Healthy Living

For people with glaucoma or at risk of developing it, a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a nutritious diet is especially important. In addition to benefiting overall physical and mental well-being, it promotes eye health. Maintaining mental and emotional health is also important.

Recommendations for Healthy Living

Eat a Varied and Healthy Diet

There is no scientific evidence suggesting that certain vitamins and minerals prevent glaucoma or delay its progress. However, carotenoids (especially lutein and zeaxanthin), antioxidants (such vitamins C and E), vitamins A and D, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids may all contribute to better vision. 

Carotenoids, especially lutein and zeaxanthin, are found in dark green, yellow, and orange fruits and vegetables, including:

  • spinach
  • collard greens
  • kale
  • broccoli
  • okra
  • brussels sprouts
  • egg yolks
  • mango
  • green beans
  • lima beans
  • squash
  • sweet potatoes
  • orange peppers
  • green peppers
  • yellow corn.

Vitamin C is found in:

  • green peppers
  • citrus fruits
  • tomatoes
  • broccoli
  • strawberries
  • sweet potatoes
  • cantaloupe
  • white potatoes
  • leafy greens

Vitamin E is found in:

  • whole grains
  • fortified cereals
  • fruit
  • wheat germ
  • leafy greens
  • nuts/nut oils
  • eggs
  • vegetable oils

Vitamin A is found in:

  • liver
  • sweet potatoes
  • carrots
  • mangoes
  • milk
  • egg yolks

The main dietary sources of Vitamin D are:

  • cod liver oil “oily” fish
  • cereal
  • egg yolks
  • fortified milk

Foods with zinc include:

  • oysters
  • red meat
  • poultry
  • certain seafoods
  • nuts
  • dairy
  • beans
  • fortified cereals

Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids are:

  • wild salmon
  • sardines
  • walnuts
  • flaxseed oil

Limit Caffeine Intake

You need to limit your caffeine intake to moderate levels. Some evidence suggests that high amounts of caffeine may increase eye pressure.

Try to Exercise Daily

Some studies indicate that exercise can lower eye pressure. Aerobic activities such as walking, swimming, or even working in the yard are recommended. (However, some aerobic activity may increase pressure, so always consult a doctor before beginning any exercise program.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Keep blood pressure at a normal level and control other medical conditions.

Do Not Smoke

Smoking increases blood pressure and inflammation in the eye, which leads to increased chance of cataracts and diabetes. Both cataracts and diabetes are risk factors for glaucoma. Smoking also increases the risk for macular degeneration and other eye conditions.

Prevent Overexposure to Sunlight

Prevent overexposure to sunlight by wearing wide-brimmed hats and high quality sunglasses that have 99- to 100-percent UVA and UVB protection.

Regularly Visit an Eye Doctor

Regularly visit an eye doctor for comprehensive eye exams, and if you have glaucoma, make follow-up visits as recommended.

Take any Prescribed Medication Consistently

Take any prescribed medication consistently, especially if you have glaucoma, and exactly as directed by your eye doctor.