Relationship of Lifestyle, Exercise, and Nutrition With Glaucoma

Claudio I. Perez; Kuldev Singh; Shan Lin

Disclosures

Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2019;30(2):82-88. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Abstract

Purpose of review: Although reducing the intraocular pressure (IOP) through medications, laser or surgery remains the primary means of glaucoma treatment, there is increasing evidence during the last decade that environmentally modifiable factors may help to prevent glaucoma or its progression through different mechanisms that may or may not involve lowering IOP. Additionally, patients are increasingly interested in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and taking an active role in the management of their disease. Therefore, the aim of this review is to summarize the current evidence regarding environmentally modifiable factors such as lifestyle, exercise, and nutrition in the pathogenesis of glaucoma.

Recent findings: In the last decade, large population-based studies have helped to identify possible environmentally modifiable protective and risk factors with regard to glaucomatous disease. Smoking cessation; moderate aerobic exercise; recommended weight; and a balanced diet including green leafy vegetables, omega fatty-acids, and moderate intake of hot tea and coffee have been reported to be possibly protective against developing glaucoma or its progression.

Summary: Modifiable environmental factors such as lifestyle, exercise, and nutrition may play a role in glaucoma pathogenesis. Large prospective studies with long-term follow-up should be encouraged to corroborate these findings, which may guide future treatments for our patients, some of which may not be limited to IOP reduction.

Introduction

Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness, affecting more than 60.5 million people worldwide, and by the year 2040, it will affect more than 110 million people.[1,2] The most common type of glaucoma diagnosis is primary open angle glaucoma (POAG), which is estimated to account for 74% of the glaucoma prevalence worldwide by the year 2020.[1] Nevertheless, this prevalence of POAG differs among different populations, being as high as 4.16% in Africa among those over 40 years old and as low as 0.06% among Eskimos residing in Alaska.[1,3] The different rates of POAG worldwide are explained in part by the genetic background of each population, although there is increasing evidence about the importance of environmental factors that may contribute to these differences. Therefore, the aim of this review is to summarize the evidence regarding environmentally modifiable factors such as lifestyle, exercise, and nutrition in the pathogenesis of glaucoma.

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