Yogic pranayama and diaphragmatic breathing are potential adjunctive therapies for patients with glaucoma; however, they are not substitutes for medicine or eye drops.
Currently, medical or surgical lowering of intraocular pressure is the only therapeutic approach for treating primary open-angle glaucoma. Intraocular pressure maintenance is influenced by autonomic activity (sympathetic and parasympathetic). “Yogic pranayama” and “diaphragmatic breathing” are exercises that can affect autonomic activity by stimulating a wakeful hypometabolic state of parasympathetic dominance. We aimed to assess the effect of yogic pranayama and diaphragmatic breathing on intraocular pressure to determine whether it can be recommended for individuals with established glaucoma in combination with glaucoma medication as an adjuvant therapy.
Materials and Methods:
In this prospective, randomized trial, 90 patients with primary open-angle glaucoma (180 eyes, age: above 40 y) were assigned to either the control or yogic pranayama and diaphragmatic breathing exercise group. In the latter group, yogic pranayama and diaphragmatic breathing were practiced daily for 6 months. We measured the intraocular pressure at presentation and subsequently after 1, 3, and 6 months.
Compared with the wait-list group, the yogic pranayama and diaphragmatic breathing exercise group had significantly lowered intraocular pressure (right eye: 20.85±3.39 to 14.90±2.86 mm Hg; left eye: 20.30±4.12 to 14.25±3.85 mm Hg; P<0.001).
Yogic pranayama and diaphragmatic breathing exercises can reduce intraocular pressure in patients with primary open-angle glaucoma and can therefore be recommended as an adjuvant therapy.