It is estimated that by 2020, 1 in every 25 people over the age of 40 will be diagnosed with glaucoma; a condition of the eyes where pressure gradually builds within the eye and presses against the optic nerve. If left untreated, this build-up of pressure damages the retina, optic nerve, and the lens causing eventual permanent blindness. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the United States after Macular Degeneration.
Glaucoma is most often treated with prescription eye drops that help control eye pressure by increasing drainage, reducing the production of fluid, or both, but not the underlying cause. Once you have elevated eye pressure, you are basically destined to use special eye drops for the rest of your life.
This year, I made a resolution to get all my general health boxes ticked including seeing the dentist, my general health practitioner, and the eye doctor. And, seeing as how I recently sat on and scratched my glasses after keeping them in pristine condition for the last 10 years, I decided there’s no better time than the present to schedule an eye appointment!
So, just a few weeks ago I underwent a multitude of vision tests and was diagnosed with ocular hypertension – the condition that precedes the eventual development of glaucoma.
Thanks to analyzing my raw genetic data from 23andMe, this diagnosis came as no surprise and I was ready for what having glaucoma could mean. However, what I wasn’t ready for was being put on a prescription eye drop right away when my eye pressures were less than my mother’s and aunt’s, both of whom have ocular hypertension.
Not knowing what to do, I reluctantly filled the prescription and then sat there looking at it for the next several hours. In case you were wondering, I was prescribed Xalatan/Latanoprost and the side effects, especially for someone asthmatic, are rather extensive and less than satisfactory sounding – nausea, sore and aching joints, unexplained pain in the body, rock bottom energy levels, the feeling of grit in the eye, blurred vision, troubled breathing, and a permanent change of eye color to a muddy brown.
Since I know my body and how sensitive my constitution can be, I made the decision to bypass the drops for now and see if I could find a way to control my eye pressure naturally.
I just want you to know that I am completely aware of the risks involved for not using these drops right away and don’t recommend you do this unless you are under the guidance of your ophthalmologist, but I do want to share what I’ve found in regard to using essential oils for glaucoma and hopefully being able to prevent and treat it naturally on my own at my own risk.
I plan on updating this post after my next appointment in the beginning of Sept. but for now, just know that the pressure in my left eye is 20 and the pressure in my right eye is 23. I will be providing a screen shot of my results, so stay tuned for that in the upcoming weeks!
The Best Essential Oils for Glaucoma – Prevention and Treatment
Before we get into the oils, you should know what type of glaucoma you have or are at risk for. This will greatly determine which essential oils are best to use for supporting your eye health.
There are several types of glaucoma:
1. Low-tension/normal-tension glaucoma – the optic nerve can be damaged even with low or normal eye pressure. Vision loss occurs in the peripheral vision.
2. Open-angle glaucoma – fluid does not drain properly and pressure builds in the eye over years. Symptoms may include narrowing peripheral vision, mild headaches, vague visual disturbances, and seeing halos around lights.
3. Angle-closure/closed-angle glaucoma – fluid cannot drain properly from the angle and leave the eye because it is partly blocked by the iris. Pressure may increase suddenly and include pain, redness, and blurred vision.
4. Congenital glaucoma – the individual is born with a defect in the angle of the eye where fluid cannot drain normally. Surgery can usually fix this type of glaucoma.
5. Secondary glaucoma– develops due to /injurious/medical/surgical trauma to the eyes.
6. Neovascular glaucoma – often caused by poorly treated diabetes or high blood pressure. It’s important to treat those underlying causes in order to improve neovascular glaucoma.
7. Pigmentary glaucoma – occurs when pigment is shed from the iris that then slows fluid drainage in the eye.
8. Pseudoexfoliation glaucoma – when extra material is produced and sheds, blocking drainage from the eye.
The essential oils I will be going over today are known to help control low-tension/normal tension, closed-angle, and secondary types of glaucoma as they help increase healthy circulation and drainage and help support overall eye health.
Effective Essential Oils for Controlling Glaucoma and Ocular Hypertension
According to one testimonial, a mixture of one third clove essential oil, one third lemon essential oil, and one third olive oil dabbed below and above the eyes lowered eye pressure to a 14 for one woman. I’m not sure what her original eye pressure was, but it seems like the highly antioxidant content and circulation boosting properties of both clove and lemon EO are behind the improvement.
