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Glaucoma Drug and Weight Loss Program Combined to Battle Blinding Disorder

October 2014 — Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) is a condition that causes increased pressure in the head and eyes. Those who suffer from IIH tend to be young women who are obese, 86 percent of whom develop vision loss due to strain on the optic nerves.

Dumbbell and healthy salad.
In a study, effective management of IIH symptoms included workouts and healthy diets.

A new study from Saint Louis University looked at the effect glaucoma medication had on patients with IIH-related vision loss when combined with weight loss programs. The trial included 165 participants with IIH who had mild vision loss. They were enrolled in weight loss programs with meal plans, simple workout regimens and consultations with weight loss coaches. Participants were randomly assigned to use either the glaucoma medication or a placebo.

The vision of the participants who received the glaucoma medication improved twice as much as that of the placebo recipients. Additionally, those who used the medication and lost weight were able to complete daily tasks more easily and had increased quality of life.

The next part of the study will observe whether these changes are a long-term solution to managing the symptoms of IIH. Researchers will check in with participants for five years and record whether symptoms reappear when a healthy weight is maintained.