Glaucoma is the result of damage to the optic nerve, often caused by increased pressure in the eye (intraocular pressure). This can happen when extra fluid builds up inside the eye (the eye makes too much fluid or does not drain well), and may happen after an eye injury, after eye surgery, or due to an eye tumor. Studies also indicate a possible link between heavy computer use and glaucoma, especially for computer users farsighted or nearsighted to begin with. Also, some medicines, such as corticosteroids used to treat other diseases may cause glaucoma.
Studies conducted at the University of Melbourne, Australia, in 2007 suggest that adding Omega-3 fatty acids to your diet can reduce the excessive intraocular pressure that causes most glaucoma.
In laboratory experiments groups of rats were raised on diets that contained sufficient or deficient amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3 rich diet contained (in a 5.5/1/.5 ratio):
- Safflower oil
- Flaxseed oil
- Tuna oil
The omega-3 deficient diet contained:
- Safflower oil only
Those rats raised on high omega-3 diets had a 13% decrease in intraocular pressure at 40 weeks of age. This lower pressure in the omega-3-rich group was associated with an increase in aqueous humor outflow -that fluid occupying the space between the crystalline lens and the cornea of the eye -and a decrease in ocular rigidity.
These results suggest that increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids over time, can reduce intraocular pressures that may cause glaucoma.
Note: Glaucoma can be difficult to detect until a significant amount of vision is lost. Most individuals with undiagnosed glaucoma do not suffer any symptoms, not even a reduction in peripheral vision. Regular eye exams should be utilized to detect potential problems.
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2007 Feb; 48(2):756-62. Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.