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Alternative Eye Care Fallacies
Recently I’ve been asked about a few interesting therapies that have been reported on the internet or other sources. I thought I’d address these to help you in case you’ve heard of the same rumors.
- FALSE! Patients on birth control can have a steepening of their cornea which could cause keratoconus or people with Keratoconus (a cone shaped cornea) will have steepening while on birth control medicine. This is from a small trial in non-human eyes where the results were artificially induced and the change was mild. Since most people do not have Keratoconus, there is no reason to discontinue birth control medicine. Similarly even with Keratoconus, the natural tendency is for mild progression as we age. Therefore, Keratoconus will likely increase independent of birth control medicine. Bottom line - don’t stop taking your birth control medicine if you hear of this or have a concern.
- FALSE! Urine works well for pink eye. This seems to be a home remedy in some Caribbean countries. The reality is that this is not an effective therapy for viral or bacterial conjunctivitis. Furthermore, it must burn like heck! Don’t try this at home even if you hear that the first morning’s urine is the best.
- FALSE! Marijuana is the best treatment for glaucoma. While marijuana may have many therapeutic and medicinal beneficial effects, it also has significant side effects. Cannabis does reduce intraocular pressure by about 15% in an average patient. However, the currently available legal medicines in Tennessee provide 20-25% lower intraocular pressure and do not possess the deleterious side effects of smoking marijuana.