There is evidence of the central regulation of intraocular pressure, and it has been suggested that vagal tone might be increased in glaucoma simplex. The nasal cycle, the simultaneous congestion-decongestion response in the nasal cavities, reflects the dynamic lateralisation of the autonomic nervous system. Since this lateralisation presents with sympathetic activity induced by left brain hemisphere stimulation and parasympathetic activity induced by right hemisphere stimulation, it was subsequently demonstrated that forced unilateral nostril breathing induces selective contralateral hemispheric stimulation as measured by relative increases in the electroencephalographic amplitude in the contralateral hemisphere as well as alternating lateralisation of plasma catecholamines. Using this functional vagotomy, we report that left hemispheric stimulation by 20 minutes of forced unilateral right nostril breathing led to a significant bilateral decrease of 4.6 mmHg (25%) in intraocular pressure in 46 patients with open and closed angle glaucoma. However, it significantly increased the IOP in three patients with neovascular, one with juvenile onset, and one with closed angle glaucoma.
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