A diagnosis of glaucoma can be scary, and you may have more questions than answers.  The more you learn about the prevention, treatment and causes of glaucoma, the better able you will be to decide which direction to go first.  Although there is no cure for glaucoma, there are ways to manage your symptoms so you can lead a normal life.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a term used to identify a group of diseases that irreversibly damage the optic nerve causing vision loss and if left untreated, blindness. [1] Often referred to as the silent thief of sight, this disease affects over 4 million Americans currently many of whom are not aware they have it at all.

Common Types of Glaucoma

          1. Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) is the most common type of glaucoma. Loss of side-vision or peripheral vision is usually one of the first recognizable signs that something is wrong.[1]

          2. Primary congenital glaucoma (PCG) is the most common childhood glaucoma affecting children from birth to age 3 and is a major cause of blindness in this young population. Signs to watch for in children include usually large eyes, excessive tearing, cloudy eyes and sensitivity to light. [1]

Who Is At Risk?

Everyone is at risk for glaucoma.  However, there are certain groups who are at higher risk.

  • Glaucoma is eight times more common in African-Americans than in Caucasians. The Hispanic and Latino populations are also considered high-risk.
  • Anyone over 40-years-old.
  • Diabetics, people with high blood pressure, heart disease and hypothyroidism or nearsightedness are all at risk of developing this disease.
  • A family history of glaucoma may increase your risk.
  • Eye injuries such as retinal detachment, eye tumors, eye inflammations and eye surgery.
  • People with a history of prolonged use of corticosteroids. [2]

Better Nutrition for Better Sight

 

Remember when your mom used to tell you to eat all your carrots because they’re good for your eyesight?  Well, she was right!  Carrots contain beta-carotene which converts to vitamin A in the liver and helps to protect vision, especially night vision.

Adding leafy, green foods to your diet such as kale, collard greens and spinach are excellent sources of antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. These two key nutrients are found in high quantities in the eye.

Think zinc!  Lean meats and seafood are great sources of zinc.

Dark-colored berries such as blueberries and blackberries contain bioflavonoids which work by strengthening the capillaries that carry nutrients to eye muscles.  NOTE: Berries contain natural sugars; therefore eat in moderation to avoid increasing your insulin levels.

Foods to Avoid

If you already have glaucoma, it’s good to avoid caffeine since too much may elevate eye pressure.  Stay away from trans-fats which are found in many pre-packaged foods as well as highly-refined foods, such as white rice and white bread.

You Are Not Alone!

Check out these resources for support.

          1. This Glaucoma Facebook Group lets members exchange stories, websites and resources to offer each other support.

          2. Call your local hospital to find out if there is a local support group near you.  If not, consider starting one.

Living mindfully by choosing nutrient-rich foods and finding activities you enjoy for exercise, goes a long way in the prevention of glaucoma and other diseases.

Schedule an appointment for your or your loved one with our Vision Center
today by calling (706) 322-9599 extension 1500.

 

[1] www.glaucoma.org

[2] www.mercola.com


Jennifer Bell

Jennifer Bell has managed many specialty areas of healthcare including, kidney transplant, physical therapy and surgery.  She combines her expertise in patient relations with her love of writing to bring awareness of health related issues.   In her blog, Dreamlife Moments, she writes about mindfulness of time and recognizing more of the positive moments happening around us every day that creates a more positive life experience. Jennifer and her husband Byron are recent empty-nesters who enjoy traveling with their bichon Aissa, geocaching and volunteering wherever they go. Who is this chickie anyway? Connect with Jennifer on her Facebook Page, Blog and Twitter to find out more.