Using Nutrition for Your Glaucoma

Glaucoma is known as the “silent thief of sight” and is one of the leading causes of blindness. January is Glaucoma Awareness month and is a great time to learn more about this disease which left unchecked it can lead to “tunnel vision” that can make daily life difficult and driving dangerous and often impossible.

I have been observed for glaucoma by Dr. Gullingsrud for the last several years. In December 2016 I was officially diagnosed with primary open-angle glaucoma. My peripheral vison loss has been rapid. A year after my diagnosis and being prescribed one eye drop, I am now on four eye drops—the max number of eye drops. I will be on these eye drops for the rest of my life unless I have surgery. I call this my healthcare insurance nightmare! One of the eye drops causes cysts on my retina. However, my wonderful retina specialist, Dr. Bennett with VitreoRetinal Surgery, PA, told me the risks of glaucoma outweigh the risks of the cysts. Great! Glaucoma is scary business!

Dr. Gullingsrud, my friendly ophthalmologist with Edina Eye Physicians and Surgeons, often tells me that when he met me I already had “train wreck eyes.” My mom has always said I was in a hurry from the time I was born 6 weeks early. Back then from what I hear, premature babies were given lots of oxygen. I have met many people my age who were premature babies who have significant vision problems just like me. Another risk factor for my glaucoma were my many eye surgeries. I have had cataract surgeries, vitrectomies (they remove the vitreous fluid from your eye and replace it), and laser surgery for glaucoma, which was not effective. 

The follow are recommendations by my smart, amazing sister Laurie Meyer, MS, RD, CD of Laurie Meyer Nutrition who is a Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist and Certified Leap Therapist.

Top Foods for Glaucoma:

Foods high in carotenoids – Orange and yellow vegetables are critical to provide sufficient vitamin A to keep eyes healthy. Eat foods high in antioxidants.
Fresh fruit and vegetable juices – Juices will provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to keep eyes healthy.
Blueberries and cherries – These two superfruits contain anthocyanidin that can help fight free radicals that damage eyes.
Wild fish – EPA/DHA fatty acids and astaxanthin found in wild salmon improve eye health.
Brewer’s yeast – Provides chromium, a mineral that has been shown to be beneficial for people with glaucoma (or you can take a chromium supplement 200-800 mcg).

Foods to Avoid:

Food allergies – Can be responsible for putting pressure on the eyes, avoid any foods that cause symptoms or a reaction.
Caffeine – Has been shown to reduce blood flow to the eyes.
Alcohol – Liver toxicity can lead to eye problems, therefore it is best to avoid alcohol.
Sugar – Consuming foods high in sugar can cause premature aging of eyes and increase the risk of diabetes and glaucoma.

Glaucoma Natural Treatment:

Bilberry (160 mg 2x daily)
Anthocyanoside extract helps improve blood flow and contains flavonoids that help support eye function.
Astaxanthin (2 mg per day)
Astaxanthin a potent carotenoid, that can help prevent retinal damage.
Fish Oil (1,000 mg daily)
Aim for least 600 mg of EPA and 400 mg DHA to help relieve intraocular pressure.
CoQ10 (300 mg daily)
An antioxidant that can help prevent free radical damage to the eyes.
Magnesium (250 mg 2x daily)
Relaxes the blood vessel walls and improves blood flow.
Vitamin C 1500 mg
Lowers intraocular pressure

If you have glaucoma what have you done to bring down your ocular pressure or stop this frightening disease? Laurie and I can’t wait to hear!

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