CMCC joins with the World Glaucoma Association and the World Glaucoma Patient Association in calling attention to the goals of World Glaucoma Week.

Regular ophthalmology checkups should be part of everyone’s health maintenance regimen. Besides alerting you if you could benefit from glasses or contacts (or updated prescriptions), your ophthalmologist will test for symptoms of glaucoma, a disease that affects more than 2 out of every 100 individuals during their lifetime.

Early detection is vital to stemming the progress of this degenerative disease. While there are medicines effective in arresting glaucoma, there are no treatments that can reverse damage. Left untreated, glaucoma can result in blindness.

Frequent checkups are particularly important for First Degree Relatives (FDRs) of those diagnosed with glaucoma. FDRs have a ten times greater risk of developing glaucoma than those more distantly related.   

Some of the earliest(1970s) clinical trials on the physiological effects of cannabis showed a correlation between cannabis consumption and the lowering of pressure within in the eye (one of the symptoms of glaucoma). Alas, the research was done only on smoking as a form of ingestion, and the benefits lasted only a few hours. Further research has suggested a link between symptom relief and an interaction with body’s endocannabinoid system. A logical next step would be studies using orally-consumed cannabis (such as extracts available from Tilray or The Peace Naturals Project), which may offer longer-lasting benefits.

We’re hopeful that more research is forthcoming on the possibility that a cannabis derivative may aid in the treatment of glaucoma. In the meantime, please heed the message of World Glaucoma Week and schedule an optical exam soon.