Prevent Glaucoma From Affecting Your Vision
The cause of glaucoma is unknown. This buildup of pressure in your eye can reduce your vision and eventually cause serious damage to the optic nerve, resulting in blindness. Doctors recognize a number of factors that can increase your risk of getting this disease. While you can't stop glaucoma completely, you can address some of these factors and reduce your risk.
Factors That Put You at High Risk of Glaucoma
There are three types of glaucoma: open-angle, angle-closure, and normal tension. The cause of each is a little different, but there are some common risk factors, such as:
- family history
- high eye pressure
- excess weight
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
Except for any family history of glaucoma, you have some control over the other factors. By working on these, you reduce your risk of developing this eye disease.
Lower Your Risk of Glaucoma
Making healthy choices and lifestyle changes in the following areas will decrease your risk of glaucoma.
- Once you turn 40, get a glaucoma test every three to five years, then yearly after you turn 60. Glaucoma develops slowly, and often with no symptoms until there is vision loss. Regular screening will catch this disease early so you can begin treatment.
- Exercise, limit caffeine and stop smoking to help keep high eye pressure from developing.
- Keep your blood pressure under control to prevent excess pressure in the blood vessels in your eye.
- Maintain a healthy weight to reduce your blood pressure and risk of other heart diseases.
- Watch cholesterol and triglycerides in your diet to further reduce heart disease.
- Keep your diabetes under control. This disease can damage the tiny blood vessels in your eye.
Diet Changes to Promote Eye Health
While making changes in your diet to control some of these risk factors, add the following foods, which will affect the health of your eyes:
- Dark green, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables contain carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin which are important for healthy vision. Examples include spinach, kale, okra, broccoli, mango, squash, bell peppers and sweet potatoes.
- Citrus fruits, berries, green peppers, tomatoes, and cantaloupes provide vitamin C for the health and repair of tissues.
- Eggs, wheat germ, nuts, oats and whole grains provide vitamin E used to strengthen the walls of blood vessels.
- Milk, eggs, salmon and other oily fish contain vitamin D that lets the cells and bones use calcium.
- Sardines, salmon, walnuts and flaxseed oil contain omega-3 fatty acids to build new cells.
These food items all help keep your eyes healthy and prevent the damaging effects of glaucoma.
Glaucoma is not curable and not completely preventable. By reducing your risk factors and boosting your health with diet and exercise, you can reduce the effects and limit the damage this disease can do to your vision. For more information, contact North Central Eye Associates Inc. or a similar organization.