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Diet’s Role in Reducing Glaucoma Risk

I recently read an article about diet recommendations for reducing the risk of glaucoma.  As you are aware, glaucoma is an eye disease that causes optic nerve damage which can lead to blindness if left untreated.  We spend most of our energy managing and treating glaucoma…with drops or laser or surgical procedures.  However, what if we can prevent glaucoma all together?

A recent study conducted in The Netherlands has new findings, however, about just how import diet may be in the prevention of glaucoma.  According to the study, foods rich in retinol, a form of Vitamin A, have been found to reduce the risk of glaucoma. These foods include milk, liver, cheese and butter.  Also, researchers found lower rates of glaucoma between those who consumed more leafy greens, including carrots, orange-colored fruits and especially cabbage. The last finding of the study was that foods high in antioxidants like green tea, dark chocolate and coffee contributed to reducing the risk of glaucoma. (It is important to note that caffeine intake, from foods high in antioxidants, especially coffee, are good to prevent the risk but researchers cautioned their use for those already diagnosed, due to their potential to aggravate the disease.)

If you’ve had the opportunity to hear me go on about nutrition and eating healthy regarding Macular Degeneration and Ocular Surface Disease (Dry Eye Syndrome), you’ll be happy to know that this study recommends the same advice for reducing the risk of glaucoma!!  My favorite is #6!  Enjoy!

The study outlined a seven-point set of guidelines for reducing the risk of glaucoma:

1. Consume abundant amounts of colorful fruit and vegetables.

2. Avoid high intake of salt in patients with hypertensive glaucoma.

3. Refrain from high-calorie diets (restricting fat) to avoid an increase in body fat.

4. Consider eating fish or nuts rich in omega-3 PFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids), which appears to reduce risk.

5. Avoid drinking large amounts of liquid in a single sitting. It is preferable to drink small amounts in the course of the day.

6. Consume moderate amounts of red wine, dark chocolate, and green tea.

7.  Avoid coffee and caffeinated beverages to reduce increased blood pressure if you already have glaucoma.