Glaucoma is a complex disease that we know has multiple causes and risk factors. Historically the pressure of the eye was the only variable that was thought to be an issue, but this has proven to be incorrect.
Up to one third of glaucoma cases have normal pressure.
Over the last 30 years Dr Jim Kokkinakis has studied the evolution of glaucoma management and it has been amazing how the understanding of this important eye disease has changed.
The definition of glaucoma has been changed to a progressive optic neuropathy, which can be pressure or blood flow related.
This post is not about the intricacies of glaucoma but rather to introduce another possible variable that might be involved with a sub group of patients.
Many people over the age of 40 are taking glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate for arthritis. It seems that this supplement can improve the collagen between joints and many people perceive that their quality of life improves. With over a million arthritis sufferers in Australia is it any wonder that so many people are taking these supplements. A review article in Australian Prescriber was quite positive in the advantages of glucosamine, assuming a normal weight. Two studies were reviewed - one in Belgium and one in the Czech republic. Both studies compared patients taking glucosamine with patients taking placebo. Both studies showed that glucosamine was protective against further progression of arthritis.
A recent online publication seems to suggest that taking glucosamine could increase eye pressure and subsequently stopping it can then reduce the pressure.
This, if proven to be true is a very, very important finding.
For the time being it might be appropriate if you have been taking glucosamine to visit your eye care practitioner for a glaucoma assessment. It might be even more important if you are already being treated for glaucoma to see whether discontinuing the glucosamine helps in your management.
Being therapeutically qualified Dr Jim Kokkinakis sees many glaucoma patients. If you would like a comprehensive evaluation for glaucoma call us on (02) 9290 1899 or BOOK an APPOINTMENT ONLINE.