7 Healthy Diets and Healthy Habits That May Reduce Your Risk of Glaucoma

glaucoma healthy diets

Posted On March 18, 2023

Worldwide, glaucoma is a major cause of permanent blindness. Thankfully many glaucoma health diets and other healthy lifestyles exist that may help reduce your glaucoma risk. 

Glaucoma is thought to be the cause of the visual impairment of 5.7 million people worldwide. In glaucoma, the most significant risk factor is elevated intraocular pressure (IOP). However, recent studies on the pathogenesis of glaucoma suggest that mechanisms that are not dependent on IOP are also involved.

In today’s world of healthy lifestyles, there are no shortages of diet regimens – Paleo, Mediterranean, intermittent fasting – all promising superior results. According to research, numerous diseases are caused by bad lifestyle choices, including unhealthy diets, and following a healthy diet can even help you avoid some health problems.

According to some studies, a combination of lifestyle choices and the use of specific foods and nutritional supplements may help minimize your risk of raised eye pressure or avoid deterioration in your eye health.

Check with your eye doctor before making any dietary changes.

1. Consume fruits and leafy greens regularly for a glaucoma healthy diet

The nutrients and vitamins in fruits and leafy green vegetables include dietary nitrates, vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, as well as folate, magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium. They are known to protect against oxidative stress, which is linked to damage to the optic nerve and other eye structures in glaucoma.

Increased consumption of leafy green vegetables is linked to a lower chance of getting glaucoma, a primary cause of blindness, according to Harvard Researchers

The following foods are rich in these vitamins and minerals: kale, spinach, watercress, chard, mustard greens, arugula, romaine lettuce, and collard greens.

According to a study of 584 Black women, those who had three or more servings of fruit or fruit juice per day were 79 percent less likely to get glaucoma than those who drank less than one serving.

diet-for-healthy-eyes

Some vegetables that are rich in these required vitamins and minerals are 

  • kale, 
  • spinach, 
  • mustard greens,  
  • lettuce, and 
  • collard greens.

Excellent fruits rich in magnesium, which can help you get the recommended 300-400 mg per day include

  • Bananas, 
  • Avocados, 
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Black beans
  • Eggplants
  • Berries

2. Make sure you eat omega-3-rich fish

Because they help lower internal ocular pressure, omega-3 fatty acids are an excellent food for persons with glaucoma. Research has shown that it can reduce intraocular pressure which is the primary cause of glaucoma. They have optic neuroprotective characteristics and benefit the optic nerve by boosting blood flow to it.

High levels of omega-3 fatty acids that may protect the eyes from age-related diseases can be found in fish such as

  • Salmon, 
  • Tuna, 
  • Sardines
  • Halibut 

3. Increase your nut consumption

Besides being rich in vitamin E, nuts and seeds also protect cells against free radical damage, a leading cause of damage to the protective retinal structures of the eye. 

Some of the nuts that contain substantial amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin include

  • Pistachios
  • Almonds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Hazelnuts 

4. Always be Hydrated in the right way

Hydration is necessary for all physiological systems, including the visual system. The majority of eye physicians recommend two liters of water every day.

It is important to remember, however, that drinking a lot of water in a short period of time might actually elevate inner eye pressure. Instead, drink smaller amounts of water more regularly throughout the day.

Drinking eight glasses of 8 ounces of water every day, or about 2 liters, is recommended by health experts. This is called the eight-eight rule, and it is very simple to understand.

But not that there are no hard and fast rules about how much water you drink. It varies from individual and individual and many other factors like

You might need more water than someone else. How much water you need also depends on

  • Where you reside.
  • Your eating habits.
  • Your surroundings.
  • Your level of activity.
  • Your well-being.
  • During pregnancy or while breastfeeding

The most important takeaway- make sure to always be properly hydrated.

Make water your beverage of choice to avoid dehydration and ensure your body receives the fluids it requires. Make sure you drink plenty of water:

  • Between meals and with each meal
  • A few minutes before, during, and after exercise
  • If you are thirsty,

5. Reduce your caffeine intake.

Coffee temporarily raises IOP after ingestion, thus if you have high ocular pressure, you should limit your coffee consumption. One cup of caffeinated coffee per day is unlikely to harm you, however, consuming many cups per day is not recommended.

If you drink many cups of coffee every day, you should consider switching to decaf coffee.

Alternatively, drink more tea. Those who consumed at least one cup of hot tea daily reduced their chance of acquiring glaucoma by 74% compared to those who did not. More research is ongoing to grasp the connections fully, but this research published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology is noteworthy.

6. For a glaucoma healthy diet, consider dietary supplements.

Obtaining all of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you require from diet alone might be difficult. That is why a high-quality supplement may be worthwhile to include in your diet.

In addition to established glaucoma therapies, taking some vitamin supplements may help reduce the progression of the disease and potentially prevent or delay its start.

Vitamins B1, B12, C, A, E, thiamine, magnesium, and mirtogenol supplements may be the most helpful in fighting glaucoma. Ginkgo biloba, bilberry, and forskolin are herbal remedies that may help with glaucoma.

See your doctor about which solutions would be most beneficial to your condition, especially about dietary and lifestyle changes that can help prevent the start or progression of glaucoma.

healthy diet

7. Bonus tip: Maintain a normal weight

While there is no evidence that decreasing excess weight reduces the incidence of glaucoma, weight loss has been shown to reduce intraocular pressure (IOP) in humans. 

According to a particular study, significant weight loss following bariatric surgery is very weakly associated with IOP reduction. Another study found that after losing weight, the average IOP decreased. The only weight loss method proven to reduce the risk of developing glaucoma was eating less. Furthermore, morbid obesity is linked to greater inner eye pressure, which may raise the incidence of glaucoma and glaucomatous optic neuropathy.

Minus all the above weight management studies, you must know that maintaining an appropriate weight means you are not predisposed to unhealthy challenges. Whatever is good for your general health, is definitely great for your eye health.

A healthy lifestyle equals healthy eyes, which amounts to a meaningful and productive life.

In conclusion,

In addition to dietary suggestions, it is critical to avoid certain items that might raise the chance of developing glaucoma or worsen its symptoms. Processed foods heavy in sugar or salt, fried foods, coffee, alcohol, and trans fats found in many processed foods such as baked goods and fried foods are examples.

Glaucoma is the ‘thief of sight’ and you should know about it. Visit your optometrist for a comprehensive eye examination

Written by Dr. Okwukwe Davis

Okwukwe Davis is a Nigerian Optometrist with a flair for web design aligned with brand strategy. He loves to help Optometrists and Rising Professionals discover growth through his design & strategy studio - StarRose. In his spare time, he writes engaging content to help online platforms build meaningful relationships.

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