Glucosamine- a possible Glaucoma risk?

A study has recently reported a possible link between Glucosamine and raised Intra Ocular Pressure (IOP).

Glucosamine is sometimes recommended as a treatment for arthritis- it is a naturally occurring amino sugar that is found in cartilage, so the theory is that supplements might improve the health of worn cartilage. Various studies have found it to be a safe and effective treatment for osteoarthritis. It is also available over the counter in health food shops.

There is little conclusive evidence that it is helpful to treat arthritis, but until recently there has been a “what harm can it do?” attitude towards it – it is naturally occurring after all. Unfortunately there is a suggestion that people who try this treatment themselves often exceed the recommended dosage- if the standard dose does not help them, they will often try more of it – to see if that works.

The study suggests that Glucosamine use may increase the risk of developing Glaucoma, because it can cause a rise in IOP in some people. The authors would themselves admit that the sample size of the study was small, and a larger follow up would be required to be certain that this finding is reproducible.

For the moment we should NOT advise that people should stop taking glucosamine supplements, but it is something to be aware of if you do use it- make sure to have your eyes regularly tested, and inform you eyecare practitioner that you are taking it.

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