Oxidative Stress (2016, 2017) & Glaucoma


Learn more about treatment of glaucoma.


These researchers point out that most therapies for glaucoma address high intraocular pressure since it is known that high IOP can contribute to optic nerve damage. But one of the important risk factors is the oxidative damage caused by free radicals to retinal nerve cells and the optic nerve.

Patients with normal tension glaucoma are typically treated with the use of prescription eyedrops to reduce intraocular pressure because IOP, but it is believed for most that the real issue is damage due to free damage resulting from oxidative stress and free radicals.

Editor's note: For those whose circulation is healthy to the eyes and antioxidants needed are freely available to the retina and optic nerve, this serves to neutralize free radicals, so helping the eyes stay healthy can be done through a good diet, regular exercise, management of chronic stress and targeted supplementation.

Oxidative stress = imbalance

The researchers note that oxidative stress is essentially an imbalance between accumulations of free radicals and the body's own antioxidant defenses. Glutathione levels in blood plasma are markedly lower in patients with glaucoma.1, 2 This is true whether or not high intraocular pressure is present.

Drugs which have antioxidant properties, and those that target enzymes that contribute to oxidative stress appear to prevent retinal deterioration due to glaucoma in animal models.

The researchers investigated the effect of various ways of reducing oxidative damage to retinal and optic nerves in lab animals. They accomplished this through a number of experiments. In one, they removed a gene that triggers excessive cellular response that causes oxidative damage. Removal of this gene made the mice less susceptible to glaucoma.

Alpha-lipoic acid. One of the antioxidants that has previously been tested in animal models is alpha-lipoic acid which protects retinal nerve cells from oxidative damage.

Superoxide dismutase. The researchers also tested a number of nutrients or drugs with antioxidant properties to see if incidence and severity of glaucoma was lessened. One of these was superoxide dismutase.

Other antioxidants. The researchers also successfully tested use of valproic acid, which is a fatty acid used to treat epilepsy. They found that is reduced oxidative damage by apparently increasing the activity of both superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase in the retina.

The researchers also tested the drug Candesartan (for hypertension) and spermidine, which is found in soybeans and mushrooms. They found good results for both.

Researchers: A. Kimura, K. Namekata, et al,
Published: Targeting Oxidative Stress for Treatment of Glaucoma and Optic Neuritis, Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, February, 2017.


Researchers evaluated the blood plasma of patients with primary open-angle glaucoma who required antiglaucomatous surgery even though their IOP was be managed with drugs. They also tested the blood patients who had required cataract surgery. Based on increased activities of certain biochemicals their conclusion was that the disorders were oxidative disorders.

Researchers: W. Rokicki, et al,
Published: Oxidative stress in the red blood cells of patients with primary open-angle glaucoma, Clinical Hemmorheology and Microcirculation, January, 2016.

1. D. Gherghel, et al, Systemic reduction in glutathione levels occurs in patients with primary open-angle glaucoma, Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 2005.
2. D. Gherghel, et al, Reduction in blood glutathione levels occurs similarly in patients with primary-open angle or normal tension glaucoma, Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 2013