Marijuana and Glaucoma

Marijuana and Glaucoma

This topic frequently comes up during some eye exams and as more states legalize (to date 24 states have ) this will become more of a topic of conversation in an exam. I hope you find this timely and relevant blog to be informative.

Marijuana has been used as medicine for over 4000 years. It is cheaper than many of todays pharmaceuticals which may be one of the biggest factors in the legalization fight because of lobbying money, but that aside this blog is not pro or con but instead wants to look at the facts. What is it typically “useful” for:

  • Pain
  • Arthritis and other rheumatological disorders like Lupus
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures and other neurological disorders like Tourettes and MS
  • Glaucoma
  • Appetite stimulant
  • and many others

Research in the 1970 show using marijuana intravenously, orally or by smoking did have effect a persons intraocular pressure (IOP), but on the order that todays antiglaucoma meds do. So it is not as effective at maintaining lower IOP.

Breathing in the smoke and vapors of marijuana also leads to respiratory concern but unlike cigarettes there is no tar. It also lowers blood pressure, increases the heart rate and lowers testosterone levels. The High associated with the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can impair memory, coordination and attention.

It is classified by the FDA as Schedule 1 meaning it is addictive and of the approximately 10%  that are addicted when they stop they experience similar withdrawal symptoms to those addicted to tobacco.

This is an evolving topic and as more states opt to stop the war on marijuana to help the strain on the states budgets. More studies show the pros and cons will continue fueling the debate on both sides. As for glaucoma use, I don’t think this is the magic pill or smoke, but we will continue to monitor developments. There are other more potentially beneficial uses in the treatment for other diseases and disorders like seizures and other neurological conditions.

BA Eye Site looking out for the eye health and vision of our citizens here in Northeastern Oklahoma.

Eye exam and your health

Eye exam and your health conditions really do go hand in hand.

A comprehensive eye exam can reveal a lot about a persons health and can even lead to some diagnoses. The eyes are a window to the body; eye doctors can see blood vessels, nerve tissue and signs of thyroid disease.

We would point to a study done by UnitedHealthCare that identified eye cares impact on:

  1. Crohn’s Disease -As a form of Irritable Bowel Syndrome may manifest in the eye as swelling, dry eyes or uveitis.
  2. Hypertension can be seen as changes in retinal vasculature and may affect glaucoma and intraocular pressures.
  3. Diabetes -Diabetes is a hypoxic disease meaning the body is unable to get the oxygen it needs because of high blood sugar levels. This leads to bleeding in the eyes and even vision disruption. This bleeding is easily observed in the eyes where it may not be so easily observed in areas like the kidneys or other areas of the nervous system.
  4. Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Syndrome can be observed in the eyes as twitches an and motor difficulties as well and optic nerve appearance.
  5. Cholesterol -Elevated cholesterol levels can be observed in the cornea and in the blood vasculature in the retina.
  6. Rheumatoid Arthritis and other autoimmune diseases  like lupus and sarcoidosis can manifest in the eye as uveitis or iritis.
  7. Graves Disease -This as a thyroid condition that causes the eyes to bulge. The thyroid is important to maintain metabolism and energy levels. An malfunctioning thyroid can also cause issues with the eyelashes and eyebrows because it can cause hair loss or thinning.

This is part of why it is recommended to have an annual comprehensive eye exam. Early detection and treatment saves lives and eye care is an important aspect of your health care team. BA Eye Site at 101st and Aspen want to be the eye care center serving you and your family’s eyecare needs. Call us (918)893-3769 to schedule your comprehensive eye exam, today. New patients and walk-ins are welcome.