Caffeine, added sugars, refined carbohydrates and unsaturated fats can increase the risk of developing glaucoma. However, maintaining a moderate weight can help manage this risk.
Glaucoma is an eye condition that causes increased fluid pressure in the area. Without treatment, it can lead to blindness. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide. Open-angle glaucoma, the most common form, results in increased eye pressure. Doctors treat it with medication or surgery to reduce eye pressure and prevent vision loss.
Additionally, recent research suggests that dietary modification may be a beneficial adjunct to medical treatment. This article looks at what foods to avoid with glaucoma and why. Additionally, it explores foods that may be beneficial and other lifestyle remedies that health experts recommend. Finally, it answers some frequently asked questions.
A 2018 review concludes that people with glaucoma should avoid excessive coffee consumption. Coffee is a rich source of caffeine, which can increase intraocular pressure (IOP) in the eye. However, more research is needed to confirm the association between caffeine and glaucoma.
Sugary foods and drinks
Diabetes doubles the risk of glaucoma, which is why people with diabetes need to control their blood sugar levels to avoid this complication. Also, some studies link high body mass index to high IOP. Avoiding sugary foods helps manage weight and diabetes. Here are some examples of sugary foods and drinks
– sweets and candies
– baked goods and cakes
– ice creams, sauces and syrups
– added sugars in processed foods
– sugary drinks and sodas
Excess consumption of refined carbohydrates can put a person at risk. Metabolic syndrome is a condition that appears to increase the risk of several diseases, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Refined carbohydrates have less nutritional value than unrefined carbohydrates and may contribute to weight gain.
Here are some examples of refined carbohydrates
– white bread
– white pasta and rice
– processed cereals for breakfast
– cakes and cookies
– crisps and snacks
A 2020 study found that changes in carb intake can directly impact eye health. Although research has shown the role of diet and weight loss in lowering IOP, no evidence has indicated that losing excess weight reduces the risk of glaucoma.
Polyunsaturated fats, especially those known as omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, can provide health benefits.
Consuming omega-3 acids can:
– contribute to cardiovascular health
– reduce triglycerides in the blood
– improve brain, joint and eye health
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods, such as fish, and in dietary supplements, such as fish oil.
However, despite these claims, research from 2018 linked higher levels of total polyunsaturated fatty acid intake with a significantly increased risk of glaucoma.
The aforementioned study concluded that a higher intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids helped reduce the risk of glaucoma. It also revealed that higher levels of total polyunsaturated fat led to a higher risk of glaucoma.
Other Glaucoma and Vision Loss Prevention Strategies
Although there is no cure for glaucoma, it is possible to take steps to preserve vision and prevent vision loss. These measures are as follows:
– Have a comprehensive eye exam with dilation: People should have an eye exam as early as age 40, even if they are not in a high-risk group.
– Talk to your family members: They can discuss how to protect vision health, as open-angle glaucoma is hereditary.
– Maintain a moderate weight and blood pressure: an active lifestyle can help reduce the risk of glaucoma.
Finally, UV rays can cause a type of glaucoma. Experts recommend wearing quality polarized sunglasses and a hat during outdoor activities.
Foods and Nutrients Beneficial for Glaucoma
According to a 2021 study there is emerging evidence that metabolic deficiencies may play a critical role in the development of glaucoma.
Foods that, in moderation, may have beneficial effects include:
– plant foods rich in antioxidants such as:
foods rich in omega-3 such as:
Tea rich in polyphenols, including green tea.
vitamins and spices.
Another study suggests that vitamin A and ginkgo biloba may benefit glaucoma. Finally, a 2022 review indicates that the following may have protective and anti-inflammatory effects:
– vitamins B3 and D
A balanced diet does not prevent glaucoma in everyone, but eating certain foods does have benefits for people with the condition. She recommends incorporating the following into a nutritious diet:
– lots of fruits and vegetables
– leafy green vegetables
– oily fish
Health experts recommend avoiding added sugars and refined carbohydrates to help prevent glaucoma or vision loss. Also, coffee can increase intraocular pressure, so it is best to avoid or limit its consumption. However, a diet rich in vegetables and fruits containing vital vitamins and minerals can help protect vision.