Coleus forskohlii ('84, '87, 2015, 2016) & Glaucoma


Learn more about glaucoma.

Forskolin is the ingredient from the coleus forskohlii plant that has been found to be helpful for glaucoma.


A clinical trial of a glaucoma supplement1 containing the active ingredient forskolin from coleus forskohlii, along with a form of taurine, carnosine (found in N-actyl-carnosine), folic acid, B1, B2, B6, and magnesium investigated whether it was effective as a glaucoma treatment.

The patients were already taking medication to lower too-high intraocular pressure. They added the food supplement to their daily intake for a year.

Standard testing was performed at the beginning, and at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. Testing measured the electrical activity of light-stimulated retinal cells, sensitivity of the center of the macula (the fovea) to stimulation, and the width of the visual field.

The researchers found:

  1. That the effect of the nutrients taken orally (rather than as eyedrops) was measurable,
  2. That intraocular pressure dropped (additionally to the lowering due to their medication,
  3. And that, at least initially, the nutrients were able to modify the nerve cells in the retina.

Researchers: M.G. Mutolo, et al,
Published: Oral Administration of Forskolin, Homotaurine, Carnosine, and Folic Acid in Patients with Primary Open Angle Glaucoma: Changes in Intraocular Pressure, Pattern Electroretinogram Amplitude, and Foveal Sensitivity, Journal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics, April, 2016.

Editor's note: Coleus is just one of several herbs that are traditionally known to support vision health and that have the ability to positively influence the health of the optic nerve.

1. We don't know the name of the supplement, but the ingredients are almost identical to our optic nerve support packages.


A study investigated the effects of 1% forskolin eye drops in 90 patients with an intraocular pressure of more than 24mm Hg. The patients used the eyedrops three times a day. The intraocular pressure was measured at the beginning of the study period and after 1, 2, 3 and 4 weeks. From the beginning of the study period to the 4th weeks the average IOP dropped 4.5mm Hg to 5.4mm Hg in the right and left eyes, respectively.

The researchers concluded that 1% forskolin eyedrops can be safely used as an alternative to beta blockers.

Researchers: M. Majeed, et al,
Published: Efficacy and safety of 1% forskolin eye drops in open angle glaucoma - An open label study, Saudi Journal of Ophthalmology, July 2015.


A small placebo-controlled study investigated the effects of forskolin on intra-ocular pressure in 10 healthy subjects. First they received oxybuprocaine eyedrops for local anaesthesia. Some then received 1% forskolin eyedrops and others received placebo and IOP was measured hourly. A marked reduction in IOP was noted in those receiving either test and placebo.

Next a different anaesthetic was used, proxymetacaine - and again the subjects were treated with either test or placebo. In this instance, forskolin resulted in significant reduction compared to placebo, and it was concluded that the first anesthetic used, oxybuprocaine, itself had an effect on IOP.

Researchers: B H Meyer, A A Stulting, F O Muller, H G Luus, M Badian,
Published: The effects of forskolin eye drops on intra-ocular pressure, South African medical journal, June, 1987.


A small double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that .3%, .6% & 1.% effectly lowered the intraocular pressure (IOP) in healthy subjects. The .3% concentration resulted in a 22.8% decrease; the .6% concentration resulted in a 27.8% decrease after 3 hours, and the 1% concentration resulted in a 26.5% decrease after 4 hours.

Further, the researchers found that the higher concentrations were about as effective as the lower concentrations, but lasted longer, with the 1% concentration lasting 7 hours, but the .3% concentration only lasting 4 hours.

The subjects noticed only very short term, minor sensations like itching or burning.

Researchers: Badian M, Dabrowski J, Grigoleit HG, Lieb W, Lindner E, Rupp W.,
Published: Effect of forskolin eyedrops on intraocular pressure in healthy males [in German], Klin Monbl Augenheilkd, December, 1984.