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Glaucoma is a progressive eye disease that is caused by a damaged optic nerve. Typically, trauma to the optic nerve is the result of a buildup of fluid at the front of the eye creating pressure on the optic nerve.

The optic nerve is a bundle of smaller nerves that send signals to the brain from a stimulus to the eye. As glaucoma progresses and the damage to optic nerve increases, sporadic blind spots will begin to arise in the field of vision. When the progressive disease takes over the entire nerve, blindness can be the end result. There is no cure for glaucoma yet but there are treatments and medication prescribed by ophthalmologists that dull the side effects and symptoms. Symptoms can vary but may include:

  • Small blind spots
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Redness of the eye
  • Severe pain in the eye or forehead

Glaucoma symptoms can often go undetected, making regular checkups vital to ensure your eyes stay happy and healthy. You don’t want any unfortunate surprises down the road and you only have one set of eyes, so it’s important to take care of them! As the optic nerve becomes more damaged and more severe, the systems become more debilitating over time. Ophthalmologists can analyze your overall eye health and if signs of glaucoma start to appear, your eye doctor can provide an early and effective treatment to try and curb it. The best way to reduce the severity and risk of a glaucoma diagnosis is to have regular check-ups with an ophthalmologist. Regular checkups ensure early detection and early preventative steps are being taken to reduce the risk.

Anybody can be at risk for the disease, but patients have a high predisposition to the disease if they are typically 40 or older, have diabetes, or have a family history of glaucoma. If you are in this category and may be at risk of developing glaucoma, there are several healthy lifestyle steps you can take to reduce your susceptibility to the eye disease, however always remember to also schedule regular eye check ups to ensure a professional eye doctor is assessing and monitoring your eye health.

Here are some of our tips on how to remain healthy and lower your risk of glaucoma:

Lower Your Blood Pressure

To reduce blood pressure, you should reduce caffeine intake, as evidence suggests it can spike an increase in your eye pressure. Some other ways to lower blood pressure are through meditation, limiting alcohol use, and decreasing sodium intake. Attempting to decrease your stress levels, along with implementing other healthy habits can work in your favor and lower blood pressure over time.

Protect Your Eyes and Avoid Injury

Another way to reduce your risk of glaucoma is to avoid eye injuries or eye trauma. That means protecting your eyes during home improvement projects, sports, or any other activity that could affect or damage your eyes. Overexposure to sunlight is also not ideal for eye health, therefore by wearing sunglasses with proper UV protection and hats when you’re outdoors you are proactively protecting your eyes to avoid any eye trauma.

Have a Healthy Lifestyle and Maintain a Healthy Weight

Having a healthy lifestyle is key for eye care. Exercises like swimming, walking, and biking can boost overall cardiovascular health which also effectively lowers blood pressure. Increased activity coupled with a healthier diet can promote better wellbeing and a lifestyle that inhibits the progressive disease from taking hold. Exercising is an important way to support eye health because it makes sure your body is in prime condition to effectively deter or fight off any eye diseases.

Healthy eating habits can also promote overall wellness and eye health. When healthy, your body is able to absorb vitamins and minerals through food better. Some of the crucial vitamins to include in your diet are carotenoids, vitamin C and vitamin E. It is best to eat foods high in carotenoids, which include spinach, kale, corn and broccoli. Carotenoids are known to boost overall immune health, protect eye cells, and aid in disease prevention. Vitamin C also provides a strong defense against glaucoma with its ability to combat high blood pressure and support the immune system. Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits, tomatoes, strawberries, and green peppers. Nourishing foods like eggs, nuts, vegetable oils, and whole grains provide the body with vitamin E to support eye health. Vitamin E is known for its antioxidant properties that help prevent and fight disease. Foods can be a powerful tool to foster a healthy environment for your body’s defense mechanisms.

There is still a lot of research going into the effects of a healthy diet and lifestyle on glaucoma, but it is important to work towards a healthier lifestyle for your overall well-being. A healthy diet and exercise are easy techniques to decrease your susceptibility to glaucoma down the line. Anybody can be at risk for glaucoma so make sure you are taking the necessary preventative steps to take a stand against glaucoma. While general lifestyle changes are always good preventative measures, the most important way to reduce your risk for untreated glaucoma progression is by regular visits with your ophthalmologist.
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