Glaucoma is a disease that involves increased pressure in the eye, which causes damage to the lens and the eyeball shape. What causes this disease isn’t known exactly.
The disease may eventually lead to blindness and it is a serious problem among adults that is increasing day by day. The gradual type of glaucoma usually works without symptoms and many people aren’t aware until it is too late. Some treatment is given to patients, but 10% of them eventually lose sight.
However, if diagnosed and treated in the early stages, it can often be controlled. Research shows that almost 2 million people in our country over the age of 40 suffer from this disease, which makes it the second leading cause of blindness among the world.
A study has shown that a proper diet can help us reduce the glaucoma risk and keep our eyes healthy for a long period of our lives. For instance, increased salt consumption increases blood pressure and eye pressure, and this leads to increased risk of developing glaucoma.
Thus, we need to eat salt more moderately even if we don’t have a risk of glaucoma.
Now we are going to name some foods that are scientifically proven to lower glaucoma risk:
1./2. Fruit: oranges and peaches
Researchers state that an increased intake of Vitamin C and A as well as carotenoids may be linked with lowering glaucoma risk. The study was conducted to 584 African-American women older than 65, 77 of whom (13.2%) were diagnosed with glaucoma in at least one eye. They consumed three or more daily servings of fruit and/or fruit juice (orange and peach) and at the end of the study, those who had more than two daily intakes of oranges/peaches were 79% less likely to develop glaucoma than those who had less than one intake daily. Thus, higher intake of Vitamin A,C, as well as beta-carotene significantly reduces the risk of developing glaucoma. It is also important to point out that eating the fresh fruit is more productive than the juice or other type of fruit package.
3./4. Vegetables: Collard greens and kale
Green leafy vegetables are a great source of nitrate and people who consume them on a regular basis have a lower risk of developing glaucoma, many studies show. Long-term data were collected and included over 100.000 US adults who didn’t have glaucoma at the beginning of the study. This study was divided and the Nurses’ Health Study followed women in the period 1984-2012, whereas the Health Professionals Follow-up Study followed men in the period 1986-2012. Men and women had eye examinations regularly and filled out dietary questionnaires. They consumed green leafy vegetables including lettuce, spinach, kale and chard. At the end of the study, 1483 people developed glaucoma and those participants who consumed the most nitrate were 48% less likely to develop paracentral glaucoma and 18% less likely to develop open-angle glaucoma.
- Black currants
Black currants are highly ranked in the list of eyesight helpers. The reason is that they contain high levels of anthocyanins that can be found in nature and high levels of fatty acids, which are also anti-inflammatory. These help maintaining the regular blood flow in the eye as well. Antocyanins in black currants were proven to slow down visual field deterioration in a trial lasting for 24 months, which was placebo-controlled as well.
- Wild-caught salmon
Fats such as omega-3 are a must for your body cells to function normally, and this includes eyesight as well. These fats, such as EPA and DHA can be found in great amount in fish, especially in wild-caught Alaskan salmon, containing these in high levels. A good source of EPA and DHA can be also found in fatty cold-water fish, including sardines, tuna, mackerel, and herring.
Wild-caught salmon also contains astaxanthin, an important nutrient that is great for your eyesight. This nutrient is produced by the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis to protect them from radiation, lack of nutrition, or intense sunlight. Thus, the two available sources of astaxanthin are: the algae who produce it and the consumers such as salmon, shellfish, and krill. What makes this nutrient great is its benefits for blindness prevention, which was proved by Dr. Mark Tso of the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University. He proved that astaxanthin is the most powerful antioxidant for eye health.
- Goji berries
Goji berry (Wolfberry) or Lycium barbarum is a well-known fruit used in Chinese medicine. The active components of it are Lycium barbarum polysaccharides (LBP). What makes this fruit special is the evidence in glaucoma treatment and prevention. A laboratory study shows how LBP can actually protect RGC (retinal ganglion cells) from harm caused by the elevated intraocular pressure (IOP). There are cells called microglia contained in the retina and they can be good or causing harm to the retinal ganglion cells. In a study of rats fed with lycium barbarum polysaccharides (LBP), the microglia were shown to be good or protective of retinal ganglion cells.
Eggplant is believed to treat various eye diseases such as high pressure (known as hypertension) and convergence insufficiency – eye fatigue, print moving on the eye, double vision, headaches, eye strain, blurred vision, or loss of place when reading. The high eye pressure, as we noticed, can lead to glaucoma and permanent vision loss. If you consume eggplant on a regular basis, however, it will lower this eye pressure and reduce eye fatigue, eye strain, blur vision, headaches and tension connected to the eyes. Because of these benefits, researchers claim it helps in lowering the risk of developing glaucoma.
9./10./11. Red wine, green tea, cocoa
New studies show that a moderate diet of red wine, chocolate or coca, and green tea can be beneficial for keeping yourself away from glaucoma. This is because of the flavonoid and polyphenol compounds found in plants. Green tea, red wine, and cocoa are rich in these and help patients dealing with glaucoma.
Catechins are powerful antioxidants found in green tea and studies show they affect the nerves of the eyes. It was proven with the help of a rat study conducted by Chi Pui Pang and published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. The rats were given green tea extracts and divided into groups. The results showed improvement in the eye nerves.
Drinking red wine in moderate doses does not damage your eyesight, but it actually reduces the eye pressure for a short-term period, the American Health Assistance Foundation explains.
Hopefully, patients should not fear the threatening risks of this disease, because natural food in moderation provides great eyesight for them and a lot more other health benefits.