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Healthy Living with Glaucoma

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 physical well-being:

  • 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, and leafy greens.

    • Vitamin E is found in: whole grains, fortified cereals, fruit, wheat germ, leafy greens, nuts/nut oils, eggs, and vegetable oils.

    • Vitamin A is found in: liver, sweet potatoes, carrots, mangoes, milk, and egg yolks.

    • The main dietary sources of Vitamin D are: cod liver oil “oily” fish, cereal, egg yolks, and fortified milk.

    • Foods with zinc include: oysters, red meat, poultry, certain seafoods, nuts, dairy, beans, and fortified cereals.

    • Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids are: wild salmon, sardines, walnuts, and flaxseed oil.

  • Limit 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.

  • 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 for comprehensive eye exams, and if you have glaucoma, make follow-up visits as recommended.

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

“Glaucoma: The Essential Facts” and other useful publications can be found on our website at www.brightfocus.org/glaucomapubs.

Last Review: 08/30/13

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