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Supplement May Decrease Risk of Vision Loss

High blood pressure in the eye, known as ocular hypertension, can lead to glaucoma and vision loss. The condition occurs when the amount of oxygen and nutrient-rich fluid circulated through the eye exceeds the amount that is drained.

Oculular hypertension is considered anything above normal eye pressure which ranges from 10-21 mmHg. Approximately 10% of U.S. adults are known to suffer from this condition.

A study was published in the May 2010 issue of the journal Clinical Opthalmology which found that a supplement called Mirtogenol may help people with ocular hypertension increase blood flow to the eye.

Mirtogenol is a combination of Pycnogenol, a pine bark extract, and bilberry extract. It is packed with beneficial bioflavonoids (which are also found in fruits and vegetables) and has been associated with a number of health benefits.

For the study the researchers recruited 79 patients with ocular hypertension and no signs of glaucoma or vision loss.

The participants were randomly divided into three groups and received treatments of prescription eye drop medication Latanoprost, Mirtogenol tablets, or a combination of both.

The researchers found that participants taking Mirtogenol had a reduction in pressure from 38.1 to 29.0 mmHg, whereas in those taking Latanoprost the intraocular pressure decreased from 37.7 to 27.2 mmHg. In the group who took a combination of Mirtogenol and Latanoprost, the intraocular pressure decreased from 38.0 to 23.0 mmHg.

The researchers noted that other studies have reported that the bilberry extract may counteract the increased permeability of blood capillaries. Moreover, the pine bark extract may improve the lining of blood vessels and lower overall blood pressure, said the researchers.

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