January is Glaucoma Awareness Month and the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) is trying to arouse awareness about the need for early detection and treatment. The AAO is also raising awareness how some lifestyle choices can help protect eyesight in people with glaucoma.
The AAO has recommended the following lifestyle choices based on research that can help slow down vision loss in glaucoma:
Get Enough Physical Exercise. A study published in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, showed that people who participate in physical activity can slow vision loss from glaucoma.
Eye Relaxing Meditation. A new study published last month in the Journal Glaucoma showed that relaxing with some kinds of meditation can lower pressure in the eyes in people with glaucoma. This can also improve their quality of life by lowering stress hormones like cortisol.
Cannabidiol (CBD) can make glaucoma worse. A study published last month in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science shows that CBD actually raised eye pressure in mice.
Eat a diet rich in fresh 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. Leafy greens contain nitrates that can be converted to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide can improve blood flow and help regulate pressure inside the eye.
Don’t smoke. Smoking cigarettes raises the risk for developing glaucoma and has an overall negative impact on eye health.
Maintain a healthy body weight – not too fat and not too thin. People with a higher body mass index (BMI) are at an increased risk for diabetes. Diabetes puts people at risk of glaucoma. Having a too low BMI is also associated with increased glaucoma risk.
Glaucoma is a leading cause of vision loss and affects about three million people in the United States. However, glaucoma shows no early symptoms of the disease, so about half of the people who have glaucoma do not know they have it. Unfortunately, by the time symptoms set in the eyes have experienced damage that cannot be reversed. This is why all seniors should have a yearly dilated eye exam that will allow an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) to see if there are any early signs of glaucoma. While it cannot be cured, it can be treated to prevent further vision loss.
Some Seniors May Be Eligible for Glaucoma Screening
For seniors age 65 or older who are concerned about their risk of eye disease, you may be eligible for a medical eye exam often at no out-of-pocket cost through the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeCare America® program. For those at increased risk for glaucoma, they may qualify for a glaucoma exam through EyeCare America. This public service program matches volunteer ophthalmologists with eligible patients in need of eye care across the United States. To see if you or a loved one qualifies, visit EyeCare America to determine your eligibility.
The Park Crescent Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in East Orange, New Jersey
Choose a Rehab or Skilled Nursing Care Facility that offers physical activity and healthy meals like the Park Crescent Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in East Orange, New Jersey. Park Crescent offers plenty of physical exercise and they have a state-of-the-art gym. They also have fine dining with a healthy and delicious cuisine.
It is good to see that research has shown that making healthy lifestyle choices can help to preserve eyesight in a disease like glaucoma.