What to Do (and Not Do) If you Have Glaucoma

Asian senior couple wear brown aprons are holding red cookies cutters in heart shape over their eyesGlaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world today. It is a common eye disease that threatens eyesight by compressing the optic nerve at the back of the eye. What is unfortunate about this condition is that vision loss can be prevented. However, many people who have glaucoma don’t know it. The disease does not cause pain or other telltale signs that it exists. Unless a person is seeing their ophthalmologist regularly, they may not realize they have glaucoma until they have lost part of their vision. So, first and foremost, if you aren’t sure of your glaucoma risk, schedule a comprehensive eye exam at one of our convenient locations. Your experienced ophthalmologist can perform simple, painless tests to measure your intraocular pressure and to observe the health of your optic nerve. In addition to maintaining regular eye exams, people with glaucoma have a handful of things they should do and a few they shouldn’t. We’ll discuss them here.

Stay Active

Physical exercise is an integral aspect of general health and wellness. Most people realize this. When it comes to eye health and, in particular, glaucoma, studies indicate a direct correlation between physical activity and risk of progression. In one study, researchers found that physically active people were 73% less likely to have glaucoma than less-active study participants. Furthermore, research also points to a 20 percent reduction in glaucoma risks when moderate to strenuous physical exercise occurs three to four times a week.

Eat Well

Eating well means avoiding too much salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats. It means eating an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables that nourish the body with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Foods like leafy greens also have healthy nitrates that have been shown to reduce glaucoma risk by up 20 to 30 percent.

DON’T Smoke Marijuana

Marijuana has anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies show that it can help reduce pain and, not long ago, some celebrities touted its use for glaucoma management. The concern is that the temporary reduction in intraocular pressure that could result from marijuana use could stimulate an equal but opposite reaction. After the reduction could come a significant increase in the pressure inside the eye. This bounce-back could worsen rather than help the damage to the optic nerve.

Skip the Downward Dog

Most adults don’t spend time doing headstands or handstands the way we did as children. However, there are various forms of inversion that remain popular. An average yoga class may have several poses in which the body is inverted, such as downward dog. The problem with inversion is that, when the head is below the midsection of the body, blood can rush to the head. This influx of volume increases pressure in the eyes and can exacerbate the compression of the optic nerve.

Get to Know Your Eyes Better

Annual eye exams can provide you with important information regarding your overall health. A comprehensive exam performed by a board-certified ophthalmologist can measure intraocular pressure, observe the optic nerve, and more.  We’re here to provide professional service in a friendly, welcoming environment. To schedule a visit in Canfield, Alliance, or North Canton, contact us today.

Posted in: Glaucoma

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