Are you at a high risk of getting glaucoma? Glaucoma is an eye disease that causes loss of vision—usually side vision—by damaging the optic nerve, which sends information from your eyes to your brain. It usually happens when fluid builds up in the front part of your eye. That extra fluid increases the pressure in your eye, damaging the optic nerve. Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness for people over 60 years old. But blindness from glaucoma can often be prevented with early treatment.
Fortunately, you can help prevent vision loss by finding and treating problems early—and Medicare can help. Early detection and careful, lifelong treatment can maintain vision in most people. Medicare covers a glaucoma screening once every 12 months for people with a high risk. You’re considered at high risk if you answer “yes” to one or more of these questions:
- Do you have diabetes or a family history of glaucoma?
- Are you African American and 50 or older?
- Are you Hispanic American and 65 or older?
Benefits of Exercise
A regular program of moderate exercise will benefit your overall health, and studies have shown that moderate exercise such as walking or jogging three or more times every week can have an IOP lowering effect.
Vision” Foods to Include in Your Diet
- Dark green, yellow, and orange fruits and vegetables: These foods contain carotenoids, which may defend against several medical conditions, including glaucoma. Lutein and zeaxanthin are especially important for vision health. They are found in dark, leafy greens such as spinach, collard greens and kale, as well as in yellow corn, okra, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, mango, green beans, sweet potatoes, lima beans, squash, green, yellow and orange bell pepper and egg yolks.
- Fruits and vegetables abundant in vitamin C: These foods include green peppers, citrus fruits, tomatoes, broccoli, strawberries, sweet and white potatoes, leafy greens and cantaloupe.
- Foods containing vitamin E: These foods include eggs, fortified cereals, fruit, wheat germ, green leafy vegetables, nuts, nut oils, vegetable oils and whole grains.
- Foods containing vitamin A: Eat liver, sweet potatoes, carrots, mangoes, milk, and egg yolks.
- Foods with vitamin D: The main dietary sources are cod liver oil, “oily” fish, fortified milk and cereal, and egg yolks.
- Foods with zinc: These foods include oysters, red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, certain seafood, whole grains, fortified breakfast cereals, and dairy products.
- Foods with omega-3 fatty acids: Wild salmon, sardines, walnuts, and flaxseed oil are good sources.
Protect Your Eyes
Wearing protective eyewear is important when engaged in sports activities or home improvement projects. Eye injuries can result in traumatic or secondary glaucoma, so protecting your eyes from injury is another preventative you can do.
Remember, regular comprehensive eye exams are the best form of prevention against eye diseases.