Glaucoma, or high eye pressure, is an eye disease that damages the optic nerve, which can lead to loss of vision if left untreated. We must take this condition seriously as it’s the second cause of blindness in the world.
Some people have a higher risk of developing glaucoma, such as those with diabetes, so they should take precautions to help prevent it, or at least postpone it.
Luckily, there’s something we can do to improve or prevent this eye condition. But first, let’s see who’s at risk for high eye pressure, as well as what are its symptoms.
The Risk for High Eye Pressure
We have a higher risk of glaucoma if we:
- Are older than 40 (aging increases the risk of optic nerve damage);
- Have a family history of the disease;
- Have diabetes (40 to 50% higher risk);
- Suffer from vision problems like farsightedness or nearsightedness.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
The warning signs of glaucoma or high eye pressure include the following:
- Blurred vision;
- Nausea or vomiting;
- A severe headache or eye pain;
- Seeing rainbow-colored halos in bright light;
- Sudden sight loss.
Still, the symptoms may vary from person to person, so it’s best to consult an eye doctor.
Prevention & Treatment
The most common form of glaucoma is open-angle glaucoma, although there are others such as angle-closure glaucoma.
The goal of glaucoma treatment is to reduce eye pressure. But, the best treatment is prevention, so here are few natural ways to prevent our eyes from premature aging and developing conditions such as glaucoma.
Tips to Prevent Glaucoma Naturally
Besides preventing, these lifestyle changes will help reduce eye pressure naturally.
1. Reduce Insulin and High Blood Sugar Levels
Insulin can raise our eye pressure, so it’s best to reduce it. We can help reduce insulin levels by avoiding foods high in carbs and sugar such as starches, sodas, bread, and sweets.
Walking, cycling or swimming can do wonders for our body, including our heart and eyes. Regular low-impact exercise can lower our eye pressure. Prefer exercising in nature than in a gym.
3. Reduce Stress
One of the effects of stress on our body is increased eye pressure. This is just one of the reasons why we should try to manage our stress by practicing yoga, meditation, or methods such as walking and listening to music.
4. Eat a Healthy Diet
Eat foods high in vitamin A, E, and C, fatty acids, and minerals to protect the optic nerve. Also, avoid carbs and sugar. Follow a diet high in leafy green veggies.
5. Quit Smoking
Smoking increases the risk of eye disorders, including diabetic retinopathy. Therefore, consider quitting this unhealthy habit.
6. Maintain Optimal Blood Pressure & Cholesterol
High cholesterol and blood pressure raise the risk of eye problems, including vision loss. So, be sure to keep these levels within a normal range.
Tips to Treat Glaucoma
Successful treatment of glaucoma requires one of the following three approaches:
- Reduction of eye pressure;
- Reduction of the volume of fluid produced within the eye;
- Improved outflow of fluid from eyes.
To achieve that, we need the following things:
1. Eye Drops
Our doctor can prescribe us one of the following eye drops, or a combination of them:
- Prostaglandins (Lumigan, Xalatan) and cholingeric agents (including Isopto Carbachol and Isopto Carbine). They will improve the fluid outflow from within our eyes;
- Alpha-adrenergic agonists (Alphagan, Iopidine) which reduce the secretion of fluid and increase the fluid outflow;
- Beta-blockers (Betoptic, Timoptic, Betimol) and carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (Azopt, Trusopt) which lower the fluid secretion within the eye.
2. Oral Medications
If eye drops are not sufficient for our condition, our doctor could also prescribe oral medications, usually as a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor.
In case prescribed medication and eye drops don’t improve our eye pressure, we might have to undergo some of the following surgical procedures:
- Drainage implants;
- Laser surgery;
- Filtering surgery.