As Glaucoma Awareness Month comes to an end, we want to discuss ways in which people with this eye condition can support their eye health.
In our recent blog, we discussed how glaucoma affects the eyes and how it can cause vision loss if treatment does not begin early. Statistics put glaucoma at the top of the list of causes of blindness in our country. The group of diseases classified as glaucoma may be topped on the global scale by cataracts. However, there is a crucial difference between the two conditions. A person with cataracts may suffer extremely cloudy vision but, when they have cataracts removed, their vision is restored. When a person’s vision is disrupted by glaucoma, there is no getting it back.
Vision loss related to glaucoma comes down to persistent pressure on the optic nerve. This ocular structure is located at the very back of the eye. It is so delicate that any pressure on it could cause irreparable damage. Therefore, the objective in glaucoma treatment is to protect the optic nerve. This can be achieved by taking necessary measures to reduce pressure within the eye (intraocular pressure). Even if you are taking medication to control glaucoma, you are encouraged to also:
- Consume leafy greens. Studies have shown that leafy greens like kale and spinach contain specific antioxidants and nutrients that can lower glaucoma risks by up to 30 percent.
- Maintain an active lifestyle. Researchers from UCLA compared the intraocular pressure of active people to those who led a sedentary lifestyle. They found that people who regularly engaged in moderate to strenuous physical activity had lower intraocular pressure than those who did not exercise. Furthermore, researchers discovered that glaucoma risks could decrease by up to 25 percent with just 10 minutes of moderate to strenuous exercise.
- Avoid using marijuana. In recent years, the many medicinal benefits of marijuana have become widely known. Some have even said their marijuana use lowered eye pressure related to glaucoma. This is not a given. In fact, in some patients, the initial decrease in eye pressure due to marijuana use can boomerang back to a dramatic rise in pressure, increasing the risk to the optic nerve.
In our Ocala office, glaucoma management is customized to each patient. For assistance diagnosing or treating this condition, call (352) 237-8400.