August 27 2021
Eyes manufacture as well as release fluids which normally occur at an equal rate. However, in certain conditions that affect the eye, the rate of retention of fluid is greater than the formation of the fluid which results in increasing the internal pressure of the eyeball which may also cause irreversible damage to the optic nerve and retina which if left untreated may lead to loss of vision. This condition is called glaucoma and it is one of the most common causes of blindness. Glaucoma is broadly classified into two types-
- closed-angle glaucoma occurs when the outflow of the fluid in one eye is obstructed by the iris which causes an increase in the fluid pressure which ultimately causes various symptoms such as intense pain, headache, and blurred vision. Loss of vision can occur very rapidly in this type of glaucoma if immediate medical intervention is not provided.
- open-angle glaucoma mainly occurs as a result of the gradual build of debris in the outflow channel of the eye which blocks the drainage and causes peripheral loss of vision which ultimately manifests in the form of tunnel vision.
Some of the most commonly associated causes of glaucoma include family history which increases the risk of developing glaucoma, the presence of other underlying eye disorders such as macular degeneration and nutritional deficiencies along the accumulation of toxins and debris in the eyes blocks the drainage of the fluid. Glaucoma in some cases may also occur as a result of side effects of some medications such as antidepressants, antihypertensives, and corticosteroids which may alter the eye pressure. Hence it is necessary to periodically get the eye pressure checked in individuals who are under the treatment of such conditions.
Eating for proper eye health
A major contributor to the maintenance of proper eye health lies in the reduction of accumulation of toxins as well as the debris along with maintaining the overall health of the body. It is also essential to incorporate the intake of various nutrients that can improve eye health. Adequate consumption of vitamin A is beneficial in maintaining eye health as its important constituent is carotenoids which have potent antioxidant activity that is associated with improving eye health. Some of the foods that are excellent sources of carotenoids are carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, apricots, kale, and pumpkins.
Food sources that contain flavonoids are also essential for optimal eye health. Consumption of cherries and blueberries is beneficial in improving eye health as they contain anthocyanins as well as anthocyanidin which have been found to regulate intraocular pressure. Studies show that omega 3 fatty acids are of great use in preventing and treating glaucoma. Omega 3 fatty acids are abundantly found in various foods such as freshly caught cold water fish which include salmon, tuna, and sardines. The presence of EPA and DHA helps in promoting the drainage from the eyes thereby reducing the intraocular pressure and thus play a major role in reducing the risk of developing glaucoma.
Fatty acids are useful in the treatment of diabetes. It has been established that individuals with diabetes are more prone to develop eye disorders such as glaucoma. Hence by creating and maintaining blood glucose fluctuations in the body, the incidence of eye disorders can also be prevented. Some of the minerals that are essential for the maintenance of eye health include chromium and magnesium. Brewer’s yeast is one of the best food sources of chromium and magnesium in the diet. The presence of a fungus in the constituents of bread as well as beer help in its fermentation. This fungus has been found to contain good levels of both chromium and magnesium which makes it an extremely valuable dietary constituent for the treatment of glaucoma. Cantaloupe, brown rice, dairy products, fish, and some types of meat are other rich sources of magnesium in the body that help in improving eye health.
Foods to avoid
Intake of some specific foods is associated with the worsening of the symptoms of glaucoma in some individuals and they should be eliminated from the diet. Any foods that are known to cause allergic reactions or sensitivity are avoided in patients suffering from glaucoma. These foods trigger the inflammatory response in the body thereby exponentially increasing eye pressure. In individuals who are known to have a greater risk of developing glaucoma, the consumption of caffeine should be decreased as it is known as a potent stimulator of intraocular pressure and in turn increases the blood flow to the eyes. In addition to these dietary modifications, avoiding foods that have increased chances of elevating the blood glucose levels and increasing the intake of foods that have a minimum amount of added sugars or artificial preservatives plays a key role in the maintenance of eye health.
Use of essential oils
The presence of chronic hypertension is one of the most hazardous risk factors for developing glaucoma. By the use of aromatherapy, blood pressure can be regulated which helps in decreasing the risk of developing glaucoma. Some of the most effective oils for use in aromatherapy for obtaining positive results in the symptomatic relief in glaucoma include lemon, helichrysum, cypress, clove, and frankincense.
Using nutritional supplements
Many individuals do not include the necessary essential nutrients and minerals in the diet that are needed for the proper maintenance of eye health. In such cases, supplementing with nutritional requirements is recommended. Alvizia supplements of ZMA whose important constituent is magnesium helps in relieving the blood pressure in the eyes by relaxing the blood vessels in the eyes thus improving circulation.
The use of bilberry extract has been found to contain beneficial effects in improving eye health as they play a major role in repairing eye damage and also improve eye function. Chromium supplements are good for balancing the blood glucose levels in diabetic patients and they also help in regulating eye pressure. Supplementing with Alvizia omega 3 fatty acids fish oil supplements has also been associated with reducing the rate of macular degeneration.