In the JournalsPerspective

Meditation significantly lowers IOP, improves quality of life

A short course of mindfulness meditation significantly lowered IOP in adults with primary open-angle glaucoma, which correlated with lowered stress-biomarker levels and an improvement in quality of life, according to researchers.

Ninety patients with POAG (180 eyes, 45 years or older) were assigned to a waitlist control or a mindfulness meditation group that practiced for 21 days.

Researchers measured IOP, the primary endpoint, along with quality of life, stress-related serum biomarkers and whole genome expression.

On day 1, patients in the treatment group were introduced to the meditation technique. From days 2 to 21 participants practiced 15 minutes of breathing exercises for relaxation followed by 45 minutes of meditation.

In the 40 participants who completed the meditation course, 30 experienced an IOP reduction greater than 25%. Also, for this group, 109 genes were identified to be significantly and differently expressed post-meditation as compared with the controls, according to researchers.

They found IOP improvement correlated positively with the changes of parameters representing quality of life and relaxation/well-being (brain-derived neurotrophic factor, total antioxidant capacity and endorphin) but negatively with the changes of parameters representing the stress response (cortisol, reactive oxygen species, IL6).

“We showed that meditation significantly lowered IOP, which correlated highly with lowered stress-biomarker levels and a rise of -endorphins, brain-derived neurotrophic factor and total antioxidant capacity which, in turn, correlated with modulation of gene expression profiling,” researchers wrote. – by Abigail Sutton

Disclosure: The researchers reported no relevant financial disclosures.

A short course of mindfulness meditation significantly lowered IOP in adults with primary open-angle glaucoma, which correlated with lowered stress-biomarker levels and an improvement in quality of life, according to researchers.

Ninety patients with POAG (180 eyes, 45 years or older) were assigned to a waitlist control or a mindfulness meditation group that practiced for 21 days.

Researchers measured IOP, the primary endpoint, along with quality of life, stress-related serum biomarkers and whole genome expression.

On day 1, patients in the treatment group were introduced to the meditation technique. From days 2 to 21 participants practiced 15 minutes of breathing exercises for relaxation followed by 45 minutes of meditation.

In the 40 participants who completed the meditation course, 30 experienced an IOP reduction greater than 25%. Also, for this group, 109 genes were identified to be significantly and differently expressed post-meditation as compared with the controls, according to researchers.

They found IOP improvement correlated positively with the changes of parameters representing quality of life and relaxation/well-being (brain-derived neurotrophic factor, total antioxidant capacity and endorphin) but negatively with the changes of parameters representing the stress response (cortisol, reactive oxygen species, IL6).

“We showed that meditation significantly lowered IOP, which correlated highly with lowered stress-biomarker levels and a rise of -endorphins, brain-derived neurotrophic factor and total antioxidant capacity which, in turn, correlated with modulation of gene expression profiling,” researchers wrote. – by Abigail Sutton

Disclosure: The researchers reported no relevant financial disclosures.

    Perspective
    Tammy P. Than

    Tammy P. Than

    Glaucoma patients frequently inquire as to whether there is anything they can do to help manage their disease in addition to medications. The results of this study lend support for utilizing mindful meditation (MM) as adjunct therapy for patients with primary open angle glaucoma. 

    While there are limitations to the study, a short course of MM resulted in lower IOP and improved quality of life as well as positive impact on stress biomarkers and gene expression.  Patients selected were limited to those newly diagnosed with moderate to severe glaucoma who were free from certain chronic systemic diseases and were not on medical therapy for any other illness. These exclusion criteria make the study population quite dissimilar to a large percentage of the glaucoma population. It is yet to be determined as to whether the effect of MM would be as beneficial in a wider range of glaucoma patients.

    The meditation practiced in the study was in a group setting. The study did not address as to whether this would translate to home/individual MM.

    There were no adverse effects of patients performing MM, so this definitely is a viable adjunctive therapy to recommend to glaucoma patients.  It is exciting to be able to offer patients a more holistic approach to managing glaucoma. 

    • Tammy P. Than, MS, OD, FAAO
    • Staff optometrist, Carl Vinson VA Medical Center
      Dublin, Ga.

    Disclosures: Than reports no relevant financial disclosures.