Fruits VeggiesGlaucoma: Diet, Health & Lifestyle: What You Need to Know!

As glaucoma is a chronic eye disease, we are often asked by glaucoma patients what diet, health and lifestyle factors can helpful or harmful to their eye health. There is a need to separate fact from fiction on recommendations and yet we can all take away some useful and practical information about the effect of diet, health and lifestyle on glaucoma.

Exercise and Glaucoma

One of the typical findings in glaucoma is that patients have an elevated intraocular pressure (IOP). Results from a number of studies indicate that aerobic exercise is associated with IOP lowering and according to the findings the change is greater among sedentary individuals than those who were already active and is independent of exercise duration or intensity. So, even a little aerobic exercise has a positive impact on lowering IOP! For anyone who feels they cannot incorporate exercise into their lifestyle-any kind of movement, even walking, may be beneficial. But, the key is consistency as you have to maintain your regimen because there is evidence showing as well that the effect of exercise on IOP does not continue when deconditioning occurs.

Diet and Glaucoma

There are many studies that suggest eating a healthy diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables-especially green leafy vegetables-is beneficial. This advice comes from studies showing that consumption of a diet rich in green leafy vegetables, or with a higher dietary nitrate intake (for which green leafy vegetables are an excellent source), seemed to protect against glaucoma. In general, there is no harm in increasing your intake of green leafy vegetables–EXCEPT that for patients taking the blood thinner Coumadin® or warfarin, you need to be aware that green leafy vegetables are high in vitamin K and should you should discuss any increase in their green vegetable intake with their primary care doctor so that medication dosages can be adjusted if necessary.

Acupuncture and Glaucoma

Today, many patients express an interest in alternative therapies such as acupuncture for managing treating their glaucoma.  In general, according to the results of a well-designed clinical study reported on acupuncture treatment for glaucoma in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, acupuncture is unlikely to be beneficial.

If you or someone you know is concerned about their risk of glaucoma please call your local optometrist to schedule a glaucoma eye exam and testing. If specialty care, treatment or surgery is required, please ask to be referred to one of the physicians at Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical GroupGoogle+ or to schedule an appointment.