Lifestyle can have a significant impact on the progression of glaucoma. Patients should follow their ophthalmologist’s advice. Also, research has shown that certain behavioral changes can help preserve vision. Natural Eye Care offers these tips.
Get Moving to Fight Glaucoma
If you are sedentary and have a glaucoma diagnosis, you can expect strong benefits from becoming active. A meta analysis1 showed that exercise reduced intraocular pressure in patients. The effect was largest on those who were sedentary and started exercising. Tips:
- Duration and intensity didn’t make that much difference. Even walking 30 to 60 minutes a day had a positive effect.
- Keep moving throughout the rest of your life. The effects stop soon after you cancel your exercise program.
- Avoid down-head yoga poses
Eat Your Veggies
Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, chard and kale are useful for reducing glaucoma symptoms.[ 2. J. H. Kang, W. C. Willett, et al. “Association of Dietary Nitrate Intake With Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma: A Prospective Analysis From the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study,” JAMA Ophthalmology, January 2016.] See more studies. Fruits and vegetables of any type are very important. This effect is likely related to antioxidants and nutrient availability. (Note: If taking blood thinners, ask your doctor about avoiding vitamin K-rich vegetables.) Tips:
- Adults should eat a balanced diet that includes at least 2 to 3 cups of vegetables and 1-1/2 to 2 cups of fruit per day.2 Or check out our Mediterranean Diet for Vision.
- Learn how to cook and serve tasty snacks such as kale chips and spinach dip
Control Blood Pressure
There is a relationship between high blood pressure and glaucoma progression (see articles). Blood pressure drives the flow of blood to the optic nerve. Patients with normal intraocular pressure may still have glaucoma progression if their blood pressure it too high. Tips:
- Follow your doctor’s guidelines for controlling hypertension
- Exercise every day
Glaucoma does not necessarily mean you will have significant vision loss. Follow your eye doctor’s instructions. Also, take full advantage of lifestyle factors you can control.
Source: “Evidence-based answers to lifestyle questions on glaucoma” by Cheryl Guttman Krader. Ophthalmology Times, July 01, 2016 http://ophthalmologytimes.modernmedicine.com/ophthalmologytimes/news/evidence-based-answers-lifestyle-questions-glaucoma