Inside the eye, different types of fluids are present. These fluids altogether have a pressure, which keeps the different parts of the eye, including the nerves and the blood vessels in the perfect order. This pressure is called intraocular pressure (IOP) or eye pressure. As per the ophthalmologists and optometrists, the normal eye pressure varies in between 10mmHG to 20mmHg. If the eye pressure increases beyond that limit, then the condition is called ocular hypertension.
Why is it Important to Maintain Healthy Eye Pressure?
Increased eye pressure has several severe implications. Higher eye pressure, if not treated in time, may lead to glaucoma and even loss of sight. In some cases, retinal vascular occlusion may also occur. As a whole, ocular hypertension causes minor to major vision problems.
So, keeping normal or healthy eye pressure is necessary to keep the eyes healthy and vision intact.
What Causes High Eye Pressure?
Some very clear causes of high eye pressure are as follows:
- High Eye Pressure Caused Due to Over Production of Aqueous Humor: Aqueous humor is the watery fluid, produced by the ciliary body that fills the gap between the cornea and the lens of the eye. This aqueous humor drains out periodically from the eye through a structure called trabecular meshwork. If the aqueous humor is not drained periodically, then pressure on the eye increases.
- High Eye Pressure Caused Due to Eye Injury: Drainage of aqueous humor may be disturbed due to any injury to the eye. In such situation, pressure in the eye increases drastically.
- Eye Diseases Can Cause Increased Eye Pressure: Several eye problems like corneal arcus, Pseudoexfoliation syndrome, pigment dispersion syndrome, peroxynitrite toxicity due to over exposure in a nitric oxide rich environment, and oxidative stress (over production of free radicals), etc. are some eye related issues that cause ocular hypertension.
- Side-effects of Certain Medications Can Cause High Eye Pressure: Some medications used for other diseases in the body, especially the steroids used to treat asthma and neural problems, may lead to higher eye pressure.
- Congenital Eye Structural Defects Causing Increased Eye Pressure: People with thinner central corneal thickness, which is below the normal measurement, may be at greater risk of increased eye pressure.
Besides, some researchers have shown that people above the age of 40, people who work on computers for long hours, and people with a family history of glaucoma are at higher risk of getting affected by ocular hypertension or increased eye pressure.
How to Maintain Healthy Eye Pressure?
It is evident that higher eye pressure increases the risk of developing glaucoma and many other visual defects. Though, not everybody with high eye pressure develops glaucoma, the risk of such disease and other issues increase if eye pressure is markedly high for a long time. There are several natural ways to reduce or maintain healthy eye pressure. One needs to follow all methods in a diligent and dependable method in order to obtain the best possible results-
- Be Well Hydrated to Maintain Healthy Eye Pressure: Keeping the body hydrated can help to lower the eye pressure. However, one shouldn’t drink excess water or fluid at once. It is found that drinking a quart or more of fluid during one sitting can lead to increased eye pressure. Drinking water in small quantities several times a day will keep the body nicely hydrated.
- Managing Blood Pressure to Maintain a Healthy Eye Pressure: Eye pressure increases along with the blood pressure. Hence, keeping blood pressure at normal levels is necessary not only for the overall health, but also for the eyes. There are several exercises and several other stress lessening processes to control high blood pressure.
- Lowering Caffeine Consumption Can Help Maintain Healthy Eye Pressure: Lowering the consumption of caffeine can reduce the eye pressure to a great extent. The higher level of caffeine intake can increase the free radicals in the blood, thereby increasing the eye pressure.
- Manage Stress to Maintain Healthy Eye Pressure: Stress contributes to a lot of health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiac problems and many more. Hence, it is very important to manage stress with relaxation techniques, yoga, pranayama, lifestyle changes, etc.
Foods that Help Lower and Maintain Healthy Eye Pressure
When eye pressure rises, ocular nerves can be damaged, leading to a loss of peripheral vision and developing glaucoma. There are several natural ingredients that help to maintain normal eye pressure. These ingredients additionally supply essential elements that are required for the overall health of the eyes.
