When someone has glaucoma, their entire life is affected by it. It compromises your ability to see clearly and vision becomes impaired. As difficult as that is, there is no healing for the damage done by glaucoma. Does that mean you should quit? Absolutely not. There are various treatments, medications and procedures to stop the worsening of glaucoma. Better yet, you can even employ some natural remedies to help control your disease.
With that, if you start avoiding some things that increase the symptoms of glaucoma, your life will become so much better. Although glaucoma is being researched continuously, with many studies in the works, one thing is evident. Certain foods and activities can be harmful to your road to recovery with glaucoma. Let’s find out what are those things and try your best to avoid them.
Cut Trans fatty acids from your diet
Trans fatty acids are linked with high cholesterol levels. They are also known to damage blood vessels in our body. This damage can occur anywhere in the body, including our eyes. Everything we see, that is transmitted to our brain via the optic nerve, which is a very sensitive and vital part of the eye. Any damage to this nerve is irreversible. Consuming a high trans fatty acid diet can result in damaging the optic nerve. You should avoid foods like baked goods such as cookies, cakes, donuts or fried items like French fries or stick margarine to steer clear from worsening your glaucoma. It may also improve your eye health. When shopping, look for ‘partially hydrogenated oils’ in the ingredients list to spot foods with high trans fatty acids.
Identify and avoid food allergens
If you have food allergies, you may be at a higher risk of glaucoma. Work with your physician to supplement foods that cause allergic reactions. Generally, foods that cause allergies include soy, dairy, wheat and corn.
Steer clear of saturated fats
Foods high in saturated fats should also be on your things to avoid list. They not only worsen glaucoma but also cause increase in weight. A study on the effects of Body Mass Index on Intraocular pressure suggested that obesity may be associated with higher risk of glaucomatous injury with high IOP. Foods that contain saturated fats include fatty cuts of red meats like beef, pork or lamb. Excessive use of lard, shortening or butter should also be limited. Instead try to use olive oil for cooking.
Consume less coffee
Coffee is every American’s wakeup call, with a few exceptions, but if you have glaucoma or are likely to have glaucoma, you need to cut back on your coffee intake.
Food & Wine suggests that Americans are drinking more coffee than ever before, in the past 6 years. The percentage of Americans drinking a cup of coffee every day has rise to 64 percent, while this percentage was 62 percent in the year 2017.
Coffee has been recorded to increase IOP, leading to optic nerve damage. You can substitute coffee with a warm beverage like green tea, which is a much healthier choice given it is full of antioxidants. It also lowers your cholesterol and blood pressure, which are 2 known factors that worsen optic nerve damage.
Find complex carbohydrates
Carbohydrates raise the body’s insulin level. When you have glaucoma, keeping a normal insulin level is cruicial because an increase in insulin level causes an increase in IOP and blood pressure. That will worsen the symptoms of glaucoma. So what should you do? Should you stop consuming carbohydrates? No. You need carbohydrates to function properly, so what you can do is consume complex carbohydrates. The more complex the carbohydrate is, the less it will raise your insulin level. Foods such as beans and vegetables contain rich amount of complex carbohydrates. You can supplement these for simple carbohydrates found in foods like:
Yes exercise is good, in fact it is even recommended for patients with glaucoma to have an active and a well balanced lifestyle. So, why is it on this list? By this point, you might be well aware of the IOP and how it relates with glaucoma. Exercises that may cause an increase in the intraocular pressure are to be avoided, that’s all. These include any position where your head is lower than your body such as the inverted yoga pose.
Outdoor activities like scuba diving and bungee jumping should also be avoided, as they can raise eye pressure.
These are some of the things that you need to avoid when you have glaucoma. As silent as it is in stealing eyesight, you need to take all precautionary measures possible to live a better and healthy life. For more information on how to deal with glaucoma, read the article Better Management of Glaucoma – A Guide for Patients and Care Takers