What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye conditions in which the optic nerve is damaged where it leaves the eye. Glaucoma is one of the world’s leading causes of blindness. In the UK, about two percent of the population over 40 have the condition (1).
How does Glaucoma affect vision?
Glaucoma involves loss of vision due to damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve carries sight images to the brain and any damage to the nerve results in damage to sight. For the eye to work properly a certain level of pressure is needed for the eye to keep its shape but if the eye pressure gets too high, it squeezes the optic nerve and kills some of the nerve fibres, which leads to sight loss. The first areas to be affected are the off-centre parts of the vision. If the glaucoma is left untreated, the damage can progress to tunnel vision and eventual loss of central vision. Usually, but not always, the damage occurs because pressure within the eye increases and presses on the nerve, which damages it (2).
What’s the latest on Omega 3 and Glaucoma?
Omega-3 is a fatty acid, contained in a variety of cold water fish species. It is found in three forms: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicoapentaenoic acid (EPA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). It has been hailed as an anti-inflammatory that can help the body in multiple ways, including benefits to the brain, blood, joints, and eyes.
Omega-3 has been shown to have a possible two-fold benefit when it comes to glaucoma: lowering eye pressure and improving retinal blood flow.
A team of researchers from LSU Health New Orleans Neuroscience Centre of Excellence has provided the first evidence that the antioxidant effect causing raised pressure in the eye can be prevented with omega 3 supplements. Researchers say that the study opens avenues of exploration highlighting the significance of omega-3 fatty acid as a potential diagnostic biomarker and as a novel treatment to prevent glaucomatous neurodegeneration (3).
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(1) Moorfields Eye Hospital: Glaucoma
*Claims for food supplements mentioned in this article are not meant for general public, but are purely for information of food supplement industry professionals. Please note that the claims are not authorised by European Food Safety Authority for use on labels or marketing materials.