Yes, melatonin is often recommended by top glaucoma specialists, including Dr. David Richardson and Dr. Robert Ritch. Research shows melatonin can help reduce intraocular pressure and it is also a powerful antioxidant, including in the retina. Melatonin is also neuroprotective.
In the retina, melatonin acts as a free radical scavenger (antioxidant) and as a regulator of rod outer segment disc shedding. In other words, it has a protective effect on the photoreceptors' outer membranes and can reverse the effect of ocular hypertension on retinal function.
Melatonin has been shown to directly reduce intraocular pressure and, therefore, may have clinical potential for treating elevated eye pressure. (source)
The most common dose is around 3mg, but the effective dosage range is from less than 1 mg (500 mcg) up to 10 mg. Try to start with a smaller dose and increase if required.
Here is a longer article on the subject: Melatonin and Glaucoma | FitEyes.com
You can find a quality selection of melatonin supplements at the FitEyes store. Shopping at the FitEyes store supports the FitEyes community, including this website.
An April 1, 2021 article in Review of Optometry summed up the publication "Melatonin mitigates disrupted circadian rhythms, lowers intraocular pressure and improves retinal ganglion cell function in glaucoma" by Gubin D, Neroev V, Malishevskaya T, et al.
Glaucoma is associated with damage to the retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and disrupted circadian rhythms, but melatonin may be able to help. Researchers recently investigated the long-term effects of daily oral melatonin supplements on intraocular pressure (IOP), circadian rhythms, pattern electroretinogram, sleep and mood in patients with stable or advanced primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG).
The team found that melatonin increased the stability of systemic circadian rhythms by improving phase and IOP alignment. The researchers also reported that melatonin time-dependently decreased IOP and IOP standard deviation.
The researchers found that, “Melatonin improved retinal ganglion (nerve) cell function in advanced glaucoma.”
“Shorter sleep duration, later sleep phase and delayed body temperature circadian phase correlated with total RGC loss and dysfunction, preceded by lowered systemic circadian rhythm robustness and inter-daily phase stability in mild glaucoma patients compared with controls.”
In this study, patients with advanced glaucoma experienced the most beneficial effects of melatonin on sleep and mood.
In later stages of life, circadian rhythm alterations are normal, and the retina is particularly affected in the aging process. Many neurodegenerative pathologies demonstrate enhanced age-dependent RGC changes as well.
“Melatonin is regarded as a promising substance to ameliorate complex glaucoma-associated conditions of compromised well-being (i.e., disrupted circadian rhythms, altered sleep and mood).”
“Melatonin can influence IOP by means of both systemic and local mechanisms. A robust circadian rhythm of temperature synchronizes and maintains high-amplitude peripheral circadian rhythms. Melatonin is capable of resynchronizing circadian rhythms of body temperature in the elderly.
The authors found that melatonin reduces intraocular pressure:
Our present finding that melatonin decreased IOP depending on its 24-hour mean before administration is similar to what we found for blood pressure: a greater reduction associated with initially higher systolic blood pressure values. However, unlike systolic blood pressure, whose greatest reduction after melatonin was achieved between 3 and 8 o’clock in the morning, the greatest IOP reduction was evidenced during later diurnal hours, suggesting that mechanisms of melatonin effects on blood pressure and IOP are partly different.”
The researchers concluded that their results provide evidence for melatonin’s efficiency in restoring disrupted circadian rhythms in glaucoma. “This indicates that a personalized strategy of melatonin administration may further refine its treatment benefits,” they said.
A FitEyes member shared the following tips via the FitEyes email discussion list:
How to Increase Your Natural Melatonin Production
Increase the amount of daylight you are exposed to, particularly in the morning. Consider adding an early morning walk to your routine as soon as you get out of bed.
Go to bed early and sleep on a regular schedule. Staying up late can alter the production of melatonin.
Eat foods rich in the nutrients niacinamide, vitamin B-6 and magnesium.
Tart cherries are an excellent source of melatonin.
Consult your doctor if you are taking medications that lower melatonin. Calcium channel blockers lower melatonin production, for example. Calcium channel blockers are sometimes prescribed to glaucoma patients and they are commonly used to treat angina, high blood pressure and other heart conditions. Do not stop taking your medications without talking to your physician first.
Deal with stress. Use exercise, yoga, meditation, journaling or some other method of reducing stress. High stress levels can suppress the production of melatonin
- For some people melatonin can disturb sleep instead of enhance it (especially if you take too much).
- Adulterated melatonin supplements may contain serotonin and could interact with SSRI (antidepressent) medications.
- Melatonin may lower blood pressure.
- Melatonin can cause diarrhea in some people
- Buy only from retailers or brands you know and trust because investigations have found a lot of variation in quality.