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What Vitamins and Nutrients Will Help Prevent My Glaucoma from Worsening?

A recent study suggests that a diet that includes plenty of green, leafy vegetables may lower the risk of glaucoma.

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What Vitamins and Nutrients Will Help Prevent My Glaucoma from Worsening?

A recent study suggests that a diet that includes plenty of green, leafy vegetables may lower the risk of glaucoma.

In general, I recommend that my patients include nutrient-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet. A healthy lifestyle, consisting of balanced nutrition, moderate exercise, and appropriate rest is an important part of your overall health and well-being and can help prevent illness too.

The best way to ensure that you’re getting all of your essential vitamins and minerals is to eat a balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables — they are a primary source of carotenoids, which can have overall benefits for vision health. Certain fruits and vegetables with higher vitamin A and C content have been shown to reduce glaucoma risk as well.

Some of the most helpful fruits and vegetables for healthy vision are:

  • collard greens
  • cabbage
  • kale
  • spinach
  • Brussels sprouts
  • celery
  • carrots
  • peaches
  • radishes
  • green beans
  • beets

 

Because oxidative stress is associated with damage to the optic nerve in glaucoma, antioxidants may help to prevent further injury. Dietary sources of antioxidants include:

  • pomegranate
  • acai berries
  • cranberries
  • dark chocolate
  • black and green tea
  • bilberry
  • lycopene (from tomato products)
  • dark green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach
  • flax seeds

 

Any specific nutritional deficiencies in your diet can be addressed with supplements that include Vitamins A, B-complex, C, and E as well as the minerals Magnesium, Calcium and Zinc. However, there is no convincing data that vitamin supplements help to prevent glaucoma. I recommend that patients take a general multivitamin if they are uncertain whether their daily nutritional needs are met.

While good nutrition plays a role in disease prevention and overall health, it is not a treatment for glaucoma. Certain herbs such as ginkgo and bilberry may even increase the risk of bleeding with glaucoma surgery. Given the breadth of nutritional supplements available over-the-counter, it is important to discuss with your eye doctor all prescription, herbal, vitamin, mineral, and over-the-counter remedies you currently take.

Talk to your doctor about any other questions related to glaucoma and your diet, exercise, and lifestyle choices.

 

Posted on September 6, 2016; Last reviewed on March 17, 2022

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Amish Doshi, MD

Dr. Doshi is a glaucoma specialist at Kaiser Permanente Northern California. He serves as an editor of the Gleams newsletter for Glaucoma Research Foundation.

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