Muscat: A study at Sultan Qaboos University reveals that some natural products including turmeric, saffron and caffeine can be useful in treating glaucoma.
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness. It is generally caused by increased intraocular pressure, which results in damage to the optic nerve and retinal ganglion cells, ultimately leading to visual field dysfunction.
“However, even with the use of intraocular pressure-lowering eye drops, the disease still progresses in some patients. In addition to mechanical and vascular dysfunctions of the eye, oxidative stress, neuro inflammation and excitotoxicity have also been responsible for the pathogenesis of glaucoma,” the research said.
“Hence, the use of natural products with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may represent an alternative approach for glaucoma treatment. The present review highlights recent preclinical and clinical studies on various natural products shown to possess neuro-protective properties for retinal ganglion cells, which thereby may be effective in the treatment of glaucoma,” they added.
The study revealed: “Intraocular pressure can be reduced by baicalein, forskolin, marijuana, ginsenoside, resveratrol and hesperidin. Alternatively, Ginkgo biloba, Lycium barbarum, Diospyros kaki, Tripterygium wilfordii, saffron, curcumin, caffeine, anthocyanin, coenzyme Q10 and vitamins B3 and D have shown neuroprotective effects on retinal ganglion cells via various mechanisms, especially antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptosis mechanisms.”
“Extensive studies are still required in the future to ensure natural products’ efficacy and safety to serve as an alternative therapy for glaucoma,” the research concluded.