Taking specific antioxidants for at least 1 month significantly increases blood supply within the retinal and retrobulbar vascular beds, with potential protective effects on retinal ganglion cells in patients with open angle glaucoma.
In a double-masked, prospective study, 45 patients with open-angle glaucoma (OAG) were randomized to receive either placebo or a specific dietary supplement formula (Optic Nerve Formula, ScienceBased Health) containing omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and ginkgo biloba. After 4 weeks of four-times-daily administration, patients in the antioxidant group showed significant increase in peak systolic velocity and/or diastolic blood flow velocity in all the retrobulbar blood vessels. Vascular resistance in the central retinal artery and nasal posterior ciliary artery was significantly reduced.
“In agreement with previous findings, our results indicate that the supplementation of certain antioxidants may increase blood supply to the orbit and within retinal capillary beds following 4 weeks administration,” the authors wrote. “Our data suggest oral antioxidant supplementation may decrease vascular resistance over a longer period of time than previous trials investigated.”
By improving ocular blood flow and, therefore, cell oxygenation and nutrition, this combination of nutraceuticals could help prevent retinal ganglion cell death in patients with OAG, they said.
“Theoretically, a healthy and stable ocular circulation may provide some amount of protection to retinal ganglion cells,” the authors wrote, and concluded by advocating further studies to assess the long-term effects of antioxidants on structural and functional disease progression. – by Michela Cimberle
Disclosure: Harris is a consultant to Stemnion, Biolight, Nano Retina, AdOM, ScienceBased Health, Isarna Therapeutics and Ono Pharmaceuticals and holds an ownership interest in AdOM, Nano Retina and Oxymap.