Treatment of Glaucoma with Natural Products and Their Mechanism of Action: An Update


Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness. It is generally caused by increased intraocular pressure, which results in damage of the optic nerve and retinal ganglion cells, ultimately leading to visual field dysfunction. However, even with the use of intraocular pressure-lowering eye drops, the disease still progresses in some patients. In addition to mechanical and vascular dysfunctions of the eye, oxidative stress, neuroinflammation and excitotoxicity have also been implicated in the pathogenesis of glaucoma. Hence, the use of natural products with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may represent an alternative approach for glaucoma treatment. The present review highlights recent preclinical and clinical studies on various natural products shown to possess neuroprotective properties for retinal ganglion cells, which thereby may be effective in the treatment of glaucoma. Intraocular pressure can be reduced by baicalein, forskolin, marijuana, ginsenoside, resveratrol and hesperidin. Alternatively, Ginkgo bilobaLycium barbarumDiospyros kakiTripterygium wilfordii, saffron, curcumin, caffeine, anthocyanin, coenzyme Q10 and vitamins B3 and D have shown neuroprotective effects on retinal ganglion cells via various mechanisms, especially antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptosis mechanisms. Extensive studies are still required in the future to ensure natural products’ efficacy and safety to serve as an alternative therapy for glaucoma. View Full-Text

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