There are certain foods that can increase your risk for glaucoma or make your glaucoma worse if you already have it. Foods that are high in saturated fat and trans fatty acids should be avoided.
Health problems, diabetes, and high blood pressure all increase your risk for glaucoma. Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet can help in many ways.
Ultimately, eating a balanced diet full of nutrients and vitamins can enhance your eye health as well as your entire body wellness.
Triggering Foods for Glaucoma
Health conditions like diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure can put you at risk for glaucoma. These conditions can also be addressed somewhat through a balanced and healthy diet. Maintaining your overall health helps to preserve and protect your eye health as well.
Certain foods can make your glaucoma worse, often by increasing the IOP in your eyes. These foods should be avoided when possible:
- Trans fatty acids: Foods that contain partially hydrogenated oils, such as fried foods like French fries and donuts, and baked goods like cakes, should be avoided. These foods can lead to higher cholesterol levels and blood vessel damage, which can potentially damage the optic nerve and worsen glaucoma.
- Saturated fats: This includes foods such as red meats, beef, lard, and oils. Foods that are high in saturated fat can lead to weight gain, which can cause other eye conditions that can exacerbate glaucoma.
- Simple carbohydrates: This includes bread, potatoes, rice, baked goods, pasta, and cereal. These foods can elevate your insulin level, which in turn raises your IOP and blood pressure. This all can worsen glaucoma.
- Coffee: Caffeinated coffee can raise your IOP and make glaucoma worse.
- Food allergens: Common allergens include wheat, dairy, soy, and corn. Food allergies can be a trigger and increase the risk for glaucoma. If you suffer from food allergies, be sure to avoid foods that cause a reaction.
Other things to avoid with glaucoma include medications that contain steroids. These can raise your eye pressure and worsen the damage to your optic nerve.
Damage to your optic nerve that is caused by glaucoma is irreversible. It can lead to vision loss and blindness without proper management. Take your glaucoma medications, and watch what you eat and drink, to keep your glaucoma from progressing.
Foods to Include in Your Diet
Eating a balanced, nutritious, and colorful array of foods can help to preserve your eye health. It also provides your body with essential vitamins and minerals that can prevent and minimize glaucoma. Colorful fruits and vegetables are high in natural vitamins, which are vital for eye health.
There are some simple diet changes you can make that will help keep your eyes healthy. If you have glaucoma, consider making the switch from oils high in saturated fats to olive oil. Cut the fatty parts off your meats. Eat more lean meats like turkey, chicken, pork, and fish instead of red meat like beef.
If you have glaucoma, aim to include these foods in your diet:
Green Leafy Vegetables
kale, spinach, collard greens, Brussel sprouts, and cabbage
Fruits and Vegetables with High Levels of Vitamins A and C
peaches, lemons, oranges, grapefruit, celery, carrots, radishes, beets, and green beans
Antioxidant Rich Foods
acai berries, pomegranate, tomato products, flax seeds, bilberry, black and green tea, cranberries, and dark chocolate
beans and vegetables
A healthy diet can help maintain your overall health and wellness, and this can keep your eyes healthy and your glaucoma symptoms from worsening. Talk to your doctor about any diet changes or modifications before you make them.
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- Glaucoma Treatment. (December 2020). American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).
- 10 Things to Do Today to Prevent Vision Loss from Glaucoma. (February 2020). American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).
- What Vitamins and Nutrients Will Help Prevent My Glaucoma from Worsening? (July 2018). Glaucoma Research Foundation.