The Role of Diet in Glaucoma Management
The body is a dynamic system. This means that not only does it require great clinical management for medical conditions, but it demands the right nutrition to work correctly. The management of glaucoma—a potentially serious eye condition—is directly impacted by the food you eat.
The following looks at why this is so and how you can easily incorporate a positive glaucoma diet into your regular eating pattern without any life-changing efforts.
Glaucoma: what it is and who it affects
- What is glaucoma?
- Who gets glaucoma?
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is described as raised pressure within the eye chamber—or raised intraocular pressure (IOP). If left untreated, it can cause irreparable damage to the optic nerve, eventually resulting in vision loss.
Who gets glaucoma?
While anyone can get glaucoma, some factors do increase the risk. These include:
- Having diabetes
- Being over 60 (over 40 for African Americans)
- Having a family history of the condition
Glaucoma: diet & lifestyle
- How food influences our health
- The ideal glaucoma diet
- Combining a glaucoma diet with lifestyle choices
How food influences our health
The food we eat has a dramatic influence on every area of our body. This includes the eyes and the progression or reduction in glaucoma symptoms. Therefore, if you’ve been diagnosed, paying close attention to your diet can play a big part in controlling the disease.
The ideal glaucoma diet
While eating the right foods certainly isn’t a magic bullet, there’s plenty of evidence that shows it plays a vital role in both reducing the risk of getting glaucoma and in reducing symptoms.
The following are the items you should be eating plenty of:
- Fruit and veg: Thanks to containing high levels of antioxidants (lutein and zeaxanthin) and vitamins A and C that help protect the eye tissues and optic nerve from damage. Green, leafy vegetables are particularly recommended—such as spinach and kale. Aim for 5 plus servings of fruit and vegetables per day.
- Fish: Tuna, halibut, salmon, and sardines contain good levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to help reduce IOP.
- Nuts and seeds: Including sunflower seeds, almonds, pistachios, and hazelnuts. These are great sources of vitamin E, which helps protect the tissues (and retinal tissues in particular) from free radical damage.
- Foods high in magnesium: Such as bananas, black beans, avocados, and pumpkin seeds. Preliminary research suggests that magnesium can help improve the blood flow to the eye and protect the tissue cells.
- Drink tea: At least one cup per day has been shown to lower the risk of developing glaucoma by 7f4%, according to a study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.
Of course, along with the foods you should eat, there are also some to avoid—or at least, keep to a minimum. These include highly processed items, such as white bread, white sugar, white rice, pasta, cakes, cookies, etc.
Combining a glaucoma diet with lifestyle choices
Healthy eating is only one element of the equation. Making lifestyle changes to help keep your weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels within normal ranges is vital to helping normalize IOP.
Easy ways to do this include:
- Reducing alcohol consumption
- Taking any prescribed medication as advised
- For diabetics, paying close attention to keeping your blood glucose under control
Other good lifestyle choices include giving up smoking (or not starting in the first place) and regular exercise. For adults aged 18-64, the CDC recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise.
Want the Best Care for Glaucoma? Diet & Lifestyle Combined with the Ultimate Care from the WBEC
AT the West Boca Eye Center, we provide cutting-edge glaucoma care from some of the best specialist ophthalmologists in the US. Headed by Dr. Brent Bellotte, this one-stop-shop for all aspects of eye care provides everything you need to diagnose and manage glaucoma.
Lifestyle and diet are only two elements of this. Combined with cutting-edge treatments, such as dropless therapy, means that a diagnosis of Glaucoma can be best managed to ensure your vision remains as good as possible.
Discover more at https://westbocaeyecenter.com/services/glaucoma-dropless-therapy/ and call today to book an appointment.
Book an appointment
Fill out the form below and our staff will reach out to you quickly to fully book your appointment and receive all of your necessary information.
Specializing in modern cataract surgery.
Located 1/2 miles North of West Boca Medical Center on Glades Road, directly behind Macy's Furniture Gallery.