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Although there are no scientifically proven ways to prevent glaucoma, healthy habits–such as moderate exercise, regular visual check-ups, and eating green, leafy vegetables–represent a good starting point for a prevention strategy.
By Vanessa Caceres; Reviewed by Louis R. Pasquale, MD, FARVO
Although there are no proven strategies to prevent glaucoma, it is a subject worth discussing-particularly with the current renaissance that glaucoma is experiencing.
Louis R. Pasquale, MD, FARVO, professor of ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, discussed environmental risk factors for glaucoma and pointed out there are no proven strategies to prevent the disease. He also offered some strategy suggestions.
“If we had a proven strategy to prevent glaucoma, even it worked by 10%, it would be an incredible savings to society in terms of cost and reduced visual disabilities,” Dr. Pasquale said.
Surprisingly, there are some randomized controlled trials that focus on glaucoma prevention, including studies of anthocyanins, antioxidants, and ginkgo biloba. A study of anthocyanins in particular showed a favorable effect, but Dr. Pasquale pointed out that all of these were small studies.
Dr. Pasquale emphasized that there is not any particular proven strategy to prevent glaucoma, but he shared six suggestions that show promise:
Dr. Pasquale also shared two habits to avoid to lower one’s risk for glaucoma. First, although a small or moderate amount of coffee consumption is okay, drinking a large amount on a regular basis appears to raise the risk for glaucoma.
Second, inverted head postures as performed in yoga are probably not a good idea. “IOPs measured during these postures have been documented to be quite high,” Dr. Pasquale. “There are plenty of other yoga exercises that people could benefit from that are not associated with such marked increase in IOP.”
Sharing these recommendations with patients can be a response to their strong interest in doing something to help control their disease or modify their disease risk, Dr. Pasquale said. However, with all the different forms of glaucoma, the strategies may not work for everyone.
Louis R. Pasquale, MD, FARVO
This article was adapted from a presentation that Dr. Pasquale delivered during Glaucoma Subspecialty Day held prior to the 2017 American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting. Dr. Pasquale has no financial disclosures relevant to his presentation.