Deemed to be a chronic condition, Glaucoma is characterized by the excessive buildup of pressure inside the eye which would with time, damage the optic nerve. This would result in a temporary or permanent loss of vision (depending on the extent of the damage caused to the optic nerve).
The most common forms of treatment for glaucoma include medications, eye drops and surgical procedures. The main goal of these treatments would be to reduce the pressure buildup inside the eye. This can also be achieved by natural means, including certain essential dietary changes which would typically include certain foods that need to be eaten and certain foods that need to be avoided.
Necessary Dietary Changes For Glaucoma
Here are some of the essential dietary changes that need to be considered for individuals suffering from glaucoma.
Foods That Need To Be Avoided
Certain foods can increase the buildup of pressure inside the eyes and lead to the damage of the optic nerve. These include:
Foods Rich In Trans Fatty Acids
Foods rich in Trans Fatty Acids like cookies, donuts and French fries etc. which can potentially cause damage to the blood vessels in the body, including those in the eye which would ultimately damage the optic nerve as well.
Foods Rich In Saturated Fats
Foods rich in Saturated Fats: like red meats, full fat meats, beef etc. that can trigger an increase in the Body Mass Index (BMI) which has been related to glaucoma (as a result of increased intraocular pressure in the eye).
Coffee And Caffeinated Products
Coffee and caffeinated products that can increase the intraocular eye pressure and cause glaucoma.
Alcohol that can increase the pressure buildup inside the eyes, leading to glaucoma.
Foods That Need To Be Eaten
Increasing the intake of certain foods can help treat glaucoma effectively and prevent recurrences. Some of these foods include:
Foods Rich In Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids contain a substance called Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) which is most concentrated in the retina.This DHA can help prevent macular degeneration of the eye and boost retinal function, thereby preventing glaucoma induced blindness. Excellent natural sources of the nutrient include fishes, fish oils, nuts, flax seeds, eggs and krill oil etc.
Food Rich In Lutein
Lutein is a carotenoid containing antioxidant properties that help protect cellular damage at the retinal level (caused by pressure buildup). Eating foods rich in lutein can therefore, be extremely beneficial for individuals suffering from glaucoma.Excellent natural sources of lutein include spinach and other leafy green vegetables, colorful fruits, collard greens, broccoli, raw egg yolks, kale and Brussels sprouts.
Note: Consuming healthy fats along with lutein can help in the latter being easily absorbed by the body.
Foods Rich In Antioxidants
The antioxidant properties of these foods would prevent retinal damage at the cellular level to a great extent. In addition to this, they would also prevent the excessive growth of new blood cells under the retina which would otherwise lead to an increase in the intraocular eye pressure, a factor which would lead to the leakage of blood and fluids inside the eye. Some of the best natural sources of antioxidants include carrots, green collards, kale, dried peaches, leafy vegetables and green/black tea etc.
Foods Rich In Zeaxanthin
Zeaxanthin is another carotenoid that is considered helpful in treating/preventing a variety of vision related problems, including glaucoma.Adding foods rich in this nutrient to the daily diet can help protect the eyes from retinal damage caused by pressure buildup. Foods that are rich in Zeaxanthin include raw egg yolks, orange bell peppers, pumpkin, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash and gogi berries etc.