Help for Managing Glaucoma

By Eye Institute of Houston
July 15, 2016

GlaucomaGlaucoma is a common eye condition in which intraocular pressure is greater than it should be. The pressure against the optic nerve, light as it may be, gradually causes damage to the structure of the eye. The primary concern with glaucoma is that the patient may eventually lose his or her eyesight. Management is the best measure we currently have in the area of glaucoma treatment. This often involves making healthier lifestyle choices that promote optimal eye health.

Complement Medical Treatment with Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Pressure control within the eye is the primary goal in the treatment of glaucoma. Researchers continue to study the full affects of lifestyle and dietary habits on the eyes, especially when glaucoma has been diagnosed. Some of the suggestions that have stemmed from research include:

Avoid smoking. Tobacco smoke has been linked to certain eye diseases, such as macular degeneration and cataracts. This habit is not directly linked to glaucoma. However, because the delicate tissues within the eyes are affected by cigarette smoke, patients with glaucoma are encouraged to quit.

Avoid excessive alcohol consumption. Interestingly, research has indicated a temporary decrease in intraocular pressure after the consumption of alcohol. However, it has also shown an increase in intraocular pressure and individuals who consume alcohol on a daily basis. That being said, experts have yet to identify alcohol consumption as a risk factor to glaucoma. Taking a preventative approach, patients who have been diagnosed with this potential he serious eye condition may limit consumption to a few days a week.

Take it easy on the coffee! It is not that morning cup of coffee that may be dangerous to your eyes.  Individuals who are encouraged to curb their habit are those who routinely drink five or more cups in a day. In one study, it was discovered that there is a link between caffeine and glaucoma.

Be finicky about exercise. Experts across the field of medicine and fitness all agree that there are innumerable benefits to daily exercise. For patients with glaucoma, the type of exercise does matter. For instance, yoga is a type of exercise that offers significant benefit to physical health and mental well-being. However, there are certain poses that people with increased intraocular pressure should avoid. If yoga is a preferred type of exercise for you, speak with your instructor about poses you should avoid. Generally speaking, your best bet is to keep your head above your heart.

We continue to learn more about eye diseases like glaucoma thanks to ongoing research. At the Eye Institute of Houston, we approach patient care with the latest research in mind. For a comprehensive consultation and eye exam, call 713-668-7337.

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