Glaucoma Prevention: 10 Ways to Prevent Vision Loss
Practical Advice on How to Avoid Glaucoma and Maintain Good Eyesight
Glaucoma is a disease that damages the optic nerve and causes loss of sight. Today, more than 3 million Americans suffer from this eye condition. It is one of the leading causes of blindness, but the majority of people are not even aware they have it as there are usually no early symptoms. Since there is no cure currently and the damage cannot be reversed, if you develop glaucoma, you will need medical care for the rest of your life.
So, how do you save your sight in time and avoid glaucoma? You can preserve your eyesight if you take steps to minimize the risks and catch the disease early. In this article we have compiled a summarized list of 10 essential ways to prevent glaucoma. Things like getting regular eye exams, regulating blood pressure, maintaining moderate weight, staying physically active, and eating nutrient-rich meals will help you alleviate vision loss. Get a healthy start by taking the precautionary measures below.
Table Of Contents:
- What is Glaucoma? Causes and symptoms
- Who is at risk of developing glaucoma?
- Glaucoma prevention measures
- Regular eye exams
- Maintaining healthy weight
- Wearing protective eyewear
- Blood pressure management
- Regular moderate exercising
- Eating a healthy diet
- Quitting smoking
- Oral hygiene
- Sleep positions
- Stress management
Makari Wellness: Treating Glaucoma & Other Eye Conditions Naturally
If you or someone you care about have been diagnosed with glaucoma, degenerative eye conditions, or other diseases, feel free to contact one of the leading traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners in the Greater San Diego area – Michael Woodward, L.Ac. of Makari Wellness. For more than 15 years we have been administering powerful and effective treatment plans for patients with various eye conditions, pain issues, neurological and orthopedic problems. Our healing strategies combine different techniques from Eastern medicine, such as acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, to treat symptoms of the illness naturally and to slow down or even stop further progression. By administering specialized ophthalmological “Micro Acupuncture 48” (M48A) we will help you maintain clear and healthy vision for a long time. The success of our proven medical plans is based on focusing on the patient’s energy and body’s overall condition and response to treatment instead of just treating the symptoms. Schedule your appointment for natural glaucoma symptoms treatment at (888) 871-8889 and start your journey to a clear vision today!
What Is Glaucoma? Causes And Symptoms
Glaucoma is a group of progressive eye diseases that damage your optic nerve. The optic nerve (the second cranial nerve) connects the eyes with the brain and sends visual information to the brain. When damaged, it leads to irreversible deterioration of eyesight. It typically starts as peripheral vision loss, which can eventually cause blindness if left untreated. It can’t be cured, but can usually be prevented with early treatments.
American Academy of Ophthalmology has projected that about 110 million people will be affected by glaucoma by the year of 2040 worldwide.
What Is Cupping Therapy
Glaucoma refers to a deterioration of the optic nerve and the increased pressure in the eye. Although the reason why it happens is not yet fully understood, we do know that increased eye pressure occurs due to accumulation and poor drainage of aqueous humor. Aqueous humor is a clear fluid that is constantly produced in the back of our eyes. When the drainage of this fluid is blocked or slowed, intraocular pressure (IOP) increases and the nerve gets damaged.
Although it is the most common type of disease, open angle glaucoma has no symptoms at all. For this reason, it is vital to have your eyes checked regularly by an eye specialist.
The symptoms of angle-closure glaucoma usually include eye pain, eye redness, blurred eyesight, headaches, nausea, and vomiting.
Who Is At Risk Of Developing Glaucoma?
Although mostly seniors are at risk, people of any age can get affected. Factors that are increasing the risk include:
- Age (typically people over 60)
- Ethnicity (high risks: African American, Japanese, Asian)
- Eye issues (injuries, inflammation, thin cornea)
- Elevated eye pressure
- Family history
- Specific medicine (corticosteroids)
- High myopia (nearsightedness)
- People with diabetes
- People with abnormally high or low blood pressure
How to Prevent Glaucoma from Worsening?
Even though you cannot alter all the risk factors, like age or ethnicity, what you can do is to notice early signs of the illness in order to prevent substantial damage.
We are sharing 10 key things you can do to protect your eyes and lower the risks.
1. Regular eye exams
The best way to spot early signs of glaucoma is to undergo sophisticated comprehensive dilated eye exams. By catching the disease early on and starting the treatment at the very beginning, you will be able to slow down the progress and ease the symptoms. This is because a regular eye exam detects the condition before any permanent damage is done to the optic nerve.
The exam includes glaucoma screening, optic nerve exam, ocular pressure check, eye’s drainage angle check, and peripheral vision test.
Typically, eye exams should be done as follows:
- Up to 40 years of age – every two to four years
- 40 to 54 years of age – every one to three years
- 55 to 64 years of age – every one to two years
- Over 65 years of age – at least once a year
By getting eye exams regularly, people over 65 will even be able to detect signs of other issues, such as macular degeneration, cataract, and diabetic retinopathy. Individuals who have been diagnosed with glaucoma will need to see their doctor at least 2 to 4 times a year so that the condition can be monitored closely.
2. Maintaining healthy weight
Studies have shown that maintaining moderate body weight helps lower the risks of glaucoma. Healthy weight prevents many other health problems, too, which is why you should strive to eat nutritious meals and get moderately physically active.
