Glaucoma risk lowered by eating more greens

According to the National Eye Health Education Program, glaucoma is a leading cause of vision loss and blindness.  And since there are usually no symptoms in the early stages, early detection is needed to help prevent vision loss.  Therefore, you should be aware that those at most risk for glaucoma are individuals:

  • over the age of 60 years
  • with a family history of the condition
  • who are African American and over the age of 40 years

Prevention

Whether you are at risk or not, it is important to take steps to protect eye health. The Glaucoma Research Foundation suggests the following guidelines for preventing vision loss:

  • Studies have shown that jogging or walking three times a week can lower the intraocular pressure associated with glaucoma.  Inverted positions such as headstands can cause intraocular pressure. Therefore, inverted positions should be avoided.
  • Prevent vision loss by getting regular eye exams that will help detect early signs of the condition. Therefore, be sure to get your eyes checked once a year or more often if your eyes become dry, itchy, or if vision concerns arise.
  • Prevent secondary glaucoma by wearing protective eyewear. This is because  trauma to the eye such as in sports or home improvement accidents can lead to this condition.
  • Eating antioxidant-rich foods can be beneficial to eye health and in turn decrease risk of vision loss. Therefore, consume plenty of leafy-green veggies such as broccoli and spinach as well as foods rich in vitamin A such as carrots, peppers, and tomatoes.

Eye Health Research

The Age-Related Macular Degeneration Study (AREDS) is a group of two clinical trials sponsored by the National Eye Institute.  In this study, over 3600 subjects between the ages of 55 and 80 years old with varying levels of early age-related macular degeneration (AMD) were observed.  As a result, the study found that lutein, along with zeaxanthin, had beneficial effects on protecting ocular tissues against cell damage.  In addition, high levels of antioxidants and zinc decreased risk of those with intermediate  AMD from developing the advanced disease.

Furthermore,  a 2016 study in Experimental Eye Research looked at the role of endogenous retinoic acid, or vitamin A produced in the body, in corneal health.  As a result, this study revealed the importance of the compound’s role in the signaling in adult corneal homeostasis and regeneration. In addition to these two studies, a 2015 study in the Journal of Opthamology found that lutein and zeaxanthin have protective qualities against damage to ocular tissues and cells.

There is hope  

If you feel like you may be at risk for eye health issues such as glaucoma, and  feel like you may not be getting enough antioxidants through the food you eat, there is an innovative solution. Ocutain supports eye health through its combination of vitamin A, zinc, lutein, and  other eye-healthy elements.   It is never too early or late to start taking control of your eye health.

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month, so be sure to support research efforts by visiting the Glaucoma Research Foundation at www.glaucoma.org.

-Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

Sources:

Glaucoma Research Foundation (2012 April 25) “Nutrition and Glaucoma”

Glaucoma Research Foundation (2016 May 3) “What Can I Do to Prevent Glaucoma?”

Kumar, S. et al. (2016 Nov 10) “Endogenous retinoic acid signaling is required for maintenance and regeneration of cornea. Experimental Eye Research, pii: S0014-4835 (16) 30449-3.

National Eye Health Education Program (accessed Jan 2017) “Glaucoma Awareness Month” https://nei.nih.gov/nehep/gam

National Institutes of Health (revised Nov. 2011) “The AREDS Formulation and Age-Related Macular Regeneration.” nei.nih.gov/amd/summary

Xue, C. et al. (2015) “Management of Ocular Diseases Using Lutein and Zeaxanthin: What Have We Learned from Experimental Animal Studies?” Journal of Opthamology, 2015:52307.

 

 

 


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