Glaucoma Study Mindfulness Meditation Health Benefits How to do
Last updated 02/20/2022
The publication Gleams from the Glaucoma Research Foundation arrived last week in the mail. And just inside the cover is an article written by Dr. Shan Lin on meditation and glaucoma. Glaucoma study mindfulness meditation.
Glaucoma can be a difficult condition to live with. You may never realize how much you rely on your eyesight until something affects it. Most importantly, this condition can be prevented or caught early through regular eye exams. Above all, once your vision is permanently gone you can’t bring it back.
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Glaucoma Study Mindfulness Meditation
A certified meditation teacher gave guidance to 45 subjects. The other 45 were considered control subjects. Further, individuals for the study were age 45 or older.
These 90 participants had the most common type, primary open-angle glaucoma. Both groups remained using their prescription eye drops to lower their IOP while doing the study. However, the study did not access whether mindfulness mediation effected the progression of the person’s glaucoma.
Duration for the group consisted of meeting each day for an hour beginning at 8AM for 21 days. A deep breathing exercise was done for 15 minutes. Furthermore, patients were monitored for IOP, quality of life and stress-related hormones and chemicals.
Thus, at the conclusion of the 21 days it was discovered the eye pressure lowered by 25%. But the control group had no change. Those who meditated also had a huge reduction in stress-related chemicals. In addition, reported improvement with quality of life after 3 weeks.
How stress is connected to IOP is not sure. The theory is that hormones and chemicals that rise in the body when you are stressed could also work on eye receptors. For instance, stress mediators could affect the eye by increasing the IOP.
Although, this was a very limited study with a small group meditation did show benefits. More studies need to be considered including other ethnicities. That is to say, this may be a challenge to perform consistently and as long as the study was conducted.
Untreated glaucoma can lead to complete blindness. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology glaucoma affects 65 million people worldwide. And there is an estimate that 10% of them are blind.
Since stress can make any condition worse finding ways to manage this helps to improve conditions. Even, if it’s only for the stress relief alone. Further, it is suggested that psychological stress can increase eye pressure.
It is noted that meditation should not be used as treatment by itself. But as an addition it would be a useful tool. Meditation should be combined with the current treatments of glaucoma including eye drops, laser therapy or surgery.
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What is Mindfulness Meditation?
According to Mindful, mindfulness is your basic ability as a human to be fully present. In other words, you are aware of your location and what you’re doing. And not overwhelmed by distractions around you.
You may not know that this is something you possess naturally. But it can be practiced daily to have a better understanding. Further, you bring this awareness by your experiences through your senses or to your state of mind by your thoughts.
What is the Practice of Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindfulness meditation consists of a mental training practice. Focus is on training attention and awareness with your mental processes to bring calmness, clarity and improved concentration.
It encourages you to slow down your racing thoughts and release negativity. Thus, serving to achieve overall mental wellness.
So, mindfulness focuses on “the now”. That is to say, you acknowledge and accept your thoughts, feelings as well as sensations minus judgment.
There can be different techniques. However, mindfulness meditation includes deep breathing and being aware of your body and mind.
You don’t need any props or preparation to practice. Unless you enjoy adding candles or essential oils, it’s up to you. Mindfulness meditation only requires a comfortable place to sit, free time of 3-5 minutes without judgment.
How to do Mindfulness Meditation
Keep in mind that meditation is a practice and it’s never perfect. Mindfulness meditation is pretty straightforward that you can do it on your own. However, if you are practicing because of a certain health concern a teacher or program can support you getting started.
I urge you to check out yogadownload if you are interested in a program to get you started. There is a Mindfulness Meditation available with instructor Pradeep Teotia. This runs 15 minutes long for $3.99. A video is available to view.
Here are some easy steps for mindfulness meditation to start on your own.
Locate a comfortable and quiet place to sit. This can be on a chair or the floor. Further, your head, neck and torso should be straight but not ridged stiff. Thus, wearing comfortable, loose clothing will also prevent you from becoming distracted.
That is to say, you can practice anytime for as long as you want. Mindfulness meditation requires no dress code.
Think About a Timer
It’s not really needed but if you have problems focusing and forgetting about the time you might consider one. A soft, gentle alarm would be preferred. Likewise, this would take away any excuses for stopping and doing other things.
Some people tend to lose track of the time while meditating (me). So, this can assist with not going over your time if you have a schedule to keep. Most importantly, give yourself time after your meditation to acknowledge where you are and to get up slowly.
Just a few minutes every day is all that is needed to make a difference. You can begin with a short 5-minute session. In short, this can be lengthened 10 or 15 minutes until you become comfortable with meditating for 30-minute sessions.
Focus on Breathing
Acknowledge your breathing. Feel the air moving in and out of your body as you breathe. Therefore, notice how your belly rises and falls when air goes in and out of your nostrils.
Note Your Thoughts
It’s not so much that you want to entirely stop your thoughts but to just know they are there. When thoughts do pop up don’t ignore or suppress them. Above all, just accept them. To sum up, remain calm and go back to your breathing.
Take a Break
If on occasion you do drift away with your thoughts notice where your mind went. Don’t judge but return to your breathing. This can happen so don’t be hard on yourself. Most importantly, you practice returning to your breathing and refocusing on the present. This is how mindfulness works.
Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation
You may have chanted a mantra or did some breathing techniques in your yoga class before.
These practices all have beneficial aids like:
- Reducing blood pressure
- Suppressing oxidative stress
- Curbing the stress hormones
Mindfulness meditation practiced on a regular basis offers physical and mental health benefits. As we discussed earlier studies show how it reduces stress in glaucoma patients.
The practice has been a therapeutic approach to reduce symptoms of stress. In addition, it has been beneficial for many mental and physical conditions like anxiety, depression and chronic pain. According to research, those who meditate have reduced levels of cortisol and catecholamine.
Lower Heart Rate
In the US heart disease is one of the major causes of death. According to research mindfulness can be beneficial for your heart. One study included participants who enrolled in an online mindfulness meditation program. Most importantly, these participants showed significantly reduced heart rates and improved their performance on a cardiovascular capacity test.
For centuries meditation techniques have been practiced in Eastern cultures. This has been well documented.
Wrapping it up
There is no cure for glaucoma. The best thing to do is manage stress and have your eyes examined routinely. And mindfulness meditation is so easy to add to other glaucoma treatments.
Meditation has been shown to be a great tool to support many health conditions. Combining this with mindfulness adds other skills such as awareness and acceptance to improve your health. In conclusion, it is not perfect, and your mind may wander but you learn to bring yourself back.
Mary is the founder of All About Our Skin. Former esthetician and CPC. Enjoys researching skincare and has been studying our skin for the past fifteen years.