You’ve learned that you have glaucoma. While it’s unsettling, it may help you to know that 80 million people worldwide also have the condition. You can still have a good quality of life. Taking certain precautions and living a healthy lifestyle can help minimize your symptoms.
Our board-certified ophthalmologists with Wolchok Eye Associates, PA, explain the dos and don’ts of living with glaucoma.
Use your eyedrops as prescribed
Have you ever forgotten to take medication or discontinued it? Researchers say patients don’t take their prescribed medication as directed 50% of the time. You can’t afford to be in that group.
You’ve been prescribed eye drops to treat your glaucoma. The eye drops help stop the progression of the disease. If your vision hasn’t been noticeably affected yet, you’re lucky. You don’t want to experience vision loss from untreated glaucoma — the second leading cause of blindness after cataracts.
If you take eye drops four times a day, it’s easy to forget to use them if you’re outside your home or absorbed in a task at work. Set alarms on your phone, watch, or tablet so that you remain on schedule with your eye drops. If you take eye drops once or twice a day, keep your eye drops at your bedside morning and night. Taking your medication daily is the best defense against the progression of glaucoma.
Tell your eye doctor about any steroid use
Be sure to record all of your medications on our medical history form. If you’ve been prescribed steroids in high doses or for a prolonged time period, please tell your Wolchok ophthalmologist. Steroids can increase eye pressure.
The food you eat affects your health. Fruits and vegetables with healthy doses of Vitamins A and C are important in your diet. Consume healthy portions of leafy greens, vegetables, and colorful fruits every day. Research shows that leafy greens like spinach and kale lower the risk of glaucoma by 20-30%.
Likewise, there are foods you should avoid as a glaucoma patient. High caloric and high carbohydrate processed foods are associated with a greater risk of glaucoma. Limit sugary sweets like cakes, cookies, and processed snack foods.
Keep your head up
Lowering your head can increase your eye pressure. Keep your head above your heart. Check with your doctor if you practice yoga; you might need to avoid some poses that keep your head in a downward position.
Your eye pressure increases when you’re lying down. Using a wedge under your mattress helps raise your head when you’re sleeping. If you’re a side sleeper, you can use special glasses to protect your eyes from elevated pressure that occurs when you sleep in that position.
Wear protective sunglasses
Always wear good quality, polarized sunglasses that protect your eyes from the UV rays and add a hat when you go outdoors.
Call Wolchok Eye Associates, PA or book an appointment online for expert eye care that helps to protect your vision.