Clove is known to be a very hot essential oil, so I would recommend properly diluting it before using in in such a high quantity. The proper dilution for clove essential oil is 0.5% and lemon is 2%.
You can read ore about properly diluting essential oils HERE.
This testimonial was found in the 9th edition of Reference Guide for Essential Oils pg. 410.
Cypress essential oil is an excellent circulatory stimulant and is believed to greatly improve the flow and drainage of fluid in the eyes, discourages fluid retention, and improves capillary strength. This will help balance eye pressure and restore nutrients to eye tissues that help protect vision.
Frankincense essential oil is known to be incredibly anti-inflammatory and helps return DNA to a healthy state. It regenerates tissues, cartilage, and bone, supports skin health, and can reverse cell degradation.
According to a few testimonials, frankincense essential oil is the holy grail EO for glaucoma prevention and treatment. One individual had her 83-year-old mother who has glaucoma for many years, apply frankincense essential oil on the orbital bone around the eyes, then cup her anointed hands over her eye for 60 seconds once daily. With 6 months of treatment, her pressures went down to a 12.
Again, I don’t know the original eye pressures, but for reference, high pressure is considered to be a 21 and above so this sounds very promising! You can read the testimonial here.
The second testimonial I found was a 50-year-old woman with high pressures ranging from 23-24. She began using frankincense essential oil (3 drops on the heels of her hands placed over her closed eye for 5 minutes every day. Her pressured started going down slightly. She then made a mixture of grapeseed oil and frankincense essential oil (dilution unknown), and began applying it 3-4 times daily on and around her eyes, including the face and throat. She did this consistently for 4 months and her eye pressures lowered to 16-19. You can read this testimonial in the comments section here.
This same site goes on to say that applying 2-3 drops of frankincense essential oil on the cheeks and lateral eye area (I recommend dilution it first to 2%) both morning and evening garners astonishing results.
Frankincense is going to be the main essential oil I use for controlling my ocular hypertension, so I’m really excited to try it after reading these testimonials!
Helichrysum essential oil is one of the best oils to use for regenerating tissues and nerves, supporting liver health, and improving circulation. It is for these reasons that helichrysum is considered a must have oil for those with glaucoma or general ocular hypertension. It is also one of the few essential oils known to improve vision.
Lemongrass essential oil is known to help improve and maintain tissue health by stimulating blood flow, dilating blood vessels, and promoting oxygenation and the delivery of nutrients to cells.
Essential Oil Recipes for Glaucoma
Glaucoma Essential Oil Recipe #1
• 10ml roll-on bottle
• Carrier oil of choice (I used jojoba oil since it reacts well with my skin)
• 1 drop clove
• 1 drop lemon
• 1 drop lemongrass
• 2 drops frankincense (carteri)
• 2 drops sacred frankincense (sacra)
• 4 drops helichrysum
• 5 drops cypress
This makes about a 7% dilution which is considered therapeutic strength. Feel free to make your own dilutions that are suitable for your body.
This is the recipe I will be using to treat my own ocular hypertension.
Simply add each essential oil to an empty 10ml roll-on bottle and then fill to the shoulder with your favorite carrier oil. Cap closed and roll between the palms to mix.
Use the roll-on to apply an even layer of oil on the ocular bone all around the eye and on the eyelid. DO NOT get in it the eye as you should NEVER put essential oils in the eye directly.
Apply at least twice daily to help control eye pressure.
You can also apply these recipe to the vita flex points below:
You can learn more about how to use vita flex points properly HERE.
Glaucoma Essential Oil Recipe #2
Add the oils to an empty roll-on bottle, fill to the shoulder with carrier oil, cap closed and roll between the palms to mix.
Apply one the ocular bone and eyelid 1-3 times daily.
Recipe found in Essential Oils Integrative Medical Guide pg. 352
Glaucoma Essential Oil Recipe #3
Add the essential oils to an empty roll-on bottle, fill to the shoulder with carrier oil, cap closed and roll between the palms to mix.
Apply to the ocular bone and eyelids 1-3 times daily.
Recipe found in Essential Oils Integrative Medical Guide pg. 352
What have been your best essential oils for glaucoma? Please share in the comments below!
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