Glaucoma is an eye condition caused by damage to the optic nerve leading to loss of sight. This damage often results from an increase in pressure in your eyes, known as intraocular pressure. U.K health care provider, Bupa, notes that most people who have glaucoma usually have high pressure as well as weakness in the optic nerve. If you suffer from glaucoma, your doctor will likely prescribe eye drops designed to lower the pressure in your eyes and minimize further damage to the optic nerve and prevent further sight loss, or you may need laser surgery. The herb forskolin may also help lower pressure in the eyes, but evidence supporting this is limited. Do not use forskolin in place of treatments prescribed by your doctor, and as with any herbal supplement, consult with your doctor before use.
Properties and Administration
Forskolin, also known as Coleus forskohlii, is used to treat a variety of conditions, including asthma, allergies, cancer and high blood pressure. The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center also notes that forskolin may reduce intraocular pressure and, therefore, may aid the treatment of glaucoma. This herb is either inhaled, administered intravenously or used in eye drops. To treat glaucoma, use eye drops. The concentration of forskolin needed to treat glaucoma may vary according to your health and age. Ask your doctor how much you should use.
Few clinical studies have evaluated the role of forskolin in the treatment of glaucoma. As such, RxList states that there is insufficient evidence to rate forskolin's effectiveness as a glaucoma treatment. The results of an early study published in the May 1987 issue of the "South African Medical Journal" indicate that forskolin resulted in a significant reduction in intraocular pressure relative to placebo. However, more up-to-date studies are lacking.
Side Effects and Contraindications
Using forskolin eye drops can cause stinging, RxList notes. Do not use this herb if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, have a heart or blood pressure problems, or a bleeding disorder. Forskolin also interacts with a number of drugs including medications for high blood pressure, nitrates and anticoagulant drugs like aspirin and warfarin. Check with your doctor that it is safe for you to use forskolin.
The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that several other herbs may also be beneficial for glaucoma sufferers, including bilberry, ginkgo and green tea. However, while these herbs may help to support eye health, evidence that they can treat glaucoma is limited. Research published in the December 2006 issue of "Brain Research" did, however, find that a compound found in green tea may reduce oxidative stress, a risk factor glaucoma.