What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma has the unfortunate distinction of being one of the most common causes of blindness around the globe.
Damage to the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, and nerve damage to the retina are the root causes of glaucoma. This damage is created by a build-up of pressure inside the eye.
Currently existing damage cannot be reversed and standard treatments concentrate on preventing further damage. It’s important to identify glaucoma quickly to prevent any damage - which is why trips to the optician are so important.
How Does Glaucoma Develop?
Eyeballs feel wet because our eyes process a non-stop flow of liquid. This process ensures eyeballs remain moist, round, and of the right consistency.
The liquid that flows around our eyes is called aqueous humour. It drains out of the eyes in tiny channels. Glaucoma can occur when these channels become blocked and resulting pressure builds up in the eye. It’s known as intraocular pressure and leads to blindness.
What Is Hypnosis and Music Therapy?
Hypnotherapy is a type of therapy in which a hypnotherapist induces an altered state of consciousness and uses suggestion as a way of creating new behaviours in patients.
And Music Therapy?
Music therapy uses music, rhythm and voice to support and help individuals recovering from illness or conditions. Most people respond to music in some form or another because it can elicit soothing or exciting emotions from us and even bring back memories.
What’s Happened In The New Music Therapy Study?
When used to treat pressure in glaucoma patients, music therapy was found to reduce levels of cortisol, improve the psychic state and alter the higher endothelin levels found in the aqueous humour of glaucoma patients.
The study focused on 75 glaucoma patients for single sessions over a course of ten days. Researchers found that in particular:
- Intraocular pressure reduced significantly
- Galvanic skin resistance rose - this is a response to emotional change
- EEG showed relaxation levels improved
- Visual acuity (clarity of vision) and the visual field became slightly better
Using an electronic tonometer seven glaucoma patients aged 52-67 were studied alongside four young control subjects. The young control subjects were all easily hypnotised, but only four of the glaucoma patients took part because three were not receptive to the hypnotherapy.
Researchers found that on waking all glaucoma patients showed a drop in eye pressure in one if not both eyes. The measurement was as low as, or even lower than, pressure readings from their eye treatment over the preceding 12 months.
The patients also volunteered that they suffered from fewer headaches, less tearing, had better sleep and were more relaxed in general.
These studies highlight that our emotions affect glaucoma and although the actual reasons why are yet to be uncovered it’s still a great step in the right direction.
For now these therapies don’t replace regular trips to the optician, but for glaucoma sufferers they are attractive options not least because they avoid surgery and need no recovery time. No doubt the low cost will attract the attention of health services too.