Tips That May Reduce Your Risk for Glaucoma Progression:
- Exercise regularly - A recent study showed that people who engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity appear to have a 73 percent lower risk of developing glaucoma. This is because blood flow and pressure inside the eye may change with exercise, which may affect glaucoma risk.
- Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, especially dark green leafy vegetables - Why? Nitrates in green vegetables can be converted to nitric oxide, which can improve blood flow and therefore perfusion to the optic nerve (the nerve that is damaged from glaucoma).
- Drink more tea and less coffee (sorry coffee "lovers") - A study showed that people who consumed at least one cup of hot tea daily had 74 percent decreased odds of having glaucoma compared with those who did not consume hot tea. A little coffee is fine, but excessive caffeine intake is not ideal. One study found that drinking 5 or more cups of caffeinated coffee increased the risk of developing glaucoma. How can tea help? Antioxidants and the flavonoids contained in tea may improve the body’s ability to prevent the harmful effects of free radical damage.
- Consider taking magnesium supplements - Studies suggest that an adequate intake of dietary magnesium may be beneficial for patients with glaucoma. Why? Magnesium improves circulation and seems to have a beneficial effect on glaucoma patients’ vision.
- Quite smoking - Studies indicate that smoking cigarettes increases the risk of glaucoma, and has an overall negative impact on general eye health.
- Avoid inverted postures when doing Yoga - Studies show head-down positions (e.g., downward dog posture) can increase eye pressure and are not recommended for glaucoma patients. There are plenty of yoga exercises that don’t have this effect.
- Avoid taking blood pressure medication right before bedtime ( unless specifically mandated by your cardiologist or internist to do so) - Why? Taking your blood pressure medication(s) at bedtime will decrease your blood pressure while you are asleep. During this same time, your eye pressure tends to be the highest also. So the effect of low blood pressure and high eye pressure is not a good combination for eyes at risk for glaucoma and/or eyes with glaucoma.
Source: American Academy of Ophthalmology and Optometry