Treatment of Cataract and Glaucoma

Read this essay to learn about the natural medicines used for the Treatment of Cataract and Glaucome. After reading this essay you will learn about: 1. Emblica Officinalis 2. Camellia Sinensis 3. Glycine Max 4. Ocimum Sanctum 5. Allium Cepa 6. Trigonella Foenum-Graecum 7. Ginkgo Biloba 8. Pilocarpus Jaborandi 9. Coleus Forskohlii and few others.


  1. Essay on Emblica Officinalis
  2. Essay on Camellia Sinensis
  3. Essay on Glycine Max
  4. Essay on Ocimum Sanctum
  5. Essay on Allium Cepa
  6. Essay on Trigonella Foenum-Graecum
  7. Essay on Ginkgo Biloba
  8. Essay on Pilocarpus Jaborandi
  9. Essay on Coelus Forskohlii
  10. Essay on Grape Seed Extract
  11. Essay on Dregea Volubilis
  12. Essay on Vaccinium Myritillus
  13. Essay on Salvia Miltiorrhiza
  14. Essay on Emilia Sonchifolia
  15. Essay on Antioxidants

Essay # 1. Emblica Officinalis:

Commonly known as amla, is extensively used in many preparations of Ayurveda and also against many chronic ailments including diabetes it con­tains rich source of ascorbic acid and tannins.

In the recent experimental studies demonstrated E. officinalis inhibited the activity of enzyme aldose reductase (which is the respon­sible for the conversion of glucose to sorbitol via polyol pathway) in vitro cultured rat lens.

Also showed significant inhibition against purified re­combinant human aldose reductase at the con­centration of 10 µg/ml respectively. The inhibi­tion of aldose reductase by E. officinal is tannoids is 100 times higher than its aqueous extract and comparable to or better than quercetin.  

Essay # 2. Camellia Sinensis:

It is commonly known as green tea. The protec­tion offered by various antioxidants in cataract de­velopment is well established. Polyphenolic com­pounds present in green tea are reported to pos­sess antioxidant property in various pathological conditions. The anti-cataract potential of green tea extract was established now.

Green tea leaf extracts positively modulated antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GPX). These antioxidant enzymes protecting the eye lens from various type of oxidative stress. Also it was found to reduce the incidence of selenite induced cataract in vivo (Gupta et al., 2002).

The antioxidant effect of green tea also preventing glaucoma and age related macular degeneration (Shixian et al., 2006).

Essay # 3. Glycine Max:

It is commonly referred as Soya bean, (Fam: Leguminosae) playing important role in traditional diets of many regions throughout the world. Soya bean contains iso-flavones namely genistein, daidzein and glycetein and extensive research has been done on these compounds and showed potential antioxidant property (Corinna et al., 2006).

The ant cataract potential of soya bean was investi­gated in our laboratory. In vitro the aqueous ex­tract of soya bean showed a concentration depend­ent protection against oxidative and osmotic stress; 200 µg/ml showed significant protection. In vivo 10% soya bean diet significantly delayed the on­set and progression of 30% galactose induced cataract in rats (Agrawal et al., 2008).

Essay # 4. Ocimum Sanctum:

It is generally referred as Tulsi. Aqueous extract of Tulsi possesses potential anti-cataract activity against selenite-induced experimental cataractogenesis. It showed different degrees of positive modulation in selenite-induced morphological as well as biochemical changes.

At the concentra­tion of 140 µg/ml significantly modulated glutath­ione and thiobarbituric acid reacting substances and also increased the activity of antioxidant en­zyme levels with preservation of normal lens pro­tein profile. In vivo, 5 and 10 mg/kg of reduced the incidence of selenite cataract by 20% and 60%, respectively, and prevented protein solu­bilization as well (Gupta et al., 2005).

Essay # 5. Allium Cepa:

Flavonoids are a group of substances that are wide­ly distributed in various herbals and natural prod­ucts and possess strong antioxidant activity. The potential of dietary flavonoids in the prevention of cataract has been investigated in some experi­mental studies (Durukan et al., 2006).

In the re­cent study reported that topical administration of onion juice into the rat eyes effectively prevented selenite-induced cataract formation. This effect was associated with increased total antioxidant level, SOD and CPX activities in the lens (Javad- zadeh et al, 2009).

Essay # 6. Trigonella Foenum-Graecum:

Trigonella foenum-graecum is known as Fenugreek is a plant in the family Fabaceae. The seeds of this plant are widely used in Indian cuisine. Fenugreek seeds are a rich source of the polysaccharide galactomannan. They are also a source of saponins such as diosgenin, yamogenin, gitogenin, tigogenin, and neotigogens.

Other bioactive constituents of fenugreek include mucilage, volatile oils, and alkaloids such as choline and trigonelline. Exper­imental studies on alcoholic extract of Fenugreek at the dose of 2g/kg exerted significant effect in alloxan induced diabetic rats by showing the de­creased opacity index (Vats et al., 2004).

