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Can You Prevent Glaucoma?

Macular degeneration takes the lead as the biggest cause of vision loss in America. However, glaucoma is definitely in second place. While there is almost nothing that can be done about macular degeneration, there is hope for those suffering from glaucoma. And, for those at risk for developing glaucoma. Here are a few things you can do to take the first steps to prevent glaucoma.

Glaucoma is actually a group of diseases. They’re all caused by high pressure within the eye resulting in optic nerve damage.

Think of the optic nerve as a large cable made up of thousands of small wires. Each of these small wires carries images from your retina to your brain. Built-up pressure can damage these small wires causing blind spots to develop in your vision. If glaucoma is not diagnosed and treated it can lead to blindness in both eyes.

Most Common Types of Glaucoma

Primary glaucoma: Primary glaucoma is the most common and often sneaks up on people. There are two main categories of primary glaucoma:

  • Open-angle glaucoma: Open-angle glaucoma is the more common of the two. It is caused by the drainage canal being slowly blocked over time. It is often detected by your eye doctor during routine exams.
  • Closed-angle glaucoma: Closed-angle glaucoma is also known as acute glaucoma. It’s characterized by blurred vision and acute pain in the eye. This form is less common but does not have the gradual build up that open-angle glaucoma does.
  • Childhood glaucoma: Also known as congenital glaucoma. This is a rare form and is usually diagnosed in children before they reach one year of age. It’s caused by problems in the development of the drainage canals before birth.

A Silent Thief

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Glaucoma causes a gradual loss of sight. Many people do not even realize that they have a problem until extensive damage has been done.

According to Prevent Blindness America, risk factors for developing glaucoma include:

  • Family history: People with parents or other relatives who have had glaucoma are more likely to develop the disease.
  • Age: People over the age of 40 have a higher risk of developing glaucoma.
  • Diabetes: People suffering from diabetes are at a higher risk.
  • Race: An African and/or Afro-Caribbean heritage raises your risk by four to five times the levels of other races. It’s also more likely to show up at an early age.
  • Eye injury: Eye injuries or surgery can increase your risk of secondary glaucoma.
  • Steroid use: Extended use of steroids may increase the risk of developing glaucoma.
  • Myopia: People who are extremely nearsighted are at greater risk of developing glaucoma.

Recent medical advances have lowered the risk of losing your sight if you have glaucoma. New techniques are now available to diagnose and treat the disease.

Treat and Prevent Glaucoma

There are steps that you can take to prevent the onset of glaucoma, especially in high-risk patients. Aerobic exercises and a diet that is low in saturated fats can help to prevent eye problems that cause glaucoma. Lowering your intake of saturated fats is a good first step. But, it’s also important you add foods to your diet that contain the vitamins and nutrients that benefit your eyes.

A Glaucoma-Preventing Diet

Changing your diet has a two-fold benefit for your health. It will provide the vitamins and minerals you need for healthy eyes. And, those same vitamins are great for the rest of your body as well. While high eye pressure doesn’t always go hand in hand with high blood pressure, the connection still remains. Your eyes depend on blood flow just as the rest of your body does. One way to control high blood pressure is to change your diet and exercise.

A healthy diet that is low in saturated fats can help to prevent glaucoma. You can find saturated fats in red meats and dairy products. Use vegetable oils when you can because many of them include healthy fat, omega-3. A diet high in vegetables, fish and chicken offers the best results. However, many people just don’t have the time to eat as much as a truly healthy diet requires. Many of us skip breakfast and grab lunch on the run. We might only sit down to eat dinner when our schedule permits it.

For people with a fast-paced lifestyle, an eye vitamin or eye supplement may be the best option.  Many studies have been done that show adding vitamin supplements to your diet can lower your risk of developing glaucoma.

An Active Lifestyle to Prevent Glaucoma

Regular exercise can help to lower blood pressure and may help to reduce high eye pressure as well. Before starting on an exercise program talk to your medical professional. They can help you determine what exercises you should start with. They’ll guide you on how often you should exercise. For some people, it’s necessary to start out slowly and build up with an exercise program over time.

Regular Checkups with Your Eye Doctor

Your eye doctor can be your best friend. Take advantage of their knowledge and experience with eye health. Anyone over 35 should talk to their doctor about tests to measure eye pressure. If you have any of the risk factors discussed, talk to your doctor about scheduling eye exams more frequently. Discuss your concerns with your eye doctor; there may be new methods of testing and treatment.

Remember that just because a treatment works for your friend does not necessarily mean that it will work for you. Your doctor is the best resource you can have for what steps you should take. Everyone reacts differently to treatments. Your eye doctor can help you to find the best possible treatment for your condition.

The one thing you can do that won’t cause harm is improving your lifestyle. You have complete control over what you eat and how active you are. Take your health into your own hands; quit smoking and drink less. Eat your vegetables, healthy fast and other eye-healthy nutrients. Take a vision-boosting supplement for convenience. Your health is your biggest asset; take care of it and it’ll take care of you.

