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How Diet Can Affect Glaucoma

How Diet Can Affect Glaucoma



Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness. There are many forms of glaucoma, all of them not giving away any warning signs. The condition damages the optic nerve, whose health is vital for good vision. Damage to the optic nerve is what eventually results in blindness.

The effects of glaucoma are gradual, leaving you suspecting nothing until it affects your vision. By this time, it is in the final stages. Reversal or treatment is not possible. Thus, it is important to go for regular eye exams to help with early diagnosis. Regular eye exams are necessary for people with diabetes or myopia. The reason is that they have the highest risk of getting glaucoma.



Glaucoma and Diet



If you get glaucoma, you will need treatment for the rest of your life. However, prevention is better than cure. Part of the advice to prevent glaucoma is to exercise and eat a healthy diet with various nutrients. The reason for this advice is that the only proven way to treat glaucoma is to lower eye pressure. 


Eating healthy and exercising makes your heart stronger. When your heart is strong, it requires less effort to pump blood. The result is less force on your arteries and other blood vessels as blood flow through them. Less force equals lower blood pressure, resulting in lower pressure in the eye and the optical nerve.



So How Does Diet Affect Glaucoma?



Fruits and Vegetables


These are rich in antioxidants and nitrates. Research shows that nitrates in green leafy vegetables lower the risk of open-angle glaucoma by 20 to 30 percent. There is also a decrease in the risk of getting glaucoma with a higher intake of certain fruits and vegetables. 


These fruits and vegetables include citrus fruits, berries, cruciate vegetables, and carrots. They contain vitamin A, vitamin C, and carotenoids. It is, therefore, important to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to help decrease the risk of getting glaucoma.


Plant-Based Fats and Proteins


Substituting carbohydrates with fat and proteins from plants reduces the risk of early loss of peripheral vision. Also, higher consumption of these fats and proteins will make you healthier and reduce your blood pressure. It eases the pressure in the eye and the optic nerve, reducing your risk of getting glaucoma.


Plant-based fats and proteins also reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes. Having type-2 diabetes puts you at a higher risk of developing glaucoma.


Vitamin B3


Research shows that daily high doses of vitamin B3 can lead to significant improvements in lowering eye pressure. The studies are in comparison to traditional treatments of lowering eye pressure. The results show that vitamin B3 does this faster than common treatments as it also improves nerve function.


It could, therefore, also prevent the degeneration of the optic nerve. Vitamin B3 or nicotinamide is available in various plant and animal-based foods. These include nuts, legumes, seeds, avocados, beef, eggs, and liver. The amino acid tryptophan also produces it in the body.


Omega-3 Fatty Acids


These acids are beneficial to those with glaucoma as they decrease intraocular pressure. They also increase the ocular blood flow and improve the functioning of the optic nerve. Omega-3 in combination with vitamin A is beneficial in the treatment of glaucoma.


For more on diet and its effects on glaucoma, visit Advanced Eyecare Consultants at our office in Libertyville or Lake Zurich, Illinois. You can also call (847) 994-4500 or (847) 438-7700 to book an appointment today.

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