Essay # 7. Ginkgo Biloba:

It is also known as the Maidenhair Tree found in China; the leaves contain flavonoid, glycosides and terpenoids (ginkgolides, bilobalides) and have been used pharmaceutical^. Ginkgo biloba has been extensively studied for its cognitive effects in patients with dementia (DeKosky et al., 2008).

The extract have been found to possess potential therapeutic effect in radiation-induced cataract (Ertekin et al., 2004).

The extract is used for the treatment of glaucoma; the mechanism of the ac­tivity is due to the improvement of central and peripheral blood flow, reduction of vasospasm, reduction of serum viscosity, antioxidant activity, platelet activating factor inhibitory activity, inhi­bition of apoptosis, and inhibition of excitotoxicity (Ritch, 2000).

Essay # 8. Pilocarpus Jaborandi:

It is commonly known as jaborandi, Pilocarpus and Indian hemp. (Fam: Rutaceae). P. jaborandi is small shrub 120-150 cm in height, but in some species can the height of a medium-sized tree. Various species of Jaborandi are native South America, occurring most densely in Brazil, and to a much lesser extent in Central America.

An herbal jaborandi leaf tea has a long history of use in Bra­zilian traditional folk medicine; the indigenous peoples of Amazonia used the herbal tea in treat­ing many different problems including diuretic.

The majority of pilocarpine drugs are derived from the natural alkaloid extracted from jaborandi leaves produced in Brazil. After extensive research, the alkaloid pilocarpine was identified in the plant. It is about 200 year’s old medicine for the treat­ment of glaucoma.

Pilocarpine eye drops are still sold as a prescription drug worldwide for the treat­ment of glaucoma and as an agent to cause con­striction of the pupil of the eye (useful in some eye surgeries and procedures). This substance has the ability to lower pressure within the eye of a person with glaucoma. As a result of that finding, pilocarpine is used in modern ophthalmology in the treatment of glaucoma.

Essay # 9. Coleus Forskohlii:

The plant is also called coleus (Family: Lamiaceae); an aromatic perennial plant about two feet tall when fully mature. Coleus possesses tuber like roots and a straight and erect stem with colorful leaves. The coleus has an aromatic fragrance re­sembling the scent of the camphor plant.

Forskoin (7 beta-acetoxy-8, 13-epoxy-1 alpha, 6 beta, 9 alpha-trihydroxy-labd-14-ene-11 -one) is the main active ingredient in the Ayurvedic herb Coleus forskohlii. Coleus is a member of the mint family and grows in subtropical areas in India, Burma, and Thailand.

Forskolin has been extensively eval­uated in the field of pharmaceutical sciences for use in the treatment of allergies, respiratory prob­lems, cardiovascular diseases and glaucoma. Clin­ical studies have shown that topical application of one per cent forskolin eye drops resulted in sig­nificant decreases in intraocular pressure for up to five hours.

Limited clinical experience suggests that oral forskolin appears to offer significant po­tential for sufferers of glaucoma. Indian pharma­ceutical companies are currently engaged in clin­ical trials of a forskolin eye drop product in the treatment of glaucoma.

Essay # 10. Grape Seed Extract:

Crape Seed Extract which is high in Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins (OPC’s or PCO’s) is powerful antioxidant which can reduce the damage done by free radicals, strengthen and repair connective tissue, and promote enzyme activity. OPC’s can also help moderate allergic and inflammatory re­sponses by reducing histamine production.

Proanthocyanidin is one of the names used to describe a powerful bioflavonoid complex known as Procyanidolic Oligomers. Clinical studies have shown that antioxidants can halt cataract progres­sion. PCO has a strong affinity for the portion of the retina that is responsible for visual acuity.

It prevents free radical damage and reinforces the collagen structures of the retina. In clinical trials of patients with various types of retinal disease, including macular degeneration, all patients giv­en PCO showed significant improvement follow­ing therapy. Health professionals monitoring the effects of PCO have reported that it also has helped in the prevention and treatment of glaucoma.

Grape seed extract considerably decreased the development of cataract in rats (Durukan et al., 2006).

Essay # 11. Dregea Volubilis:

Dregea volubilis is a woody climbing plant com­monly found in the hotter parts of India. The leaves am edible and used as a green vegetable, while the plant extract has been used traditionally to treat several diseases including eye ailments. Research studies have evaluated the potential anti-cataract effect and it has also been found that the effect is due to drevogenin D, a triterpenoid aglycone (Biju et al., 2007).

Essay # 12. Vaccinium Myritillus:

It is commonly known as Bilberry; is a small, wild, perennial shrub that grows throughout Europe and is now cultivated from the Far East to the United States. The shrub yields large amounts of small, darkish blue berries. Besides their medicinal use, they are often eaten fresh or made into jams.

It has a long history of use for various eye condi­tions in a clinical study report of 50 patients with senile cataracts, a combination of bilberry and vitamin E stopped the progression of cataracts up to 96% (Bravetti et al., 1989).

Bilberry flavonoids can increase certain enzymes and substances in the eyes that are crucial to good vision and eye function. Furthermore, anthocyahosides can in­crease circulation in the blood vessels in the eyes, and help these blood vessels repair and protect themselves.

