High-Fat Diet May Prevent Nerve Damage
Researchers fed a fat-rich diet to a group of mice that were on the brink of developing glaucoma. The diet was 90 percent fat and very little carbohydrate. After eight weeks, the mice had higher energy and increased antioxidant level. Most importantly, their optic nerves showed less deterioration.
Glaucoma is a series of eye diseases characterized by optic nerve damage due to sensitivity to eye pressure. Because the optic nerve is responsible for sending visual images to the brain, any damage can result in permanent vision loss.
In the past, doctors have considered a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet to treat multiple nerve disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. This is the first study that suggests that glaucoma patients could glean some benefit.
Characteristics of Glaucoma
Glaucoma is challenging to diagnose because it usually develops slowly and painlessly. Primary open-angle glaucoma, the most common variation, is aptly nicknamed the “sneak thief of sight” because it gradually minimizes the visual field. Low pressure glaucoma, or normal tension glaucoma, is also challenging to detect. Patients can experience vision loss even when eye pressure remains within reasonable limits. Acute angle-closure glaucoma is less common, but it is a serious condition that requires immediate medical intervention. It is often accompanied by headaches, blurred vision, eye pain and nausea.
Managing Your Risk for Glaucoma
Take our Glaucoma Risk Assessment to learn more about your own personal risk for glaucoma. Hypertension, diabetes, eye injury, refractive errors and family history are just a few factors that increase your risk for glaucoma. Adults who are 40 and older are more likely to develop the condition, as well as African Americans. Although there is no cure for glaucoma, you can prevent damage from the disease by visiting your ophthalmologist each year.
When was your last comprehensive eye exam? During a complete eye exam, your eye doctor will evaluate your current prescription and test your eyes for glaucoma and other eye conditions that can cause low vision and blindness.
For a list of board-certified ophthalmologists in your area, click here and enter your zip code at the top of the page.