Vitamins and Minerals for Glaucoma Prevention
March 8-15 is World Glaucoma Week and in the lead up we would like to share with you how glaucoma and its progression as an eye disease can be significantly impacted upon by your diet. Multiple studies have found several vitamins and minerals seem to have a protective role in aiding the prevention of significant vision loss in glaucoma. No research exists that indicates diet alone can control or cure glaucoma. You MUST always take your prescribed eye drops as well as make alterations to your diet.
The best foods to eat plenty of are:
- Green Leafy Vegetables: Spinach, broccoli, rocket, cabbage
- Orange/Yellow Fruits & Vegetables: Capsicum, carrots, pumpkin, oranges, squash
- Blue/Purple Fruits & Vegetables: Beetroot, blueberries, goji berries, kiwi fruit
- Red/Pink Fruits & Vegetables: Red grapes, cherries, raspberries, capsicum
Omega-3 fats are the best for your eye health. You will find this in fish, canola oil, olive oil and flaxseed oil. It is recommended to eat fish four times per week with the best fish being tuna, salmon, sardines and mackerel.
Things to avoid:
- Too much red meat, sugar, refined carbs, fried, trans and saturated fats, processed foods
- If you take Warfarin, you are not able to eat green leafy vegetables and you may be diet deficient in antioxidants
Following are some primary options you should definitely consider taking: Gingko Biloba is protective against oxidative stress, which is thought to play a role in the nerve degeneration that occurs in glaucoma. Several studies have shown it can help slow peripheral vision loss. Take as directed on the label.
Blood flow to the optic nerve is essential to maintain structure and protect against glaucomatous nerve damage. Magnesium, Omega-3 fish oils and Vitamin C all play a role in promoting vascular regulation and blood flow to the nerve. All should be part of the diet of glaucoma patients or those a high risk of glaucoma such as family history. Fish oil helps increase aqueous outflow and should be taken at least 1000mg daily. Vitamin C helps reduce eye pressure and should be taken 5000-1000mg daily (depending on your bowel tolerance: take in smaller doses). Vitamin E also helps protect the retina and optic nerve; take 400IU daily. Magnesium supplementation reduced peripheral vasospasms and improved visual fields in patients with normal tension and open angle glaucoma. A product with Pycnogenol and bilberry extract reduced intraocular pressures as well as latanoprost, and had an additive effect. In one study, 19 out of 20 patients had lower eye pressures and better ocular flow.
As we stated earlier, none of this is a replacement for ensuring strict control with your prescribed eye drops, but all of these nutritional options show promise as an additive benefit to supplement regular medical treatment.
For more information about glaucoma and to make an appointment to see an Optometrist, please contact one of our four Gold Coast locations.
Burleigh Heads, 21a James St, Burleigh Heads – 07 5535 2344
Treetops Plaza, Shop 19, 7 Classic Way, Burleigh Waters – 07 5593 7844
MyCentre Nerang, Shop 34b, 57 Station St, Nerang – 07 5502 1277
Tweed Health for Everyone Superclinic, 4/33-35 Corporation Circuit, Tweed Heads South – 07 5524 9659