Glaucoma and High-dose Vitamin C

by Andrew W. Saul


There have been quite a few papers published on reducing intraocular pressure with high oral doses of vitamin C. About 15 of them are discussed in a wonderful book with the unassuming title of The Healing Factor, written by Irwin Stone. Part of chapter 20 deals with glaucoma. The text of Stone's book is posted for free reading at

I have this contribution from retinal physiologist Robert G. Smith, PhD:

"All types of glaucoma generate high pressure in the eye, which damages the retina (the ganglion cells that send their axons out through the optic nerve) because the pressure shuts down the blood flow and prevents oxygen and nutrients from getting into the eye. So any method to reduce eye pressure will help, including vitamin C and E taken together. This can indeed lower pressure, but with very high pressure glaucoma the vitamin C treatment may not be enough.

"Acute closed angle glaucoma sometimes happens so quickly that medical intervention (drugs, surgery) may be necessary. It is painful and the cause isn't always obvious to the individual. An ophthalmologist can usually figure out how bad the problem is by measuring the pressure and providing some initial treatment to see how the eye responds. I am not an expert on how the surgery fixes the problem but evidently there is a surgical quick fix that can help, though it likely causes side effects. But since cataracts are quite common and are treated by removing the lens and replacing with a plastic insert, I imagine that in the process and tendency for the iris to stick to the replacement lens is mitigated.

"Over the long run (decades), adequate doses of vitamins and minerals along with an excellent diet are the way to go. Glaucoma may start with high blood pressure and oxidative damage to the eye tissues. These can be prevented with diet and high doses of vitamin C,D,E, magnesium, and high dose B-complex supplements, as well as colorful vegetables and/or adequate doses of vitamin A (which is necessary for vision, especially night vision). And wear dark glasses if out in the snow or on the beach for many hours. Airline pilots get higher rates of cataract because of UV and cosmic rays, which may also be involved in causing glaucoma."

(Dr. Robert G. Smith is Research Associate Professor at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of The Vitamin Cure for Eye Disease, from which pages 91-96 are recommended for additional information about glaucoma and nutrition.)


I would also recommend a serious look at as many of the following papers as you can manage, especially the boldfaced titles:


Head KA. Natural therapies for ocular disorders, part two: cataracts and glaucoma. Altern Med Rev. 2001 Apr;6(2):141-66. Review. PMID: 11302779


Wendt MD, Soparkar CN, Louie K, Basinger SF, Gross RL. Ascorbate stimulates type I and type III collagen in human Tenon's fibroblasts. J Glaucoma. 1997 Dec;6(6):402-7. PMID: 9407369


Schachtschabel DO, Binninger E. Stimulatory effects of ascorbic acid on hyaluronic acid synthesis of in vitro cultured normal and glaucomatous trabecular meshwork cells of the human eye. Z Gerontol. 1993 Jul-Aug;26(4):243-6.

PMID: 8212793


Aleksidze AT, Beradze IN, Golovachev OG. [Effect of the ascorbic acid of the aqueous humor on the lipid peroxidation process in the eye in primary open-angle glaucoma] Oftalmol Zh. 1989;(2):114-6. Russian. PMID: 2755654


Baxter RC. Vitamin C and glaucoma. J Am Optom Assoc. 1988 Jun;59(6):438. PMID: 3403887


Ringvold A, Johnsen H, Blika S. Senile cataract and ascorbic acid loading. Acta Ophthalmol (Copenh). 1985 Jun;63(3):277-80. PMID: 4036556


Asregadoo ER. Blood levels of thiamine and ascorbic acid in chronic open-angle glaucoma. Ann Ophthalmol. 1979 Jul;11(7):1095-1100. PMID: 485004


Lee PF, Fox R, Henrick I, Lam WK. Correlation of aqueous humor ascorbate with intraocular pressure and outflow facility in hereditary buphthalmic rabbits. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 1978 Aug;17(8):799-802. PMID: 567210


Ray SS, Thomas A. Intravenous glycerol-sodium ascorbate combination as osmotic agent to reduce intraocular pressure. Indian J Ophthalmol. 1977 Jul;25(2):27-30. PMID: 615147 


Fox RR, Lam KW, Coco JF. Effect of ascorbic acid on intraocular pressure of normal and buphthalmic rabbits. J Hered. 1977 May-Jun;68(3):179-83. PMID: 893992


Lee P, Lam KW, Lai M. Aqueous humor ascorbate concentration and open-angle glaucoma. Arch Ophthalmol. 1977 eb;95(2):308-10. PMID: 836213


Ogino T, Yoshikawa T, Hasebe N, Yaguchi S, Yada K. [Studies on experimental glaucoma. (II)--Variations in vitamin C level in the aqueous humor of the anterior chamber or rabbits treated with steroids (author's transl)] Nippon Ganka Gakkai Zasshi. 1976;80(4):226-9. Japanese. PMID: 945679 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


Lam KW, Lee PF. Analysis of ascorbate concentration in the aqueous humor by high-pressure liquid chromatography. Invest Ophthalmol. 1975 Dec;14(12):947-50. PMID: 1193811


