Bilberry/Pine Bark (2008, 2010, 2015) & Glaucoma

Learn more about glaucoma.

2015

A study tested the effect of a supplement (ProVens®) containing extracts of maritime pine bark, green tea, and blueberry (similar to bilberry). These extracts contained antioxidant proanthocyanins (pine bark), polyphenols (green tea) and anthocyanins (blueberry). All three types of nutrients are amount the family of antioxidants called bioflavonoids comprised of the colorant material of different plant forms.

The patients received the supplement once a day. The dosage was 50mg pine bark, 100mg green tea, and 3mg bluberry. The patients in the trial had either high intraocular pressure (IOP) (35) or open-angle glaucoma (11 - who had been treated with prostaglandin analogs.

IOP was measured by standard methods at the beginning of the trial period, after one month and after three months.

There was statistically significant reduction in IOP in the patients with high IOP (from ave. 24.2mmHg to ave. 20.9mmHG) within the three month period. In the patients with open-angle glaucoma there was also a reduction (from ave. 18.4mmHG to ave 17.0mmHG) within three months. No side effects were reported for either group.

The researchers concluded that this supplement formulation could be an effective method to help control high IOP.

Researchers: M. Karhanova, M. Eliasova, et al
ProVens® in the Therapy of Glaucoma and Ocular Hypertension, Ceska a Slovinska Oftalomogie, Winter, 2015.

2010

An earlier study examined the effects of a formalation called Mirtogenol which combines French maritime pine bark and bilberry. The group studied consisted of 79 patients living with "asymptomatic ocular hypertension". The participants were separated into three groups:

  1. received 80 mg of Mitroselect bilberry extract and 40 mg of Pycnogenol daily
  2. applied a medicinal eye drop (Latanoprost)
  3. utilized both treatments

The trial lasted a total of 24 weeks and yielded the following results:

  • The Mirtogenol group lowered their intraocular pressure (IOP) from 38.1 to 29 mmHg or 24%.
  • The Latanoprost patients found an IOP reduction from 37.7 to 27.2 mmHg or 28%.
  • The combination group began with an IOP of 38 mmHg and ended with an IOP of 23 mmHg - a 40%
  • Healthy or normal eye pressure should range between about 10 to 21 mmHg.

In conclusion, the authors reported that, "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". According to the National Institutes of Health, Latanoprost may cause the following adverse reactions in some users: dry eyes, eye color changes, irritation and redness of the eyelids.

Researchers: Robert D Steigerwalt, Jr, Gianni Belcaro, Paolo Morazzoni, Ezio Bombardelli, Carolina Burki, and Frank Schonlau

Published: Mirtogenol potentiates latanoprost in lowering intraocular pressure and improves ocular blood flow in asymptomatic subjects, Clinical Ophthalmology, 2010.

2008

A 2008 Italian study tested thirty-eight subjects with elevated pressures. 20 were treated with bilberry and French maritime pine bark, the rest were given nothing. Visual acuity, IOP, and ocular blood flow were measured after 2, 3 and 6 months. After two months the mean IOP decreased. No side effects were observed and ocular blood flow improved.

An improved ocular blood flow may contribute to the prevention of glaucoma.

The researchers also looked at the arteries of the eyes with color Doppler imaging and saw better flood flow in the subjects receiving the treament. This suggests that fluids in the eye were being restored.

One of the researchers, Steigerwalt, said, "Our study is the first demonstration showing that dietary intervention can help to control IOP and increase ocular blood flow in asymptomatic subjects and if taken in time, may prevent an evolution to higher pressure and symptomatic glaucoma."

Published: Molecular Vision 2008; 14:1288-1292, "Effects of Mirtogenol on ocular blood flow and intraocular hypertension in asymptomatic subjects"

Reference: Authors: Robert Steigerwalt Jr, Belcaro Gianni, Morazzoni Paolo, Ezio Bombardelli,2 Carolina Burki, Frank Schonlau , University of Chieti-Pescara in San Valentino, Italy