National Glaucoma Month at Charm City Medicus

CCM-Glaucoma.jpg

Did you know that January is National Glaucoma Month? Glaucoma is an eye disease that gradually causes irreversible blindness without any warning. There are currently 3 million people in the United States suffering from glaucoma, and the National Eye Institute projects this number will reach 4.2 million by 2030. Many think glaucoma only effects middle-aged or elderly patients, but the disease can affect people of all ages. It is 6-8 times more common in African Americans than Caucasians.

Glaucoma is often referred to as the called "the sneak thief of sight" — there are no symptoms and once a patient’s vision is lost, it's permanent. The most common type of glaucoma is primary open-angle glaucoma. In this case, the eye does not drain fluid normally as it should. This “clogged pipe,” so to speak, causes the eye to build pressure, damaging the optic nerve. The optic nerve is responsible for transporting images we see from the eye to the brain. Loss of eyesight occurs when the optic nerve is damaged.

There is no cure for glaucoma, but prescription medication and surgery can slow vision loss. For years, there has been promising research concluding that cannabis is beneficial in treating the disease. As early as the 1970s, studies have shown that cannabinoids can alleviate glaucoma symptoms by reducing the intraocular pressure (IOP) of the eye. Researches found that the consumption of cannabis actually lowered IOP by 25-30%. Additionally, compounds found in the plant also work with certain receptors to provide “neuro-protection” against damage to the optic nerve. Additionally, cannabis’ anti-inflammatory and antiemetic effects can help late-stage patients suffering from neuropathic optic nerve pain and its side effects — severe headaches, nausea, and vomiting.

We encourage all of our patients to have regular eye exams to protect your vision from damage caused by glaucoma. At Charm City Medicus, we have several strains and products that may be helpful in treating side effects related to the disease. We always encourage our patients to first speak with their Opthamologist and Steve, our on-site pharmacist, to determine the best treatment plan for you.

Jennifer Culpepper