Shen TM, MC. Clinical evaluation of glycerin-sodium Ascorbate solution in lowering intraocular pressure. Chin Med J (Engl). 1975 Jan;1(1):64-8. No abstract available. PMID: 803441


Fishbein SL, Goodstein S. The pressure lowering effect of ascorbic acid. Ann Ophthalmol. 1972 Jun;4(6):487-91. PMID: 5030227


Bietti G. Recent experimental, clinical, and therapeutic research on the problems of intraocular pressure and glaucoma. Am J Ophthalmol. 1972 Apr;73(4):475-500. Review. PMID: 4402298 or 4259816


Carapancea M, Ciontesco L, Udresco E.  [Homeostatic, experimental and clinical reactions of vitamin C and calcium in endo-ocular water metabolism in high-altitude hyperophthalmotonia] Rev Roum Physiol. 1972;9(4):311-22. Review. French. PMID: 4603582


Tams G. [The pressure-lowering action of glycerin ascorbate-Na] Klin Monatsbl Augenheilkd. 1971 May;158(5):663-7. German. PMID: 5578948


Noah VB, Geeraets WJ. The effect of ascorbic acid on the facility of outflow in normal and buphthalmic rabbits. Acta Ophthalmol (Copenh). 1971;49(3):410-7. PMID: 5171607


Katsnel'son LA, Suprun AV, Mogilevskaia FIa, Iartseva NS. [Treatment of glaucoma with glycero-ascorbate] Vestn Oftalmol. 1969 Nov-Dec;6:48-51. Russian. PMID: 5381942


Takeuchi T, Kitazawa Y, Nakamura C, Goto I.  [A comparative study on the effects of intravenous ascorbic acid and mannitol on IOP in man] Nippon Ganka Gakkai Zasshi. 1968 Apr 10;72(4):390-3. Japanese. PMID: 5693557


Moschini GB. [Modifications of hematic osmotic pressure and ocular tonus after intravenous infusions of high doses of vitamin C (sodium ascorbate)] Boll Ocul. 1968 Feb;47(2):143-52. Italian. PMID: 5744806


Bietti GB. [Possibilities of vitamin C administration as an intraocular pressure lowering agent. Studies on its mode of action] Ber Zusammenkunft Dtsch Ophthalmol Ges. 1968;68:190-206. German. PMID: 5756769


Missiroli A, Neuschüler R, Pecori Giraldi J. [Therapeutic possibilities of the association of oral glycerol and ascorbic acid in the treatment of glaucoma] Boll Ocul. 1967 Nov;46(11):877-90. Italian. PMID: 5606562


Suzuki Y, Kitazawa Y, Kawanishi K.  [The effect of intravenous ascorbic acid on IOP in man] Nippon Ganka Gakkai Zasshi. 1967 May;71(5):481-8. Japanese.  PMID: 5624920


Virno M, Bucci MG, Pecori-Giraldi J, Missiroli A. [Findings on the hypotensive intraocular effect of high oral doses of ascorbic acid. Preliminary results in glaucoma therapy] Boll Ocul. 1967 Apr;46(4):259-74. Italian. PMID: 5610221


Hilsdorf C.  [On the decrease of intraocular pressure by intravenous drop infusion of 20 per cent sodium ascorbinate] Klin Monatsbl Augenheilkd. 1967 Apr;150(3):352-8. German. PMID: 5587993


Suzuki Y, Kitazawa Y. [The effects of topical administration of ascorbic acid on aqueous humor dynamics of glaucomatous eyes] Nippon Ganka Gakkai Zasshi. 1967 Jan;71(1):57-60. Japanese. PMID: 6068742


Virno M, Bucci MG, Pecori-Giraldi J, Cantore G. Intravenous glycerol-vitamin C (sodium salt) as osmotic agents to reduce intraocular pressure. Am J Ophthalmol. 1966 Nov;62(5):824-33. PMID: 5928830


Phillips CI. Conservative management of the glaucomas. Trans Ophthalmol Soc U K. 1966;86:233-45. PMID: 5226576


Virno M, Bucci MG, Pecori-Giraldi J, Cantore GP.  [Sodium ascorbate as an osmotic agent in glaucoma] Boll Ocul. 1965 Aug;44(8):542-50. Italian. PMID: 5881731


Wirth A.  [Therapeutic procedures for modifying the rate of flow of aqueous humor. II. Administration of ascorbic acid in case of absent postoperative formation of the anterior chamber.] Boll Ocul. 1957 Feb;36(2):87-90. Italian. PMID: 13460039



Andrew Saul is the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at )

Copyright 2019, 2007 and prior years by Andrew W. Saul. 

Andrew W. Saul


AN IMPORTANT NOTE:  This page is not in any way offered as prescription, diagnosis nor treatment for any disease, illness, infirmity or physical condition.  Any form of self-treatment or alternative health program necessarily must involve an individual's acceptance of some risk, and no one should assume otherwise.  Persons needing medical care should obtain it from a physician.  Consult your doctor before making any health decision. 

Neither the author nor the webmaster has authorized the use of their names or the use of any material contained within in connection with the sale, promotion or advertising of any product or apparatus. Single-copy reproduction for individual, non-commercial use is permitted providing no alterations of content are made, and credit is given.



| Home | Order my Books | About the Author | Contact Us | Webmaster |