Glaucoma is a worrisome condition that can impair vision and subsequently quality of life. A group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve and can lead to blindness is called glaucoma. The optic nerve is responsible for transmitting visual information from your eye to your brain. Damage to the optic nerve, often due to high eye pressure, can lead to glaucoma. Although glaucoma can occur at any age, it often affects the elderly. It is also one of the prominent causes of blindness in the elderly over the age of 60. Several forms of this eye disease have no warning symptoms. The development is so gradual that one may not witness any changes in vision until the condition progresses into its later stages. So regular eye exams are necessary to measure your eye pressure. Early detection can help slow and prevent vision loss. To that end, World Glaucoma Week is celebrated every year throughout the second week of March to raise awareness of glaucoma and encourage more people to get their eyes tested. This year “World Glaucoma Awareness Week” is celebrated from the 12thth until 18:00th March 2023. The theme for World Glaucoma Awareness Week 2023 is “The world is bright, keep your sight“.
It aims to make people aware of this medical condition worldwide and prioritize early detection and treatment of glaucoma, one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide. Early detection of asymptomatic glaucoma can help prevent vision loss. Late stage glaucoma is irreversible and can lead to blindness and vision loss. Fortunately, a healthy diet that contains the right nutritious foods can help reduce the risk of glaucoma later in life. Lowering eye pressure is a proven technique to treat this eye disease. Eating foods that can lower eye pressure and avoiding foods that can increase eye pressure can help minimize the risk of glaucoma. Consultation with certified dietitians and nutritionists can help you get a properly tailored diet that can help lower your eye pressure, protect your eyes, and help reduce the risk of this eye disease. Find out all about healthy eating that can help reduce your risk of developing glaucoma.
7 Healthy Diets to Reduce Glaucoma Risk
Follow a diet that helps maintain normal blood pressure and blood glucose levels, as it helps reduce the risk of glaucoma. Also, add plenty of antioxidants to your diet through fresh foods. Learn all about the diet below.
Enrich your diet with fresh fruits and vegetables
Several fruits and vegetables are rich sources of vitamin A, vitamin C, and the antioxidants zeaxanthin and lutein, which protect your eyes from oxidative stress associated with optic nerve damage. Thus, eating fresh fruits and vegetables such as carrots, oranges, and peaches, among others, can help minimize the risk of optic nerve damage and therefore glaucoma.
Include leafy greens in your diet
Leafy greens offer a number of health benefits, and they may also provide additional benefits to glaucoma patients. People who eat more leafy green vegetables, such as spinach and kale, have a lower risk of developing the disease than those who eat less of them. Women who ate more than one serving of kale and collard greens per week had a 57% lower risk of developing glaucoma than those who ate less than one serving of these leafy greens per month. Also, leafy greens reduce the risk of inflammation, macular degeneration and other chronic conditions such as heart disease and cancer.
Eat with nuts
Free radical damage can destroy the protective tissues of your eye’s retina. Seeds and nuts are rich sources of vitamin E, an important vitamin that protects your cells from free radical damage. Having sunflower seeds helps reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. You can also snack on hazelnuts, pistachios and almonds, which contain high levels of zeaxanthin and lutein.
Have fish in your meal
Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help minimize the risk of developing eye disease later on. Omega-3 fatty acids also help minimize eye pressure associated with glaucoma. So include salmon, halibut, sardines and tuna in your diet.
Go for dark chocolate
The flavanols in chocolate are antioxidants that improve blood flow to the eyes. Individuals who ate a bar of dark chocolate were found to experience improved vision within a few hours. So you can snack on dark chocolate in moderation. Consultation with certified nutritionists can help you have it in the right amount.
Drink a cup of tea every day
According to the British Journal of Ophthalmology, drinking at least one cup of hot tea a day reduces the risk of developing glaucoma by 74% compared to those who don’t drink it. So you can drink a cup of hot tea a day.
Enjoy black beans, bananas and pumpkin seeds
Consuming food sources of magnesium helps you easily meet the recommended daily intake of 300-400 of this mineral. Getting enough dietary magnesium helps improve blood flow to the eye in glaucoma patients. It also helps protect the retinal ganglion cells, which are responsible for processing visual information in the eye and transmitting it to the brain via the optic nerve. So include bananas, pumpkin seeds, avocados and black beans in your diet.
Foods to avoid while living with glaucoma or to reduce your risks
Certain foods need to be avoided or limited to maintain good eye health and reduce the risk of glaucoma. Here’s a quick summary of it.
- Foods that contribute to blood pressure abnormalities, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and obesity because they increase the risk of primary open-angle glaucoma.
- Maintain a low-calorie diet. Calorie restriction has a positive effect on the eyes. It triggers an anti-aging mechanism and helps limit eye dysfunction. A high-calorie diet is associated with a higher risk of glaucoma. So follow a low calorie diet.
- Reduce your salt intake. Salt is essential to our diet, but moderation is key. So, avoid excessive salt intake.
- Avoid excess caffeineAlthough coffee contains antioxidants, excessive caffeine consumption can raise blood pressure. This is not healthy for glaucoma patients.
- Instead of drinking large amounts of water at once, drink small amounts of water or fluids throughout the day.
So let’s take care of our eyes this World Glaucoma Awareness Week 2023 and spread the word to help more people enjoy good eye health by adopting this diet. Consulting certified dietitians and nutritionists like the health experts at Health Total can help you get a customized diet for good eye health that can help reduce your risk of glaucoma. Our diet not only helps improve eye health, but also nourishes you with essential nutrients, helps manage weight and boosts your immunity. So don’t waste time, contact us at Health Total and pave your way to enjoying good vision with a personalized diet for good eye health.
Sign up for a FREE consultation with the experts at Health Total for more tips on taking care of your eyes with a healthy diet or managing any other health condition. Call toll-free at 1-800-843-0206 and schedule an appointment.