The goal of glaucoma treatment is to maintain visual function so that the patient can keep a good quality of life at a sustainable cost. The cost of the treatment must consider the discomfort and the side effects on one hand, and the financial expense that supposes for the patient and society on the other. There are many genetic and hereditary factors that influence the appearance of glaucoma; however, the existence of evidence that environmental and demographic factors can also influence glaucoma cannot be ignored, reaching the conclusion that although genetic factors contribute to the etiology of glaucoma, other factors such as environmental influence and diet are also important.
Free radicals and reactive oxygen species result from metabolic processes naturally in the human body, or they can also be due to external causes such as smoking and air pollutants. If they accumulate, they can also be cytotoxic. So, if the production of free radicals exceeds the antioxidant capacity an imbalance occurs, appearing oxidative stress, and consequently, cell damage. Ocular tissues are very sensitive to the effects of oxygenated free radicals that cause oxidative stress, especially in the crystalline and the retina because they are extremely rich in polyunsaturated lipids. But this does not mean that they are harmful «per se» to our health. In fact they intervene in numerous functions of the organism, for example, at the level of the immune system, eliminating viruses and bacteria. The goal is to find a balance that achieves the right amount of free radicals in our body. The only way is by providing molecules called antioxidants, which can be supplied by the fruit and vegetables.
Can Diet Affect Eye Pressure?
The reactive oxygen species are constituted by free radicals. Studies show that oxidative stress is another of the factors involved in the degenerative disease of glaucoma. Oxidative stress can damage the DNA of the cells of the trabecular meshwork (and thus decrease the outflow of aqueous humor and increase the intraocular pressure) and the optic nerve of the human eye (glaucomatous neuropathy).
The antioxidants that we ingest through the diet are substances that protect cells, tissues and even DNA against oxidative stress and the damage it produces.
Antioxidants include vitamin A, E, C, beta-carotene, bioflavonoids, polyphenols among others, being interesting to know that these substances are currently taken as nutritional supplements or pharmaceuticals products.
Among the most interesting foods for their antioxidant content are: blueberries, green asparagus, buckwheat, peas, Brussels sprouts and spinach; citrus fruits such as orange and lemon. Also, cocoa is rich in antioxidants.
This vitamin is necessary especially so that night blindness does not occur. The antioxidant power is found in its provitamin, which is the beta-carotene. This vitamin is found in foods such as carrots, peaches, squash, melons, bananas and green leafy vegetables such as nettles.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is popularly known for its antioxidant properties, which help prevent eye diseases, especially those of a degenerative nature. Especially, rich in vitamin C are citrus fruits. These contain citroflavonoids that enhance the properties of vitamin C.
Foods Rich in Omega 3: Omega 3 is a type of essential fat that is necessary for the entire nervous system, including the proper functioning of the optic nerve.
An excellent source of omega 3 is found in ground flax and chia seeds, and in fish.
B Complex Vitamins: It has been proven that patients with glaucoma have low levels of vitamin B1 or thiamine, so the ingestion of it is beneficial.
It is found in nuts (almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts), whole grains and their derivatives (oats, rice, wheat, corn, barley, and wheat germ), soybeans and legumes. It is also found in foods of animal origin such as red and white meat, seafood. In smaller quantities they are found in cheese, yogurt, milk and eggs.
There are certain foods that must be avoided since they increase the oxidative stress of the body, damage the arteries and can cause neuropathy (provoking damage in this case to the optic nerve).