Tips for Living With Glaucoma

When you have glaucoma, your doctor will probably prescribe drops, pills, or other treatments. There are other things you can do to help keep your eyes healthy, too.

Get moving. Regular exercise may help lower eye pressure and keep blood flowing to the nerves in your eye. Talk to your doctor about the best exercise program for you. Some activities can increase pressure, so make sure to find the best plan for you.

Eat healthy. Enjoy a healthy, well-rounded diet. It won't prevent your glaucoma from getting worse, but it's key to keeping your body and eyes healthy. Some studies suggest eating food high in antioxidants can help when you have glaucoma.

Add nutrient-rich foods to your diet like:

  • Dark, leafy greens
  • Fish that's packed with omega-3 fatty acids

Take your medicine. Be sure to take your drops or pills exactly as directed. Set a reminder on your phone or watch so you don't forget. Missing your meds could make your glaucoma worse.

Some medicine can cause side effects. If the problems are strong and don't go away, see your doctor. He may want to change what you take.

Don't smoke. It's important to keep your body healthy, and nicotine takes a toll. Smoking also raises your blood pressure and eye inflammation. That can make your risk of diabetes and cataracts go up. Both are risk factors for glaucoma.

If you smoke, ask your doctor for advice on how to quit.

Watch your caffeine. Watch how much soda, coffee, and tea you drink. Too much caffeine can raise your eye pressure. One study found that just a cup of coffee could make the pressure in your eye go up a significant amount for up to 90 minutes.

Elevate your head. Use a wedge pillow when you sleep. It'll keep your head raised just a little. That should help lower your eye pressure.

Drink fluids slowly. Don't cut back on how much you drink, but spread out your beverages through the day. If you drink a lot at once, it can strain your eyes. Don't have more than a quart at one time. Instead, sip small amounts.

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Protect your eyes. Put on protective glasses when you work in the yard or play contact sports. Wear goggles when you swim. When choosing makeup, use non-allergenic brands and replace items often. Be sure to sport sunglasses outside, especially in summer or around high-glare surfaces like sand, snow, and water. When you have glaucoma, your eyes can be very sensitive to glare.

Don't rub. Glaucoma and the medicine you take might make your eyes feel itchy. But fight the urge. That can scratch them and make things worse. Ask your doctor if you can take drops if your eyes are dry.

Be careful with yoga. If you do it, you may need to reconsider some of your positions. Some head-down moves where your heart is above your eye can raise your eye pressure. You may want to avoid poses like:

  • Downward facing dog
  • Standing forward bend
  • Plow
  • Legs up the wall
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Brian S. Boxer Wachler, MD on March 09, 2017

Sources

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: "Glaucoma: Lifestyle and home remedies," "Glaucoma: Treatments and drugs."

BrightFocus Foundation: "9 Tips for Healthy Living with an Eye Disease."

Journal of Glaucoma: "Lifestyle, Nutrition and Glaucoma."

Glaucoma Research Foundation: "What You Can Do to Manage Your Glaucoma, "Dry Eyes and Glaucoma: Double Trouble," "Summertime Tips."

Journal of Glaucoma: "Regulation of intraocular pressure after water drinking."

Ophthalmology: "Intraocular pressure changes and ocular biometry during Sirsasana (headstand posture) in yoga practitioners."

AllAboutVision: "Research Says You Should Rethink Your Yoga Routine if You Have Glaucoma."

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