Glaucoma is a medical condition of the eye where the optic nerve becomes damaged, and worsens over time. The build-up of pressure inside the eye, known as intraocular pressure, is the eye's inability to drain out the aqueous humor fluid properly. Optic nerve damage can lead to loss of vision and permanent blindness within a couple of years, if left untreated.The two main types of the disease are 'open-angle glaucoma' and 'angle-closure glaucoma'. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common of the pair. In the open-angle, the eye structures appear normal, but the fluid doesn't flow properly through the drain of the eyes, known as the trabecular meshwork.
The latter of the diseases, angle-closure glaucoma, is categorized by poor drainage of the eye, due to the angle between the iris and the cornea, which then becomes obstructed by the iris and results in blurred vision.
There are numerous ways in which the eye disease may be treated. The treatments are prescription eye drops for less severe problems, microsurgery to thoroughly drain out the fluid of the eye, or through various laser surgery procedures.
Editor's note - Please consult your physician if you are suffering from any of the symptoms listed below, or if you have a history of glaucoma in your family. It's important to have a complete eye exam to minimize the risks at an early stage.
• Blockage of blood vessels in the eye
• Blunt injury to the eye
• Chemical damage to the eye
• Severe eye infection
• Inflammatory conditions of the eye (Uveitis)
• Seeing halos around lights
• Vision loss
• Redness in the eye
• Sudden hazy or blurred vision
• Nausea or vomiting
• Pain in the eye
• Narrowing of vision (tunnel vision)
• Flashes of light or black spots
• Double vision
• Seeing spots, ghost-like images
People Most at Risk:
• Are over the age of 40
• Have a family history of glaucoma
• People of African ancestry
• Have poor vision
• Have thin corneas
• Have diabetes
• Have had trauma to the eye or eyes
• Take certain steroid medications, such as prednisone
7 Preventative Measures Against Glaucoma:
1) Healthy Diet - Maintaining a healthy diet is essential for preventing diseases of all sorts. Green leafy vegetables are high in chlorophyll, which is a vital component that improves vision and protects against glaucoma. Make sure you add spinach, kale, beetroot, and carrots, to your salad and dietary intake. The omega-3 fatty acids of cold water fish are also beneficial for healthy eyesight.
3) Sunning and Palming - The Bates Method of sunning and palming, helps flex and reactivate the lens of the eye. Here's how to perform each technique:
2) Eye Exercises - You can practice from a wide assortment of eye exercises to maintain optimal vision. Eye exercises prevent strain and sharpen concentration. Here are a few exercises you can perform at home:
The Pencil Exercise - Hold a pencil at arm’s length and focus on it, slowly bring it closer to your nose. Move the pencil farther from your eyes until you can no longer keep it in focus. Perform this exercise about ten times a day.
The Eye Rolling Exercise - Roll your eyes in a clockwise direction for a few seconds, and then counter-clockwise for a few seconds. Repeat the process four or five times, and blink your eyes in between each set.
The Eye Blinking Exercise - Try blinking your eyes in quick spurts, 20 to 30 times without squeezing your eyes shut, which is known as eyelid fluttering. Close your eyes and let them rest for a while after you are done.
The Concentration Exercise - Focus your vision on a distant object for a short period. Try staring at the moon outside for a few minutes to avoid straining of the eyes.
4) Wild Asparagus - You might not have liked asparagus when you were young, but you will certainly appreciate the benefits this spring vegetable has for maintaining healthy vision. Eating a few sticks of asparagus can help prevent eye disorders such as glaucoma and cataracts.
~ Here is an interesting recipe you can prepare:
Mix 1 teaspoon of wild asparagus with 1/2 teaspoon of honey.
Consume twice daily with a glass of warm milk for a few months.
5) Ginkgo Biloba - The Chinese have relied on the Ginkgo Biloba for over 5,000 years to treat a variety of medical conditions. Ginkgo Biloba affects ocular blood flow and protects the optic nerve from damages. It is also used to improve memory, relieve stress and even help treat Alzheimer's disease. Take 120-mg standardized capsules once a day, or in two to three divided doses. Make sure you consult your doctor before taking any Ginko Biloba capsules.
6) Bilberry - The powerful bilberry herb is ideal for treating night blindness and protecting against macular degeneration of the eye. It contains a chemical called anthocyanoside, which supplies the bloodstream with anti-inflammatory properties. Eat 1/2 a cup of them per day, or in supplement form as an alternative. Take 160 mg of bilberry extract (with 25 percent anthocyanidin) twice daily, or several times per week. Consult your doctor beforehand if you are planning to take the herb in capsule form.
7) Almonds - Almonds are a great healthy snack alternative to sugary candy bars and high in sodium potato chips. They help improve vision with their powerful omega-3 fatty acid components, and provide you with a much-needed boost of energy during the day. A handful of almonds can increase brain function and even save you from fatigue. Try this quick and easy almond paste recipe:
• Take about 5 to 10 almonds and let them soak in water overnight.
• Peel the skin off and grind them the following morning.
• The mixture will turn into an almond paste, which you can consume with a glass of warm milk for breakfast. Repeat process for a few months.
A Few More Important Tips...
~ Visit your eye doctor for regular check-ups.
~ Don't spend too much time watching T.V. or sitting directly in front of a computer screen, since both contribute to straining of the eyes.
~ Keep a safe distance (about 18 to 24 inches) away from the screen while you are working.
~ Purchase an anti-glare screen to avoid glare on your computer.
~ Wear a pair of UV sunglasses when you're outside to protect your eyes from the beaming sunlight.
~ Avoid reading in areas where the lighting is dim, since it adds strain to the eye muscles.
~ Use good quality eye cosmetics to shield the eyes.
~ Do not wear glasses that have the wrong prescription.
~ Take frequent visual breaks from your computer, resting your eyes every 20 minutes or so.
~ Get a good night's sleep to prevent eye discomfort and blurry vision.