Here are some essential foods that can keep healthy eye pressure –
- Foods Rich in Vitamin C Help Maintain Healthy Eye Pressure: Vitamin C is an extremely beneficial ingredient for fighting against oxidative stress. Apart from that, it reduces the risk of glaucoma and drains out toxic ingredients from the body. Foods containing high doses of vitamin C, such as oranges, nectarines, grapefruits, lemons and limes etc. are to be eaten in sufficient quantities. Other fruits like kiwi, strawberries, raspberries, guava, peaches, lychees and mangoes are also rich in vitamin C. There are many well-known vegetables rich with vitamin C like, red peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale and green cabbage which must be consumed.
- Foods with Omega 3 Fatty Acids are Beneficial in Maintaining Healthy Eye Pressure: Omega 3 fatty acids are also good for maintaining healthy eye pressure. Foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acid contain higher quantities of antioxidants and bioflavonoids that help to decrease the risk of eye disease. Foods rich in omega-3 include different sea foods, fish, cod liver oil, flaxseeds, walnuts, soybeans and raw tofu etc.
- Intake of Foods with Vitamin A to Maintain Healthy Eye Pressure: The retina of the human eyes contains four kinds of photo-pigments that store vitamin A compounds. Rhodopsin is one such pigment, which is located in the rod cells of the retina. This pigment allows the rod cells to detect small amounts of light. Thus, it plays an essential role in the adaptation of the eye to low-light surroundings and night vision. So, the presence of vitamin A is essential for healthy eye pressure. Foods rich in vitamin A, such as sweet potato, carrot, spinach, mustards, parsley, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cheese, yoghurt, egg, turkey and tuna etc. contain large quantities of vitamin A.
- Foods with Vitamin B12 Help in Maintaining Healthy Eye Pressure: Apart from vitamin A, and vitamin C, another important ingredient for keeping the eye healthy and eye pressure normal is vitamin B12. This vitamin is a perfect ingredient to decrease age-related macular degeneration and other eye related health issues. A healthy eye is the key to healthy eye pressure, which is largely maintained by vitamin B12. Eating egg, milk and milk products, soya milk, etc. supplies sufficient quantities of vitamin B12.
- Foods with Lutein help in Maintaining Healthy Eye Pressure: The macula is the region of the retina that remains responsible for central vision of the eye. Again, this part of the retina is more sensitive to blue light. Lutein protects the macula, and thereby passes the light after filtering the blue light before it can harm the macula. Presence of macula controls the pressure on the eyes to a great extent. Eating adequate quantity of spinach, kale, carrots, corn, Swiss chard, collard and mustard greens, red peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, apples and berries etc. will help to get a good share of lutein.
Quick Tips to Maintain Healthy Eye Pressure & Good Eye Health
Here are some quick, but important tips to maintain eye health and pressure:
- Individuals who spend a lot of time on computers or need to focus on a single image or article for a long time should give sufficient rest to the eyes. There is a famous 20-20-20 rule, according to which after every 20 minutes, an individual should look at a distance of 20 feet for 20 seconds. This method provides a sufficient rest to the eyes.
- Individuals who need to stay outside for a long time should wear protective sunglasses to protect the eyes from UV-rays as much as possible.
- Cleaning the eyes with fresh water at least twice daily is also necessary. If the working environment is too polluted, then cleaning the eye 4-5 times a day with fresh water is necessary.
- Regular smokers are at higher risk of damaging optical nerves and for macular degeneration. So, it is always feasible to quit smoking as soon as possible.
- Healthy eating is the key to healthy eye. Free radicals in the blood damage the eyes severely. Individuals who are habituated with green leafy vegetables and fruits are in fact keeping their eyes in good state.
There are multiple of reasons behind increasing eye pressure. Any sort of damage or disorder in the eye can lead to increased eye pressure. Experts do not consider increased eye pressure as a disease by itself, instead, ocular hypertension can be considered as a condition that enhances the risk of glaucoma and other visionary issues. This is a problem that should be taken care of in time; otherwise, the related problems and damages to the optic nerves and muscles may be resulted consequently. Maintaining a healthy eye pressure is of utmost importance to keep vision intact.
- National Eye Institute. Facts About Glaucoma. https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/glaucoma
- American Optometric Association. Nutrition and Eye Health. https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/nutrition/nutrition-and-eye-health
- American Heart Association. How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/changes-you-can-make-to-manage-high-blood-pressure/how-potassium-can-help-control-high-blood-pressure