As we age, certain abilities we take for granted can start to deteriorate. When it comes to vision, one of the most common problems is glaucoma, the second leading cause of blindness for senior citizens.
Glaucoma arises from an increase of pressure in the eye. That creates compression against the eye, leading to nerve damage and vision loss. A major challenge with glaucoma is that symptoms usually don’t appear until the disease is well along. It tends to first affect peripheral vision, but by the time people notice and get checked out, they may have lost almost 50% of their peripheral sight.
There is no cure, but there are steps you can take to avoid glaucoma.
Regular Eye Check-Ups
When did you last visit your eye doctor? Many people only see their optometrist when something is noticeably wrong, or they want a new prescription for glasses. However, you should go every year in order to ensure overall eye health.
Early detection of issues can minimize damage. Your optometrist can’t cure glaucoma, but he or she can get you started immediately on treatment.
Family Eye History
Has anyone in your family had glaucoma? That increases the possibility of you having it as well. Knowing your family eye history can help to keep you vigilant.
Wear Eye Protection
Do you have a job or hobby where your eyes are potentially at risk? Damage to an eye can increase the possibility of developing glaucoma, so be sure to use eye protection when appropriate. Wear polarized sunglasses to minimize eye damage from sun exposure.
You’re probably tired of hearing all the reasons why exercise is so important. Well, you need to hear another: it can help to prevent glaucoma. A recent study by the University of California, Los Angeles suggests that moderate-to-vigorous exercise can lower the risk of developing glaucoma.
A healthy diet can decrease your chance of developing this disease. Try to include regular portions of green and yellow vegetables, and fruits and vegetables high in Vitamin C, as well as food rich in Vitamin A (liver, carrots, milk, egg yolks), Vitamin D (fish, cod liver oil, fortified milk and cereal), Vitamin E (eggs, nuts, whole grains, wheat germ), Omega-3 Fatty Acids (wild salmon, sardines, walnuts), and Zinc (red meat, poultry, dairy products, oysters, and whole grain).
While food is the best delivery system, supplements containing these vitamins can also produce positive results. Cut back on or eliminate caffeinated foods and beverages as they can increase eye pressure.
Watch Your Insulin Levels
A rise in insulin levels can lead to a rise in blood pressure, which can also increase the pressure in your eye. Monitor your diet to minimize foods with high levels of sugar and carbs. People with diabetes are more susceptible to eye issues like glaucoma, which is further reason to watch what you eat and incorporate regular physical activity into your day-to-day routine.Image: 123RF