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Diet Treatment for Glaucoma

The orthodox medical treatment for glaucoma is through surgery, which relieves the internal pressure in the eye due to excess fluid. This, however, does not remove the cause of the presence of the excess fluid. Consequently, even after the operation, there is no guarantee whatsoever that the trouble will not recur, or that it will not effect the other eye. The natural treatment for glaucoma is the same as that for any other condition associated with high toxicity and is directed towards preserving whatever sight remains, If treated in the early stages, the results are encouraging. Though cases of ad¬vanced glaucoma may be beyond cure, even so, certain nutritional and other biological approaches can prove effective in controlling the condition and preserving the re¬maining sight.

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Patients suffering from glaucoma should scrupulously avoid certain foodstuffs. Coffee in particular, should be completely avoided because of its high caffeine content. Caffeine causes stimulation of vasoconstrictors; elevating blood pressure and increasing blood flow to the eye. Beer and tobacco. Which can cause constriction of blood vessels, should also be avoided. Tea should be taken only in moderation. The patient should not take excessive fluids, whether it is juice, milk or water at any time. He may drink small amounts, several times a day with a minimum of one hour intervals.

Diet for Glaucoma:

The diet of the patient suffering from glaucoma should be based on three basic food groups, namely seeds, nuts and grains, vegetables and fruits, with em¬phasis on raw vitamin C-rich foods, fresh fruits and vegetables. Valuable sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, grape-fruits and limes; green leafy vegetables like cabbages, beets and turnips; indian gooseberry, sprouted Bengal and green grams. The same diet as that prescribed for cataract (Chapter 12) should be taken by those suffering from glaucoma. The various methods for relaxing and strengthening the eyes outlined in that chapter will also be beneficial in the treatment of glaucoma.

Certain nutrients have been found helpful in the treatment of glaucoma. It has been found that the glaucoma patients are usually deficient in vitamins A, B, C, protein, calcium and other minerals. Nutrients such as calcium and B-complex have proved beneficial in relieving the introculars condition. Many practitioners believe that introcular pressure in glaucoma can be lowered by vitamin C therapy. Dr. Michele Virno and his colleagues demonstrated recently in Rome, Italy that the average person weighing 150 pounds given 7000 mg. Of ascorbic acid, five times daily, acquired acceptable introcular pressure within 45 days. Symptoms such as mild stomach discomfort and diarrhoea, resulting from the in¬take of large doses of vitamin C, were temporary and soon disappeared. It has been suggested that some calcium should always be taken with each dose of ascor¬bic acid to minimise any side effects of the large dose.

The patient should avoid emotional stress and cultivate a tranquil and restful life style as glaucoma is considered to be a 'stress disease'. He should also avoid excessive watching of television and movies as also ex¬cessive reading as such habits can lead to prolonged straining of the eyes.

TREATMENT CHART FOR GLAUCOMA


A- DIET

I. An all fruit diet for 5 days. In this regimen, take there to meals a day of fresh juicy fruits such as orange, apple, pineapple, pear, peach, grapes and papaya at five• hourly intervals

II. Thereafter, adopt a well-balanced diet, based on seeds, nuts and whole grains, vegetables and fruits, on the following lines:-

1. Upon arising:

25 black raisins soaked overnight in water along with the water in which they are soaked and water kept overnight in a copper vessel.


2. Breakfast:

Fresh fruit, a glass of milk, sweetened with honey, and some seeds or nuts.


3. Lunch:

Freshly-prepared steamed vegetables, whole-wheat wheat tortilla and a glass of buttermilk.


4. Mid-afternoon:

A fresh fruit.


5. Dinner:

Raw vegetable salad and sprouts such as alfalfa and green gram beans, with lime juice dressing an cottage cheese or buttermilk.


6. Bedtime Snack:

A glass of fresh milk with few dates.

Note:

The menu for lunch and dinner are interchangeable.


AVOID:

Coffee, strong tea, soft drinks, alcohol and tobacco, excessive fluids, sugar, white flour and products made from refined foods, flesh foods, condiments and pickles.
Especially Beneficial: Raw vitamin C-rich foods like citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, Indian gooseberry (indian gooseberry), sprouted Bengal and green grams, vitamin B-complex, and calcium.

B - OTHER MEASURES

1. Various methods of relaxing and strengthening the eyes.
2. Proper sleep and adequate rest.
3. Fresh air and outdoor exercises, especially brisk walks.

