Glaucoma is an eye disease in which excessive building pressure within the eye leads to irreversible damage to the optic nerve. If left untreated, this can permanently damage vision and lead to blindness. However, it is important to note that – if diagnosed and treated early – glaucoma patients almost never go blind and most don’t even lose any major part of their vision. That is why it is important for patients who have or are at risk for developing glaucoma follow a few simple but powerful tips.

The most important thing a current or potential glaucoma patient can do is to visit the eye doctor however frequently he/she recommends. Skipping appointments may seem trivial, but in the long run it can end up impairing your vision. When diagnosed, the next step is to consider seeking out others who are in the same situation as you. This can be achieved via health groups, message boards on the internet or even speaking with family members and friends who may offer support.

Learning to live with glaucoma doesn’t have to be an arduous process – with the right mindset and some helpful coaching, it can be manageable. Listed below are some tips to get you on your way:

  • Take your medications when prescribed

Missing doses of your medication can increase the intraocular pressure inside your eye and worsen the glaucoma. It is crucial to use the eye drops as well as any other medications that your doctor has prescribed for you every day.

  • Lower your insulin levels

Insulin and blood pressure are directly proportional; when insulin levels rise, so does the blood pressure, which includes the intraocular pressure (IOP). To lower insulin levels, stay away from foods that cause spikes, such as sugar and grains. This includes breads, cereal, white rice, pasta and potatoes, as these foods rapidly break down into sugars and increase insulin. Exercising regularly can also lower insulin levels and protects your vision (and your heart!).

  • Increase your intake of Lutein

Lutein is a carotenoid that is extremely important for eyesight. Found in green, leafy vegetables, lutein protects the eyes from free radical damage. Aim to increase your intake of spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and collard greens, which in addition to providing you with lutein, will give you other health benefits as well.

  • Eat more berries

Dark-colored berries are well known to prevent macular degeneration. Bilberries, blackberries, blueberries and cranberry’s are beneficial in strengthening the tiny capillaries in the eyes that carry nutrients to eye muscles and nerves.

Whether you’ve been newly diagnosed with glaucoma or simply want to keep your eyesight in top condition, following this advice and the recommendations of your physician will go a long way in keeping the disease from progressing.

Jennifer Villa Kearins