What Is Glaucoma And How Can It Be Prevented?

Glaucoma is one of the more common eye diseases out there. In fact, more than 3 million people in the United States have glaucoma, according to the Bright Focus Foundation. This eye disease causes damage to the optic nerve and is more common in people with diabetes, high blood pressure and eye injuries. The idea of developing glaucoma is scary, so it is helpful to learn some more information about the disease.

What Causes Glaucoma?

The optic nerve damage from glaucoma is caused by increased pressure in the eye. This happens if there is an overproduction of fluid and it can't drain out of the eyes properly. Glaucoma is usually genetic, so you are more likely to develop it if you have a family history of the disease.

It is also possible to develop glaucoma from another condition. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, if your diabetes has caused abnormal blood vessel formation, you have an increased risk of developing glaucoma. Steroid medications and pigment dispersion can also lead to secondary glaucoma.

Can You Prevent Glaucoma?

Changing some of your lifestyle habits can decrease your risk of developing glaucoma. Here are several things you can do to reduce your chances of getting this eye disease in the future:

Eat the Right Foods

What you put in your mouth can have an effect on your chances of developing glaucoma. According to a study published in the Archives of the Spanish Society of Ophthalmology, people who eat a lot of retinol rich foods, such as cheese, liver and milk, have a lower risk of glaucoma. Leafy green vegetables and orange-colored fruits can also decrease your chances of developing this eye disease. In addition, reduce your sodium intake, as too much salt can increase the pressure in your eyes.

Get Regular Exercise

Regular exercise can have so many benefits for your body, including decreasing your risk of glaucoma. According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, aerobic exercise can reduce pressure in your eyes. The good news is that you do not have to exercise vigorously to experience the benefits. Even going for brisk walks four times a week can lower your chances of developing glaucoma in the future.

Protect Your Eyes

Eye injuries can increase your risk of glaucoma, so it is crucial to wear eye protection when it is necessary. For example, if you are playing a sport such as tennis or hockey, you should put eye goggles on beforehand. If you don't, the ball or puck could hit your eye and cause permanent damage. It is also a good idea to wear eye protection when you use power tools.

Consider Taking Eye Drops

If you have a family history of glaucoma, you may want to talk to your eye doctor about taking eye drops. These eye drops can reduce reduce pressures in your eyes, lowering your risk of glaucoma. It is important to use the eye drops regularly, even if your eyes seem perfectly healthy.

Do not Skip Your Eye Exams

Even if your eyesight has never been better, you should still have an eye exam every year. Glaucoma is difficult to detect on your own, but an experienced eye doctor can spot early signs of the disease during an exam. If your optometrist finds out that you have glaucoma, he or she can recommend the appropriate treatment.

Glaucoma is a very serious eye disease, but that does not mean you can't take steps to reduce your risks. If you take good care of your eyes and get them checked regularly, you will be less likely to develop this eye disease. For more information, contact a clinic such as Olympia Eye Clinic, Inc., P.S.