Glaucoma, IOP, and Herbal Extracts

 glaucoma aging seniors.The most common form of glaucoma is “open-angle” glaucoma, where the eye pressure or IOP remains higher than normal (typically 8-20 mm Hg). Eye doctors also look at changes in peripheral field typically measured with a visual fields test and any changes in the optic nerve such as optic nerve thinning or increased cupping. Ocular hypertension is diagnosed when IOP is higher than normal but there as no signs of glaucoma. In addition glaucoma can occur without high IOP, “normal or low tension glaucoma.”

The most common treatment for lowering eye pressure is the use of prescription eyedrops which either reduce the amount of aqueous fluid produced or increase the drainage. Often these eyedrops are effective in lowering eye pressure but do have unpleasant side effects for some people.

In some cases, medication can be avoided completely with natural approaches though it is essential that the patient get checked on a regular basis to make sure that the IOP is at recommended levels, and work closely with the eye doctor.

Coleus plus Rutin

A study shows that a combination of coleus forskohlii or forskolin and rutin help reduce IOP naturally,1 and could be considered as a treatment strategy or part of the treatment to at least try to minimize the amount of medication needed. In this study patients who were scheduled for surgery received oral forskolin plus rutin as an adjunct to their medications. A further 10% drop in IOP was observed.  The researchers concluded that the combination was helpful especially where conventional drugs were insufficient or poorly tolerated.

Researchers reported in another study that the same combination was helpful in reducing IOP spikes that can occur after Nd-YAG laser iridotomy, avoiding serious damage to the optic nerve.2

Bilberry and Pine Bark

One study showed that Mirtogenol® which is a composed of extracts from bilberry (Mirtoselect®) and French maritime pine bark (Pycnogenol®). The conclusion of the study was that Mirtogenol® lowered elevated IOP in patients almost as effectively as latanoprost, however, it takes much longer (24 vs 4 weeks). The combination of both was more effective for lowering IOP and the combination yielded better retinal blood flow. No serious side effects occurred during the study, apart from standard side effects in patients related to Latanoprost.3 4 Another study shows that supplementation with Mirtogenol® improves the retinal microcirculation and reduces intraocular pressure (IOP) in ocular hypertension, when administrated either alone or in association with an ophthalmic solution (Latanoprost).5

Normal Tension Glaucoma

There are many cases of glaucoma where the IOP is normal or even low, yet the symptoms are similar to open-angle glaucoma. Many studies have shown that part of the treatment strategy for glaucoma is, along with a healthy diet and regular exercise, to supplement with therapeutic dosages of essential nutrients needed by the optic nerve to maintain its health and resiliency. So in another words, if the optic nerve is starving for essential nutrients, it can result in optic nerve cell death and therefore poorer vision, particularly related to peripheral vision, even if the IOP is normal or low. Some of the essential nutrients include: taurine, magnesium, alpha lipoic acid, n-acetyl-cysteine, vitamin C, co-enzyme Q10, essential fatty acids, vitamins A, E, B12, zinc, resveratrol, omega-3 fatty acids and more. See our optic nerve article for details on these nutrients. Many of these nutrients can be found in proper dosages in the Viteyes Optic Nerve Support Formula below.

Vitamin C may lower intraocular pressure in many glaucoma patients (including those who were unresponsive to the usual pharmaceutical drugs used for the treatment of glaucoma), even in dosages as low as 1,000mg to 3,000mg per day. Study results are mixed on this, although supplementation with vitamin C is also connected to lower risk of glaucoma.6

Do not change medications without consulting with your eye doctor, but see if they are willing to incorporate naturally ways to manage IOP.

Supplements to Consider


Natural Eye Care Series: Glaucoma (74 page paperback book)
Natural Eye Care: Your Guide to Healthy Vision and Healing (800 page paperback book) – includes the information in the Glaucoma book above.

Natural Brain Support: Your Guide to Preventing and Treating Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Other Related Diseases Naturally

Natural Brain Support Book and Nutrient Package

Natural Parkinson’s Support: Your Guide to Preventing and Managing Parkinson’s

Natural Parkinson’s Support Book and Supplement Package1





  1. Vetrugno M, Uva MG, Russo V, Iester M, Ciancaglini M, et al. (2012). Control in Primary Open Angle Glaucoma Patients Under Maximum Tolerated Medical Therapy. J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. Oct;28(5):536-41.
  2. Nebbioso M, Belcaro G, Librando A, Rusciano D, Steigerwalt RD, et al. (2012). Forskolin and rutin prevent intraocular pressure spikes after Nd:YAG laser iridotomy. Panminerva Med. Dec;54(1 Supple 4):77-82.
  3. Steigerwalt RD, Belcaro G, Morazzoni P, Bombardelli E, Burki C, et al. (2010). Mirtogenol potentiates latanoprost in lowering intraocular pressure and improves ocular blood flow in asymptomatic subjects. Clin Ophthalmol. May 14;4:471-6.
  4. Steigerwalt RD, Belcaro G, Morazzoni P, Bombardelli E, Burki C, et al. (2008). Effects of Mirtogenol on ocular blood flow and intraocular hypertension in asymptomatic subjects. Mol Vis. 14:1288-1292.
  5. Gizzi P. Torino-Rodriguez G, Belcaro G,  Hu S, Hosoi M, Feragalli B. (2017). Mirtogenol® supplementation in association with dorzolamide-timolol or latanoprost improves the retinal microcirculation in asymptomatic patients with increased ocular pressure. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. Oct;21(20):4720-4725.
  6. Wang SY, Singh K, Lin SC. (2013). Glaucoma and vitamins A, C, and E supplement intake and serum levels in a population-based sample of the United States. Eye (Lond), Apr;27(4):487-94.