High Stress Can Lead to Glaucoma: Tips to Reduce Stress

Most individuals with undiagnosed glaucoma do not notice any symptoms the condition is somewhat advanced. Technically, glaucoma is due to damage to the optic nerve, sometimes as a result of increased pressure of the aqueous humor –  the clear, watery fluid that circulates in the chamber of the eye between the cornea and the lens.


Stress has been determined to be a major cause of chronic glaucoma. Stress causes us to breathe shallowly, which reduces the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream, causing venous backflow in the head. This process effects the eyes’ ability to revolve ocular fluids, which in turn increases eye pressure. Although we do not know exactly how the optic nerve is damaged in glaucoma, one common factor in all cases of glaucoma is a lack of blood flow to the retina and optic nerve. This lack of blood flow results in retinal nerve cell death, enlargement of the optic cup, and an eventual loss of vision.

Here are a few suggestions for those who are trying to reduce stress in their lives:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Take walks in nature
  • Practice yoga or tai chi
  • Engage in prayer or meditation daily


Sufferers of glaucoma are often deficient in some or many of the important nutrients including essential fatty acids, lutein, zeaxanthin, taurine, alpha lipoic acid, antioxidants, bioflavonoids, zinc, selenium, vitamin B-complex.


Regular exercise is key to managing and preventing eye disease.  Many with glaucoma have concerns about their intraocular pressure (eye pressure) and allowing their heads to be below their hearts, as is common in yoga’s common inversion poses.  Those you might need to avoid include downward facing dog, head and shoulder stands, and any poses that require you to touch your toes while in a standing position.

Livestrong.com offers this tip for practicing a modified forward bend:

You can still enjoy the benefits of wide-legged forward bend by modifying how you practice it. Place a chair against a wall with the seat facing toward you. Hold your feet wide apart and keep them parallel. Lean slightly forward to keep your hips above your legs rather than behind your heels. Rest your forearms on the chair seat. Breathe deeply for 10 to 15 breaths, feeling an inner thigh and groin stretch and relaxing your back. Certified advanced Iyengar instructor Dean Learner emphasizes that modified forward bends should be part of your regular yoga practice.  Source: www.livestrong.com