Glaucoma is caused by high intraocular pressure that damages the eyes’ optic nerves. The risk of developing the disease increases over the age of 60. If undetected or left untreated, elevated eye pressure can cause irreversible vision loss and even blindness.
Glaucoma is known as the ‘Silent Thief of Sight’ because most people aren’t aware that pressure is mounting in their eyes. For this reason, regular eye exams that include eye pressure measurements are vital to diagnose glaucoma early and prevent damage.
What can you do if you have glaucoma? Consider avoiding or modifying the activities and foods below that boost intraocular pressure.
Activities to Consider Modifying
Some activities cause increased eye pressure, but research isn’t conclusive on their effect on glaucoma. Consider modifying these activities:
- When weightlifting, use lighter weights. You’ll still get a good workout by increasing the number of repetitions with lighter weights.
- You might enjoy doing headstands and yoga positions with the head upside-down and below the heart, especially the downward-facing-dog position. Discuss with Dr. Tu and your yoga instructor whether these and other positions can be enjoyed safely. Your eye doctor will offer additional recommendations for safely enjoying yoga.
- If you play woodwind or brass instruments, such as the trumpet, French horn, or oboe, have Dr. Tu frequently check your intraocular pressure and visual field.
The Role of Consuming Unhealthy Foods
The following foods and food components can, directly and indirectly, harm the optic nerve and raise intraocular pressure, so consider reducing their consumption:
- Trans-fats can harm blood vessels, which can damage the optic nerve. Avoiding fried foods and processed foods high in trans-fats (such as French fries, fried chicken, and potato chips) can help.
- Saturated fats cause weight gain, which raises the body-mass index. A high BMI has been linked to intraocular pressure and glaucoma. It’s best to avoid foods high in saturated fats such as butter, cheese, and whole milk, and such fatty meats as salami and bacon.
- Caffeinated coffee increases intraocular pressure, so moderating consumption may be a good idea.
If you would like to discuss lifestyle choices that could help you decrease the risk or even prevent a worsening of your glaucoma, contact Regional Eye Center's Opthalmology Center.
Regional Eye Center's Opthalmology Center treats patients with glaucoma from Americus, Leesburg, Montezuma, , and throughout Georgia.