Are you at Risk?
Glaucoma is a degenerative eye disease associated with fluid pressure that typically affects people over 60 years of age with Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, severe myopia (near sighted), previous eye trauma, smokers and those with long term steroid use such as corticosteroids/antihistamines or family history of the disease. It can damage the optic nerve causing loss of vision if left untreated and is the #1 cause of blindness. Many scientists believe that stress and nutritional deficiencies and lack of collagen are just a few of the causes.
As there currently is no cure for this disease, living with Glaucoma can be very difficult for seniors who have been independent their whole lives, especially if the disease causes blindness.
It is important to watch for signs that may indicate an issue that should be addressed such as:
- Gradual loss or darkening of peripheral vision;
- Difficulty with night vision and adjusting to darkness;
- Chronic low grade headaches;
- Frequent prescription changes to eye glasses;
- Seeing halos around lights
In some cases, symptoms could be extreme pain, morning eye discomfort, and blurred vision that can also accompany nausea and vomiting
Some people don’t have any symptoms at all, however, because permanent damage can happen quite quickly it is imperative to seek treatment as soon as symptoms do appear.
Some tips to maintaining good eye health are:
- Take an Essential Fatty Acid (Flax or Evening Primrose Oil). These help to protect and repair cells and tissue; cold water fish such as Salmon, Tuna, Trout, Sardines & Herring contain omega 3s
- Take a good (health store brand) multi-vitamin containing Vitamin A & Lutein which are essential for maintaining healthy eyesight. Foods high in Lutein are carrots (Mom was right!), squash, peas, pumpkin, brussels sprouts, broccoli, lettuce, and asparagus. There are specific supplements specifically formulated for eye health that contain herbs like Eye Bright, Angelica and Sassafras, all found to be beneficial for eye health.
- Vitamin C taken in high doses helps to reduce eye pressure, and stimulate collagen production with a side benefit of healthier skin and immune system!
- Gentle cardio exercise such as walking, jogging or swimming has been known to help reduce eye pressure and keep the blood flowing which in terms keeps vessels to the eye clear
- Avoid prolonged eye strain when watching tv, sitting at a computer, reading, doing needle point or tasks that strain the eyes. Be sure to take breaks to give your eyes a rest.
- Keep up with your eye exams – after age 65 it is imperative to get your eyes tested every 2 years
- Protect your eyes: wear sunglasses all year round and keep prescription lenses current, and be sure to wear protective lenses when working with tools!
- Keep the body hydrated with 2 litres of water daily
- Smoking & alcohol consumption contribute to eye degeneration in the senior population as the risks are greater with increased age. If you smoke, try to quit and consume alcohol in moderation.
- Eating a balanced diet with a variety of fruits & vegetables especially dark leafy greens for nutrients and antioxidants that promote general well being to ward off diabetes that ultimately affects eye health
- Sleeping with your head slightly elevated will reduce pressure in the eyes while you sleep
Prevention is the best medicine for warding off debilitating eye conditions!