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is often referred to, as the silent eye disease, as it can cause some serious damage to the optic nerve in the eye. This condition usually occurs when the fluids that are present in the eye, i.e., the aqueous humor, do not drain out the way it should. As the pressure of the fluid builds up in the eye, it injures the optic nerve and could also lead to a loss of peripheral vision. This process is usually painless and occurs in such a subtle way that most people do not even realize that something is wrong. This is probably why it is known as the silent eye disease. In fact most people only notice the reduction in their vision, after the damage that has occurred is permanent. This condition should be checked and treated as soon as possible or else it could lead to an eye condition known as “tunnel vision”, where the side vision is completely lost and people can only see what is straight ahead of them. In some severe cases, this condition has also been known to lead to complete blindness.

While treating this condition, several optometrists use not just medication, but may also advise patients to make a few lifestyle changes and switch over to a glaucoma diet. One of the main benefits of following the diet for glaucoma is that it can help prevent further damage to the optic nerve. Following a diet for glaucoma patients in the initial stages of the condition may also be able to repair some of the damage that has already been caused to the eyes.

What is a diet for glaucoma?

A diet for glucoma is a simple, yet effective way of treating and preventing glaucoma and its symptoms. Research indicates that glaucoma and diet are closely related since the foods that are consumed on a regular basis can help reverse the damage caused to the optic nerve. Moreover, since there are no known medical cures for this condition, diets for glaucoma are the only effective way of controlling the problem. A diet for glaucoma generally includes some of the foods that are good for eye care. At the same time, the diet also restricts the consumption of certain glaucoma foods to avoid. Some of the recommendations on the glaucoma diet include:

•   Increasing the intake of foods that are high in carotenoids, since they are absolutely essential for good eye health.  This means that people need to increase their consumption of certain fruits and vegetables like oranges, leafy green veggies and yellow vegetables, such as peppers.
•   The consumption of foods that are rich in magnesium and chromium should also be increased, as they can help treat and improve the condition. Foods that are high in these substances are apples, brewer’s yeast, kelp, leafy green veggies, sunflower oil and safflower oil.
•   Foods that contain a bioflavonoid known as anthocyanidin should be consumed on a regular basis, since it helps to fight off the free radicals in the body. It also plays an important role in keeping the levels of collagen around the eye flexible and healthy. Foods that contain high amounts of this bioflavonoid are cherries and blueberries.
•   Foods that are high in Vitamin A, Vitamin B complex, Vitamin C and Vitamin E can help protect the eyes and therefore, are an essential part of a diet for glaucoma patients. Therefore, apart from fruits and vegetables, it is important for people who are suffering from glaucoma, to consume whole grains, nuts and seeds on a regular basis. Several health experts talk about the correlation between glaucoma and nuts, touting the benefits of various nuts for the eyes.
•   Studies indicate that the regular consumption of green tea can help protect the eyes from further glaucoma damage, because the retina and the aqueous humor that are present in the eyes absorb the antioxidants from the green tea.
•   One of the most important glaucoma foods to avoid is coffee, or any other beverage that contains high amounts of caffeine. This is because caffeine can reduce the flow of blood to the eye, which in turn aggravates the condition further.
•   Alcohol should be strictly avoided by people who are suffering from glaucoma. This is because alcohol usually has an adverse effect on the liver and excessive amounts of it can also lead to a toxic liver, which has been known to worsen the condition of glaucoma.

In order to treat glaucoma, an optometrist may advise a patient to go on an all fruit diet for a couple of days. In this glaucoma diet, patients are required to eat a fleshy fruit every five hours. Fruits that can be included in this diet are oranges, papayas, apples, peaches, pears, grapes and pineapples. After the all-fruit diet comes to an end, patients are advised to follow a well balanced glaucoma diet for a few more days, which mainly includes:

•  Morning snack: 25 black raisins, which have been soaked in water overnight.
•  Breakfast: Fresh fruit, nuts or seeds and milk with honey
•  Lunch:  Steamed veggies and whole wheat bread with buttermilk or yogurt
•  Mid afternoon snack: Fresh fruit
•  Dinner: Vegetables or salad, with cottage cheese
•  Bedtime snack: Milk, with a few dates.

Apart from dietary changes, there are several lifestyle changes, which can also help control the condition. First of all, it is absolutely essential for people to get an adequate amount of sleep on a daily basis. Apart from sleep, it is important to spend at least half an hour every day, exercising. There are also several exercises and techniques that can help relax and strengthen the eyes. Many people try Yoga and other eye exercises to improve their eyesight and overall eye health.

Before making any dietary changes, it is highly recommended that people check with an optometrist for more information on the correlation between a diet and glaucoma. People who are suffering from any other preexisting medical conditions should also check with a doctor before switching over to a glaucoma diet.



 

Submitted on January 16, 2014
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