Overweight and obese individuals are at higher risk due to:
- elevated eye pressure
- reduced eye blood circulation
- raised neuroinflammation
- blood vessels dysregulation
- high blood pressure
3. Wearing protective eyewear
It is believed that UV light and serious eye injuries lead to permanent changes of the eye that can cause glaucoma in the future. This is why it is of utmost importance to wear proper eye protection if you are being exposed to the Sun, participating in sports, or operating power tools. Protect yourself from UV rays by wearing high-quality sunglasses and a wide hat with a wide brim.
4. Blood pressure management
Not managing your blood pressure could potentially lead to glaucoma. Although both higher and lower blood pressure have been reported in people with higher risks of the disease, high blood pressure is more prevalent. To keep your blood pressure under control, speak with your health provider.
Below you can find advice on how to prevent high blood pressure:
- a healthy diet (fresh fruits and vegetables, fiber and protein foods, low sodium food)
- moderate weight
- physical activity
- minimized alcohol consumption
If you have low blood pressure, here are the precautionary steps you can take:
- increasing fluid intake
- well-balanced diet (iron, vitamin B12)
- limiting/avoiding alcohol consumption
- talking to your doctor about medication
- check your thyroid, sugar levels, and infections
If you want to learn more about managing high blood pressure naturally by using traditional methods, like Chinese herbs and acupuncture, follow this link.
5. Regular moderate exercising
Research shows that movement and physical activity improve blood circulation and overall health. Brisk walking, bicycle riding, water aerobics, or dancing can be highly beneficial in glaucoma prevention. Practicing moderate exercise regulates blood circulation and oxygen supply to every body part, including the brain and eyes. In addition, the pressure inside the eyes is lowered and the likelihood of eye-related diseases is decreased.
For the best results, you should exercise 3-4 times a week for about half an hour.
Important note: Some types of high-intensity exercises (anaerobic) can have the opposite effect. Holding breath and straining might cause increased eye pressure and increased risk of the disease. Examples of these strenuous activities include weightlifting, sprinting, bench presses, and crunches.
Before starting exercise regimen, talk to your doctor about activities that are safe to perform and suitable for you.
6. Eating a healthy diet
A well-balanced diet and proper nutrition are vital factors in the prevention of major diseases in general. The food that you eat can in particular help you to eliminate health risks as you age. The same rule applies to glaucoma. By eating a nutrient-rich diet full of eye-healthy food you can lower the risks of disease.
Don’t forget to control portion sizes and eat meals containing lots of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy.
Leafy green vegetables & fruit
Research has found that food such as spinach, kale, broccoli, lettuce, and kiwi is rich in antioxidants, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which contribute to preserving good eye health in general. These powerful antioxidants are very potent and defend your eyes (and your body) from free radicals.
Fish and nuts
Fish, nuts, and legumes contain very important nutrients that are vital for overall eye health. Vitamin E is another essential antioxidant responsible for healthy cells, and it can be found in almonds, avocados, walnuts, and lentils. Omega-3 fatty acids which help fight eye degeneration can be found in sardines, tuna, trout, and halibut.
The mineral zinc is another nutrient that boosts the immune system and encourages normal cell growth. Since optic nerves contain substantial amount of zinc, eating food rich in zinc will help regenerate nerve cells. Zinc-rich food includes lean red meat, poultry, oysters, beans (lima beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas), nuts, eggs, and dairy.
7. Quitting smoking
The research has shown that individuals who smoke have higher eye pressure and higher risk of developing lots of eye-related diseases, like glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataract. Even though quitting smoking is not easy and may seem impossible at first, it is not. Talk to your doctor about ways to stop smoking and lead a smoke-free and healthy life.
8. Oral hygiene
Dental hygiene is quite important for everyone, and particularly for those individuals who fall into high risk categories. Certain studies found that gum disease is related to optic nerve deterioration in glaucoma cases. Make sure you maintain your oral hygiene and visit the dentist regularly.
9. Sleep positions
If you have glaucoma, you should avoid certain sleeping positions (eye against the pillow) and try to keep your head elevated about 20 degrees when you sleep. It is believed that it can reduce intraocular pressure (IOP). Speak to your doctor about the best sleeping positions for your condition.
10. Stress management
Glaucoma symptoms can be significantly worsened by stress, which is why you have to practice healthy ways of coping with stress. You should strive to introduce stress management strategies and self-care into your everyday routine to alleviate the development of glaucoma. Keeping stress level under control can also help maintain healthy blood pressure. You can relieve stress by practicing the following strategies:
- Meditation & deep breathing
- Relaxing and joyful activities
- Exercise (tai chi)
- Well-balanced meals
When To See Your Doctor
If you are starting to experience problems with eye-sight, such as blurred vision or eye pain, you should see your doctor. Furthermore, some glaucoma types do not have symptoms in the early stages, which is why it is crucial to undergo a detailed exam. If you haven’t had an eye exam recently, schedule an appointment.
Although glaucoma cannot be cured, various treatment plans can substantially reduce the severity of symptoms and slow down the development of the disease. The main objective is to minimize the pressure in the eye, which can be done I several different ways:
- Eye drops
- Traditional Chinese medicine
- Herbal medicine
- Laser procedures
Take Good Care Of Your Eyes Before You Lose Sight
Glaucoma is the type of condition that has no warning signs. Generally, by the time you notice subtle symptoms, the disease has already progressed to an advanced stage. Since you can’t restore vision that has already been lost, you should take proper care of your eyes and overall health. Getting your eyes checked regularly, especially over the age of 40, is one of the most important preventative steps you can take. Early detection, preventive measures and continuous attention are vital to protecting your vision for the years to come.