A new study from the Centre for Eye Research Australia suggests natural treatments like vitamin B3 could protect optic nerve damage that causes glaucoma and blindness. The results of this world-first clinical trial were published in Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease that damages the optic nerve of the eye. It occurs when fluid accumulates in the front of the eye and increases inner eye pressure. This elevated pressure damages the optic nerve. There is no cure for glaucoma, but a comprehensive eye exam can detect glaucoma early to prevent vision loss.
Professor Jonathan Crowston and Dr. Flora Hui of Centre for Eye Research Australia conducted a recent study on patients with glaucoma. The researchers gave glaucoma patients high doses of vitamin B3 every day for 12 weeks, in addition to the patients’ daily medication to lower eye pressure. After the study, patients showed significant improvement in their vision.
“For the first time, we have shown that daily high doses of vitamin B3 can lead to early and significant improvements in patients who are also receiving traditional treatments to lower eye pressure,” Dr. Hui said. “As a safe therapy that is well tolerated by patients, vitamin B3 has potential as a clinical supplement to support patients who are receiving glaucoma treatment” (Medical Express).
Dr. Hui is optimistic that vitamin B3 can protect optic nerve cells from damage and help repair cells that have already begun to deteriorate. She compares taking daily vitamin B3 to lubricating a car engine with oil to help it run smoothly.
The next goal, Dr. Hui explained, is to conduct a larger trial to evaluate whether patients can continue to improve and slow the progression of glaucoma over time.
Should I Start Taking Vitamin B3?
Before you begin taking vitamin B3, talk to your eye doctor. Even a supplement can have side effects and risks. Your ophthalmologist can suggest natural glaucoma treatments that are best for your condition and will not interfere with your current medication. Always ask your doctor before beginning any new supplement or medicine.
Know Your Glaucoma Risk
There is no way to prevent glaucoma, and everyone can be at risk for the disease. Do you know your risk for glaucoma? Take the Glaucoma Risk Assessment to determine whether you are at elevated risk for the disease.
Schedule an annual comprehensive eye exam to get tested for glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and other eye diseases. Most eye exams take less than an hour, but they offer the lifetime benefit of healthy vision. Call your eye doctor today get on the schedule.