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-How to prevent Glaucoma?
You may not be able to prevent glaucoma. But these self-care steps can help you detect it early, limit vision loss or slow its progress.
• Get regular eye care. Regular comprehensive eye exams can help detect glaucoma in its early stages before irreversible damage occurs. As a general rule, have comprehensive eye exams every four years beginning at age 40 and every two years from age 65. You may need more frequent screening if you're at high risk of glaucoma. Ask your doctor to recommend the right screening schedule for you.
• Know your family's eye health history. Glaucoma tends to run in families. If you're at increased risk, you may need more frequent screening.
• Exercise safely. Regular, moderate exercise may help prevent glaucoma by reducing eye pressure. Talk with your doctor about an appropriate exercise program.
• Take prescribed eye-drops regularly. Glaucoma eye-drops can significantly reduce the risk that high eye pressure will progress to glaucoma. To be effective, eye-drops prescribed by your doctor need to be used regularly even if you have no symptoms.
Wear eye protection. Serious eye injuries can lead to glaucoma. Wear eye protection when using power tools or playing high-speed racket sports on enclosed courts.
What are the symptoms of this disease?
Glaucoma is a complicated disease in which damage to the optic nerve results in vision loss.
There are several forms of glaucoma; the two most common forms are primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) and angle-closure glaucoma (ACG). Open-angle glaucoma is often called "the sneak thief of sight" because it has no symptoms until significant vision loss has occurred.
Symptoms of Open-Angle Glaucoma
There are typically no early warning signs or symptoms of open-angle glaucoma. It develops slowly and sometimes without noticeable sight loss for many years.
Most people who have open-angle glaucoma feel fine and do not notice a change in their vision at first because the initial loss of vision is of side or peripheral vision, and the visual acuity or sharpness of vision is maintained until late in the disease.
By the time a patient is aware of vision loss, the disease is usually quite advanced. Vision loss from glaucoma is not reversible with treatment, even with surgery.
Because open-angle glaucoma has few warning signs or symptoms before damage has occurred, it is important to see a doctor for regular eye examinations. If glaucoma is detected during an eye exam, your eye doctor can prescribe a preventative treatment to help protect your vision.
In open-angle glaucoma, the angle in your eye where the iris meets the cornea is as wide and open as it should be, but the eye's drainage canals become clogged over time, causing an increase in internal eye pressure and subsequent damage to the optic nerve. It is the most common type of glaucoma, affecting about four million Americans, many of whom do not know they have the disease.
You are at increased risk of glaucoma if your parents or siblings have the disease, if you are African-American or Latino, and possibly if you are diabetic or have cardiovascular disease. The risk of glaucoma also increases with age.
Symptoms of Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma
• Hazy or blurred vision
• The appearance of rainbow-colored circles around bright lights
• Severe eye and head pain
• Nausea or vomiting (accompanying severe eye pain)
• Sudden sight loss
In angle-closure glaucoma (also called narrow angle glaucoma), the angle is closed in many or most areas, causing increased eye pressure, which leads to optic nerve damage, and possible vision loss. This rise in eye pressure may occur suddenly (an acute attack of angle closure) or gradually. There are also early stages of the disease in which the angle is closed but the eye pressure may or may not be high and the optic nerve is not affected yet.
Symptoms of acute angle-closure glaucoma are very noticeable and damage occurs quickly. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate care from an ophthalmologist.
If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, it is important to set a regular schedule of examinations with your eye doctor to monitor your condition and make sure that your prescribed treatment is effectively maintaining a safe eye pressure.
Glaucoma and its symptoms can have a life-changing impact on anyone.
Is there any food that helps in preventing glaucoma?
Eating the right foods may help to reduce the risk of glaucoma, prevent the disease, and help people to maintain healthy eyesight longer in life.
Doctors have known for some time that too much salt can increase overall blood pressure, leading to increased intra-ocular pressure in the eyes, exacerbating glaucoma. Therefore, moderate salt consumption has been a standard dietary recommendation for those with, or at risk for, glaucoma. But the Spanish study goes further, examining the diets of people in two American ophthalmological studies, and in one study from Rotterdam.
According to these large population studies, intake of foods rich in retinol— a form of vitamin A— helps to reduce the risk of glaucoma. Retinol-rich foods include milk, liver, cheese and butter. Interestingly, there was no evidence that a diet rich in dietary fats has any role in the promotion of glaucoma, even though it is well established that, in general, excessive intake of fats contributes to obesity and cardiovascular disease.
Digging deeper, the researchers saw a correlation between lower rates of glaucoma and higher consumption of leafy green vegetables (notably cabbage), carrots, fruits and fruit juices in general, and especially orange-colored fruits such as peaches and apricots.
The Spanish study also recommended high antioxidant foods including green tea, chocolate (the darker and more bitter the better), coffee (skip the sugar and go easy on the cream), and regular black tea. At the same time, they cautioned that those who have well-established cases of glaucoma should consume little or no caffeine, as that can increase intraocular pressure and exacerbate the disease.
To a great extent, the study highlighted the benefits of the usual suspects. Leafy green vegetables and colorful foods are cited for their protective, disease-preventing benefits, due largely to their concentration of beneficial antioxidants. Flavonol-rich foods, notably tea, green tea, coffee and chocolate, offer preventive benefits that extent to glaucoma. And red wine, with its significant antioxidant load, is also recommended.
In the glaucoma study, the researchers provided a seven-point set of guidelines for reducing risk. They are:
1. Consume abundant amounts of colorful fruit and vegetables.
2. Avoid high intake of salt in patients with hypertensive glaucoma.
3. Refrain from high-calorie diets (restricting fat) to avoid an increase in body fat.
4. Consider eating fish or nuts rich in omega-3 PFA, which appear to reduce risk.
5. Avoid drinking large amounts of liquid in a single take. It is preferable to drink small amounts in the course of the day.
6. Consume moderate amounts of red wine, black chocolate and green tea.
7. Avoid coffee and caffeinated beverages into reduce increased blood pressure if you already have glaucoma.
Hundreds of years ago, Hippocrates, regarded as the father of modern medicine, said: "Let your food be thy medicine." Our grandmothers said pretty much the same thing. Now it appears that even with a leading cause of blindness, this advice is sage indeed.