Relationship of Lifestyle, Exercise, and Nutrition With Glaucoma

Claudio I. Perez; Kuldev Singh; Shan Lin


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

In This Article

Omega Fatty-acids

Food sources rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are flaxseed oil, fish oil, and walnuts. It is hypothesized that the omega-3 fatty acids, such as eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, are able to modulate the systemic microcirculation and ocular blood flow, and therefore to have a protective effect against glaucomatous damage. Following this hypothesis, a recent population-based study found that increased daily dietary consumption levels of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid were associated with lower likelihood of glaucomatous optic neuropathy.[59] However, consumption levels of total polyunsaturated fatty acids in the higher quartiles were associated with a higher risk of glaucoma, which may have resulted from the relative intakes of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids and other confounding comorbidities. A limitation of that study is that not all omega-3 or omega-6 subtypes were identified, so the ratio between the daily intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids was not assessed. A previous study was not able to find an association with glaucoma for omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids, however, participants with high omega-3:omega-6 ratio had a higher risk of developing glaucoma.[60] Thus, it is important for future prospective studies to evaluate omega-3, omega-6, and their ratio in relation with POAG. Finally, a randomized controlled trial with 2 years of follow-up showed that oral antioxidant supplementation with or without omega-3 fatty acids as an adjuvant treatment of mild/moderate POAG did not appear useful to slow the progression of the visual field indices and peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer thickness in short-term follow-up.[61]