GLAUCOMA AND NUTRITION: PRESERVE THE SIGHT!
Nutrition for Healthy Living with Glaucoma
When it comes to healthy living, what comes to our mind is mostly maintaining weight or may be regular blood check ups or visiting doctor regularly. Eyes are generally the most avoided organs. We are not regular with Eye check ups and eye health is mostly avoided unless some symptoms are observed. Generally the symptoms of eye disease are misunderstood as some common infection. One of such common disorder is Glaucoma.
Glaucoma is an eye disorder that causes damage to the optic nerve that carries information from the eye to the brain. It is also known as “Silent Thief of Sight” as the symptoms are not very prominent in the early stages and slowly leads to the loss of vision leading to blindness.
In most cases, glaucoma is associated with higher than normal pressure inside the eye — a condition called ocular hypertension. But it also can occur when intraocular pressure (IOP) is normal. If untreated or uncontrolled, glaucoma first causes peripheral vision loss and eventually leads to blindness.
This pressure builds up due to the accumulation of the watery fluid naturally present in the eyes. This fluid is generally drained from the eyes but in patients with Glaucoma, the system does not work properly leading to increase in the pressure of the fluids on the eye.
Some of the symptoms to look for are:
- Blurred vision
- Severe eye pain
- Visual disturbances
- Reddening of eye
- Halos around lights
It is very important that Glaucoma gets diagnosed correctly. There are several tests to measure the pressure and a routine visit to an ophthalmologist is a must for your eye health.
Medical nutrition therapy is not known to cure glaucoma but a healthy diet and healthy living can promote healthy eyesight. Below are some nutrients that improve overall eye health:
- Leutin and Zeaxanthin:
These are two types of carotenoids found in abundance in vegetables and fruits. They are potent antioxidants protecting against oxidative damage. These are considered as a vision powerhouse.
Sources: Spinach, Egg Yolks, Green Bell Peppers, Broccoli, Kale.
- Omega 3 fatty acid:
Studies show omega-3 fatty acids can help improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure and pressure in the eye (intraocular pressure).
Source: Walnuts, Flaxseeds, Chia Seeds, Almonds, Fish Oil Supplements.
- Flavonol-rich foods:
Make sure to give your eyes some much needed relief with flavonal-rich foods. You can sip on some green tea or take a bite of your favorite chocolate to get the preventive benefits of flavonal that extend even to glaucoma.
- Vitamins and minerals:
One reason for the damage to the optic nerves is deficiency of vitamin B12 and folate. So include different colored fruits and vegetables as they contain different pigments and are a good source of antioxidants.
Apart from including these nutrients, you can also bring some behavioral changes to your diet and lifestyle which will help in improving your eye health too.
- Go low cal: Refrain from high-calorie diets to avoid an increase in body fat.
- Avoid trans-fats: They lead to macular degeneration and may also interfere with the omega fats in the body.
- Drink small: Avoid drinking large amounts of liquid in a single take. It is preferable to drink small amounts through the course of the day.
- Be conservative with caffeine: Caffeine constricts blood flow to the eyes which can increase the pressure in your eye thereby adding to the risk of glaucoma.
For all the beautiful things you see around, make sure to take care of your eyes at all times and not just when some problem arises. With proper nutrition you can enable your eyes to cope with the daily pressures of routine life, so follow a healthy living, healthy eating and let your eyes sparkle!