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Want to avoid glaucoma? What you eat can help

By Cara Murez
Health Day reporter

MONDAY January 10, 2022 (HealthDay News) – Eat well to protect your eyesight.

This is the advice of the Glaucoma Research Foundation, which offers its recipe for healthier eyes.

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that cause progressive vision loss due to damage to the optic nerve. It is the second leading cause of blindness.

As with other health concerns, proper nutrition can make a difference to your eyes, the foundation notes.

Fruits and vegetables are good sources of vitamins A and C, as well as the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. These can protect against the oxidative stress associated with damage to the optic nerve and other eye tissues in glaucoma. A study of 584 black women found that those who consumed three or more servings of fruit or juice per day were 79% less likely to have glaucoma than those who had less than one.

Leafy greens are one of those vegetables to focus on. Research has found a link between the consumption of kale and spinach and a reduced risk of glaucoma, the foundation said. Consuming leafy greens is also linked to lower rates of inflammation, cancer, heart disease, and even macular degeneration, an eye disorder.

Nuts and seeds are good sources of vitamin E, which is important for keeping cells healthy and protecting them from damage by free radicals, which can break down protective retinal tissue, the foundation said.

He also suggests fish, especially salmon, tuna, sardines, and halibut, which have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that lower eye pressure associated with glaucoma.

And have a cup of tea while you’re at it. A study from the British Journal of Ophthalmology found that people who drank at least one cup of hot tea per day reduced their risk of glaucoma by 74% compared to those who did not.

The foundation also suggested chocolate, bananas, avocados, pumpkin seeds, and black beans for their health benefits.

People who are already living with glaucoma should avoid foods that contribute to metabolic syndrome, obesity, blood pressure problems, and diabetes. A diet that helps maintain normal blood pressure and blood sugar helps reduce the risk of glaucoma, the foundation said.

Eating a healthy number of calories and limiting carbohydrates can also have benefits for the eyes, he added.

More information

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more information on glaucoma.

SOURCE: Glaucoma Research Foundation, press release, January 4, 2022