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Tips to Reduce Your Chance of Losing Your Vision
from the Most Common Cause of Blindness
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Source: American Academy of Ophthalmology
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Glaucoma is one of the leading
causes of vision loss worldwide, affecting nearly 60 million people.
can slow its progression, but there is no cure. It has long been thought that
lifestyle choices do not play a role in glaucoma, but several recent studies
show that lifestyle factors can influence eye pressure, which is a major risk
factor for the disease. During Glaucoma Awareness Month in January, the American
Academy of Ophthalmology wants to remind people that certain habits may help
minimize the risk of losing vision, beyond drugs and surgery.
regularly. A recent study showed that people who engaged in
moderate to vigorous physical activity appear to have a 73% lower risk of
developing glaucoma. This is because blood flow and pressure inside the eye
may change with exercise, which may affect glaucoma risk.
- Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables,
especially green, leafy ones. One study showed that people
who ate more leafy vegetables have a 20-30% lower risk of developing
glaucoma. Why? Nitrates in green vegetables can be converted to nitric
oxide, which can improve blood flow and help regulate pressure inside the
- Drink coffee in moderation.
yet, drink tea instead of coffee. A study published last month showed that
people who consumed at least one cup of hot tea daily had 74% decreased odds
of having glaucoma compared with those who did not consume hot tea. A little
coffee is fine, but excessive caffeine intake is not ideal. One study found
that drinking 5 or more cups of caffeinated coffee increased the risk of
developing glaucoma. How can tea help? Antioxidants and the flavonoids
contained in tea may improve the body’s ability to prevent the harmful
effects of free radical damage.
- Brush, floss, and visit the dentist
regularly. A recent study showed that tooth loss may be
linked to increased glaucoma risk. This is because periodontal disease may
trigger an inflammatory response that can contribute to glaucoma.
smoke. Studies indicate that smoking cigarettes increases
the risk of glaucoma, and has an overall negative impact on eye health.
- Maintain a healthy body weight. Studies show
that people with a higher body mass index (BMI) are at increased risk for
diabetes, and having diabetes puts people at risk of glaucoma. Having a too
low BMI is also associated with increased glaucoma risk.
screened regularly for glaucoma, especially if you have a family history of
the condition. Researchers have recently identified certain
genes that increase the risk of glaucoma. Those at higher risk of
glaucoma include people of African descent, people with diabetes, and those
with a family history of glaucoma. You are at increased risk if you have a
parent or brother or sister with glaucoma.
there is not enough clinical data to make broad recommendations regarding
lifestyle factors, you should discuss with your doctor whether specific changes
may be appropriate for you.
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