it’s of the utmost importance to regularly receive eye exams to catch it early because the early signs of glaucoma aren’t always readily noticeable.
Glaucoma Treatment Marijuana
Fortunately, the treatment options for this condition are very strong. As a matter of fact, in another American Academy of Ophthamology report, the occurrence of blindness from this condition has been nearly halved.
The majority of texts that outline this condition agree; the best way to treat glaucoma directly is by reducing the pressure that is present in the aqueous humor.
This is typically done via drugs and this treatment tends to be very effective if caught early. The majority of these drug treatments provide 24 hour control of intraocular eye pressure.
In 1979, a series of reports were released by organizations like the National Eye Institute, which is a division of the federal National Institutes of Health.
Many of these reports, such as one in particular, which was spearheaded by noted ophthalmologist Dr. Albert Lockhart, found that cannabis or marijuana was a viable treatment for the eye pressure issues that result from glaucoma.
As of late, there has been a string of legalizations for medical and casual weed usage. Today, there are 25 states that allow for the medical possession of some forms of the drug.
In addition to these, some states even allow for the personal usage of the drug for recreational purposes.
Currently, legalization of marijuana in any form is still a hot button issue in many states and districts, but many state governments have been voting on the legalization of both recreational and medical versions of the drug.
How Medical Marijuana Works to Fight Glaucoma
1. Reducing Intraocular Pressure. As stated previously, one of the best ways to treat the devastating effects of glaucoma on your vision is to reduce the pressure in the eyes.
When excess pressure occurs, medical grade marijuana is a great way to reduce the most problematic of eye glaucoma symptoms.
According the National Academic Press, using recreational marijuana, on the other hand, isn’t the best way to reduce the intraocular pressure because of the effects of the drug on judgment and the fact that this type of marijuana only will relieve pressure within the eye for about three or four hours.
Medical grade marijuana doesn’t feature the judgment impairing side effect of the recreational drug, though there is a risk of addiction.
2. As an intraocular pressure reliever. Medical grade cannabis has been noted to work at its highest efficiency when coupled with Timolol; a medication used to manage eye pressure health. Unfortunately, the combination drug Cantimol hasn’t been approved by the FDA as of yet.
3. As a Miotic Drug. Mydriasis is a condition experienced by glaucoma sufferers, which causes the pupil to dilate greatly. When this dilation occurs, the muscle tissue in the iris, which is known as the dilator papillae begins to contract. This can cause visible iris bulging and headache symptoms.
It is believed by eye health professionals that mydriasis is also the chief cause of glaucoma red eyes and glaucoma eye pain.
The polar opposite of mydiasis is miosis, which is the constriction of the pupils. When the pupil constricts, it allows for better drainage of the aqueous humor through the trabecular meshwork. Thus, drugs that promote this type of constriction are a great way to treat glaucoma-related mydriasis and cannabis just happens to have miotic properties.
4. As an Anti-Inflammatory Drug. Physicians are beginning to suspect that the etiology of glaucoma might be inflammation of the trabecular meshwork, which reduces its drainage capacity, which in turn, leads to glaucoma-indicative pressure buildup.
There is also a form of glaucoma that is known as inflammatory glaucoma that is caused by inflammation of the uvea, which is the part of the eye that houses the iris and the cilia around this eye component.
Fortunately, this is another of the symptoms of glaucoma that medical marijuana can effectively treat. Though there have been no formal studies proving this clinically, it’s long been suspected that marijuana is an effective anti-inflammatory drug. Many marijuana users who suffer from inflammatory glaucoma have experienced relief after taking cannabis.
5. As an Analgesic. One form of this condition, known as closed-angle glaucoma or CAG, can be terribly painful for glaucoma sufferers.
Glaucoma symptoms pain from this version of the eye disorder causes the person with the condition to feel sharp stabbing pains inside the material of their eyes.
As a matter of fact, this level of pain can also manifest sudden, potentially permanent blindness, so medical attention is required immediately upon the onset of these glaucoma symptons.
Closed-angle glaucoma is a version of the condition that produces immediate and painful glaucoma symptoms, rather than the chronic problems caused by the most common form of the condition.
Fortunately, medical marijuana can be used to treat the conditions of this form of glaucoma as well. Since this condition is actually caused by a complete blockage at the aqueous humor draining trabecular meshwork, rather than a reduction of drainage capabilities, an analgesic drug can and will provide a degree of subjective relief for this form of glaucoma.
Marijuana has long been known for its analgesic properties, it also has the ability to relax muscles, so administering the drug to closed-angle glaucoma can reduce the pain and relax the intraocular muscles.
As a Treatment for Nausea or Headaches: Nausea and glaucoma headache symptoms are common for those who suffer from the painful closed-angle version of glaucoma.
This is the result of what is called the oculoemetic reflex. This reflex is caused by the surrounding orbital nerves experiencing pain, this in turn causes signals to be sent to the brain that actually can cause nausea, headaches, and vomiting.
The THC component of medical and recreational marijuana seems to inhibit this reaction by agonizing an important receptor of the brain that controls the vomiting reaction. It fights headaches by activating another set of receptors; the CB2 receptors to be exact, which directly treats migraines.
We hope that this article has helped you understand what is glaucoma symptoms and how medical marijuana can be used to treat these issues successfully.
This type of treatment plan is controversial, it took many decades for cannabis to even be considered at all in the treatment of any condition, but now it’s being considered for treatment of ALS, glaucoma, multiple schlerosis, cancer, and a bevy of other conditions.
A self treatment regimen is never in your best interests, so if you feel that you are experiencing the symptoms of any of the forms of glaucoma that we’ve outlined here, consult a medical.
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