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Join or Start the Discussion

  1. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Bettie says:

    was diagnosed with Glaucoma I had cataract surgery last Nov, I cannot see out of my left eye I sometimes can see out lines. I was very disappointed in my optemoligist as it will be eight months till I see him. I have 2 different eye drops one twice a day and the other one at night. Do you have any suggestions. Thank you, Bettie from Canada

  2. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Marian Pollock says:

    I have been diagnosed with a very small angle in the eye 0 – 1 degree. The specialist recommended a laser peripheral iridotomy to prevent future glaucoma. This was discovered as he wanted to give me atropyn to dilate the eye to see the retina and he said it was not advised for such a small angled eye.

    I am wondering if I should have this laser treatment?

  3. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Peter says:

    Hi
    Over here in the UK we have reasonable eye care. I’m now 39 and have been living with glaucoma since the age of 20. I have lost about half the sight in one eye and the description of the condition as being a ‘silent thief’ is a good comparison.

    I’ve had surgery (trabeculectomy)- basically a hole in the surface of the eye with a flap of tissue stitched to enable eye fluid to drain more freely. It was extremely uncomfortable for the first week in recovery and the weeks after a hard but 3-months later I’m very comfortable. What is daunting is the need for the other eye to have the same procedure since the majority of my sight is via the ‘good eye’ which now needs preventative care. Quite hard when running a family and a business!

    Other treatments have been in the form of eye drops: timolol / travoprost and simbrinza which has harsh side effects however your eyes become immune to these treatments and eventually surgery becomes necessary. My advice is – take the surgery since it halts the advance of this awful diseaese

  4. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen ses says:

    Hi Tyler,

    I am 24yrs old. I am having high myopia -10.25 & -10.75
    In a span of 2 months my eye pressure went from 16 (both eyes) to 24(right) , 23 (left eye).
    Doctor prescribed me to take eye drops (travatan Z) after using the eyedrops for the first time my eyes became red, and then doctore suggested me to move to lumigen now.

    Are these eye drops really helping to reduce the eye pressure ?
    in what ways i can take care of my health?

  5. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen sri says:

    hi sir,

    I recently came to know my rt optic nerve is slightly affected when i went for eye exam. iam having sight -6.00 in both eyes, should i do eye exercises, if ido the sight is reduced how come i know ,i am 29yr, what multivitamins i can use, iam having one kid, can i plan for 2nd kid why b’coz my optic nerve affected so in confusion wheather to conceive or not, kindly pleaze suggest genuinely and what suggest me exercises and vitamins for how long i have to use….

  6. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen patrick says:

    I was told that BILBERRY is very good for vision. The americans could not do night flying the british did because they used a lot of BILBERRY. I was using it but had to stop because i use plavix. Good luck Pat Im talking about night flying during the 2nd World War.

  7. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Spencer Sabatta says:

    Glaucoma – can be prevented in most cases – by careful eating – and a healthy lifestyle..
    Things to do is the following:
    1) no Coca Cola
    2) no fizz drinks of any form
    3) no caffeine … and
    4) no coffee
    5) no real strong tea (eg English tea)
    6) no milk
    7) no cheese(note goats milk and cheese may be okay….
    8) no burgers and fast foods.
    9) drink at least – 4 cups (250ml)of distilled water a day… this helps to detox the body…
    10) eat watercress and rocket salads predominantly…
    11) eat only 50-100 gm red meat per week – and stir fry the meat – without condiments and too much oil.
    This diet seems very harsh – but what is best..??? – glaucoma, or a good diet.??
    Also – use Tyler’s OCU PLUS tablets – they work extremely well…but the diet must be clean and mean…. Thanks folks.
    Spencer.
    10) no alcohol or wines
    this seems to be rather harse

  8. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Joe says:

    wonderful news- hope it works

  9. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen merv speckman says:

    does avistin injection help AMD

    • Hi Merv,

      Avastin was initially created as a cancer medicine that interferes with the growth of cancer cells. Avastin is FDA approved for treatment of specific cancers but not macular degeneration.

      I suggest talking with your eye doctor about Avastin and your specific case as Avastin has been mentioned to help in some patients who have macular degeneration, but not to cure it. Also be aware that many people have complications when using Avastin.

      To your vision — for life,
      Tyler

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About the Author

Avatar for Tyler Sorensen

Tyler Sorensen is the President and CEO of Rebuild Your Vision. Formerly, Tyler studied Aeronautics (just like his brother) with the dream of becoming an airline pilot, however, after 9/11 his career path changed. After graduating top of his class with a Bachelor of Science in Informational Technologies and Administrative Management, he joined Rebuild Your Vision in 2002. With the guidance of many eye care professionals, including Behavioral Optometrists, Optometrists (O.D.), and Ophthalmologists (Eye M.D.), Tyler has spent nearly two decades studying the inner workings of the eye and conducting research.

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