Specifically, research has shown that anthocyanosides help stabilize and protect a pro­tein called collagen, which is a basic building block of veins, arteries, capillaries, and connec­tive tissue.

Particularly, anthocyanosides seem to work favorably in the tissues found in the retina, the back of the eye where major functions of vi­sion take place (Pizzorno and Murray, 1996). The recent study also established that the combina­tion of a standardized extract of bilberry and French maritime pine bark reduces the risk of glau­coma (Steigerwalt et al., 2008).

Essay # 13. Salvia Miltiorrhiza:

It is commonly known as Red sage, Chinese sage, Tan shen, is a perennial flowering plant in the genus Salvia, roots are widely used in traditional Chinese medicine. Experiments on rabbits found it protected the optic nerve from the damaging effects of increased Intra ocular pressure (IOP), with better results when used in conjunction with a medication to IOP pressure (Zhu and Cai, 1993).

The effect of Salvia miltiorrhiza on human glau­coma is well established. In a clinical study, Intra muscular injection (2 g/mL) of Salvia miltiorrhiza and in combination with other Chinese herbs sig­nificantly controlled the IOP in 121 glaucoma patients. After 30 days visual acuity had improved in 43.8 per cent of the eyes and visual field im­provement was noted in 49.7 per cent of eyes.

There were no significant differences among the four herbal preparations; but the effect was a sta­tistically significant (Wu et al., 1983).

Essay # 14. Emilia Sonchifolia:

It is known as lilac tassel flower genus of Emilia. The juice of the leaves is used in treating eye in­flammations and night blindness. Flavonoids from Emilia sonchifolia modulate the lens opacification and oxidative stress in selenite-induced cataract (Lija et al., 2006).

Essay # 15. Antioxidants:

(i) Carotenoids:

Beta-carotene-a naturally occurring antioxidant found in fruits and vegetables. They are natural lipid soluble antioxidants. It is report­ed that high intake of carotene reduce the risk of incidence of cataract (Cumming et al., 2000).

(ii) Lycopene:

It is present in many fruits and veg­etables. It is a red, fat-soluble pigment found in certain plants and microorganisms, where it serves as an accessory light-gathering pigment and pro­tects these organisms against the toxic effects of oxygen and light. Tomato products, including ketchup, tomato juice, and pizza sauce, are the richest sources of lycopene.

In addition to toma­toes (Lycopersicon esculentum) and tomato-based products, lycopene is also found in watermelon, papaya, pink grapefruit, and pink guava. Experi­mental studies have been reported the incorpora­tion of lycopene on diet retard the onset and pro­gression of cataract (Pollack et al., 1999).

Similar­ly the role of lycopene in human cataract also has been established. Lycopene 5, 10 and 20 mM sig­nificantly increased the activities of glutathione and antioxidant enzymes whereas the lipid per­oxidation product namely malondialdehyde lev­el was reduced in human lens epithelial cells cul­ture in vitro (Mohanty et al., 2002).

In vivo exper­imental study showed that 200 mg/kg significant­ly delayed the onset and progression of 30% ga­lactose induced cataract on rats; the protective effect is too due to the antioxidant potential (Gupta et al., 2003).

(iii) Curcumin:

Curcumin (1,7-bis (4-hydroxy-3- methoxyphenyl)-1,6. heptadiene-3,5-dione), is the major active compound of turmeric, has been shown to have significant antioxidant activity, both in vitro and in vivo (Joe et al., 2004). Curcumin 0.002% and 0.01 % in the diet are effective against the development of streptozotocin induced dia­betic cataract in rats (Suryanarayana et al., 2005).

It is also effective against 30% galactose induced cataract in rats (Suryanarayana et al., 2003). Re­cent study demonstrated that topical application of aqueous extract of Curcuma longa showed po­tent anti-inflammatory activity against endotoxin induced uveitis in rabbits eye (Gupta et al., 2008).

(iv) Lutein:

It is one of over 600 known naturally occurring carotenoids. Found in green leafy veg­etables such as spinach and kale. Lutein is present in the plant as fatty-acid ester, with one or two fatty acids bound to the two hydroxyl-groups. It is a natural antioxidant; experimental studies report­ed that combination of lutein and insulin retard the progression of cataract (Arnal et al., ‘2009).

Lutein was found to be concentrated in the macu­la, a small area of the retina responsible for cen­tral vision. The hypothesis for the natural concen­tration is that lutein helps protect from oxidative stress and high-energy light. Various research stud­ies have shown that a direct relationship exists between lutein intake and pigmentation in the eye.

(v) Vitamin E:

As a fat-soluble antioxidant, the beneficial role in the prevention and delay of cat­aract in experimental and epidemiological stud­ies has well documented (Ross et al., 1990). Re­cently 10 years of observational study concluded that intake of Vitamin E along with other antioxi­dants in middle age women significantly reduced the development of cataract (Christen, 2008).

Submitted by : Professor Matthew, Category : Essay