Conventional and Alternative Approaches


By Peter Mansfield and Wendy Finch

Raised internal pressure in the eye may or may not be a cause for alarm. Individual 'normal' pressures vary as much as individual's blood pressures so it is useful to establish what is normal for you, as a basis for identifying any trends which may develop. Vision educators entirely endorse the practice of regular testing and examination by qualified optometrists, particularly if there is a family history of glaucoma or other pre-disposing factors.

Conventional Therapy

The medical approach to glaucoma is based on removing the symptom of raised pressure which is done either by drugs, given as eye drops, or by surgery. All the drugs used are more or less habit forming and mostly have unpleasant side effects which can include loss of vision. Obviously if there is no better alternative their use may be accepted as a necessary evil.

Alternative Approaches

As with other ocular and visual conditions it is possible to view glaucoma and its precursor, raised lOP, as involving more than the eyes alone. Various combinations of relaxation techniques, homeopathic, nutritional and flower remedies have proved extremely effective at all stages of the disease. One lady in the early stages was able very quickly to normalise her pressures and entirely avoid the use of drugs. Another, in an advanced state, almost blind and in great pain experienced improved vision and complete pain relief. It can be done! PM

A Personal Experience

So they say you've got glaucoma . . . On a visit to the optician, you have a pressure test as you are over 40.

“Come back tomorrow. Nothing to worry about. I just want to check things.” Then: “Just take this letter to your GP as soon as you can”

So you do, and are referred to the local hospital's glaucoma clinic. Some weeks later, an appointment card arrives. Until now, you probably haven't thought about it much, but now worry sets in. Are you to be sentenced to eye drops for life? Will you be lasered? How high is your pressure? What are normal levels? Is your vision deteriorating already? All these stressful thoughts will make you tense, so you'll see less well even though nothing has happened yet.

At the hospital various tests are performed after the statutory waiting time. If you can, prepare yourself with questions to ask. There is information to be had, and after all they are your eyes. You need to know as much as possible to be able to make informed choices, and not be processed according to the system. Be aware that stressful situations may cause eye pressure and blood pressure to rise. The time of day is also significant, low being between 2.00 and 5.00 pm roughly. Does the doctor know what is the normal pressure for you? If not, how can he judge if it's too high or merely highish? He spends most of his working time examining damaged eyes. Does he have enough experience of undamaged or normal eyes? He has been trained to look for disease, not health. Ponder on these things!

When it is over, consider what you now know. You have survived. You can choose whether to follow instructions or not. No-one can force. you. If the verdict is "Come back in six months" fine! No need for action now. The relief will make you see better. The prescription for eye drops does not have to be used merely because it is there. Spend some time thinking, weigh the risks. Ask for more information if you need to. Then choose.

Wendy Finch

About Wendy Finch:

Wendy Finch was diagnosed with glaucoma in 1987. Other than a brief period in 1995 when she was preparing for a cataract operation, she has avoided conventional medication, preferring to address the problem with natural methods. She trained in the School of Vision Education from 1993 - 1995 and teaches the Bates Method in Cheshire and Lancashire. In addition to pure Bates work, she has experienced good results from using bilberry extract: the combination has been successful to date in keeping intra-ocular pressures within an acceptable range and with no loss of vision.

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