During Glaucoma Awareness Month in January, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is reminding the public that some lifestyle choices can help protect your sight, the Northern Kentucky Tribune reports.
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of vision loss, affecting about 3 million people in the United States, and because there are no symptoms early on, about half of people with the disease don’t know they have it.
Several recent studies suggest that lifestyle choices may also help minimize the risk of losing vision to glaucoma:
Exercise regularly. A study just published in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, showed that regular exercise can slow vision loss from glaucoma.
Meditate. A new study published last month in the Journal Glaucoma showed that a relaxation program with meditation can lower eye pressure in glaucoma patients and improve their quality of life by lowering stress hormones like cortisol.
Don’t use CBD as a “natural” glaucoma remedy. CBD, or cannabidiol, is the non-psychotropic component of cannabis and hemp being touted as a magical cure-all, but a study published last month in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science shows it actually raised eye pressure in mice.
Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, especially green, leafy ones. One study showed that people who ate more leafy vegetables had a 20 to 30 percent lower risk of developing glaucoma. Why? Nitrates in green vegetables can be converted to nitric oxide, which can improve blood flow and help regulate pressure inside the eye.
Don’t smoke. Smoking cigarettes increases the risk of glaucoma and has an overall negative impact on eye health.
Maintain a healthy body weight. People with a higher body mass index (BMI) are at increased risk for diabetes, and having diabetes increases the risk of glaucoma. Having a too low BMI is also associated with increased glaucoma risk.