Eyes affected by primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) contain lower levels of magnesium than eyes without glaucoma. Furthermore, the condition seems to respond well to treatment with a medicine containing magnesium. This is according to Lusine Arutyunyan MD, of the Helmholtz Research Institute of Eye Diseases, Moscow, Russia.

Speaking at the 10th European Glaucoma Society Congress in Copenhagen, Dr Arutyunyan made the following statement: “Trace element analysis revealed a deficiency of magnesium in all the media and tissues of glaucomatous eyes we looked at. In addition, our first results with magnesium-based treatment showed a positive effect on intraocular pressure and the biomechanical properties of corneal scleral capsule and on the structural and functional conditions of eyes with primary open-angle glaucoma”.

This is very promising for the millions of people around the world affected by this serious eye disease. Glaucoma affects the optic nerve connecting the eye to the brain. It is usually caused by high intraocular pressure, which results from a blockage in the eye's drainage system. This can lead to irreversible vision loss and blindness. Early detection and treatment can prevent vision loss in most cases; however, the World Health Organization has identified glaucoma as the second leading cause of blindness in the world and the leading cause of irreversible blindness. That’s why it’s so important to have regular eye checks from your optometrist, especially if glaucoma runs in your family.

Magnesium deficiency is very common. The soils of many parts of the world are low in magnesium; therefore most foods are a poor source of this mineral. If you have a digestive problem such as irritable bowel syndrome, or you take stomach acid-blocking medication, you may be low in magnesium. Stress and alcohol deplete your body of magnesium.