We are frequently asked by patients with glaucoma whether there is anything that they can do besides taking medications or having surgery to lower the pressure in their eyes. Conversely, we are also asked whether there are any activities they should avoid because they might increase the pressure in their eyes and make the glaucoma worse.
It turns out that there are quite a few lifestyle choices that may make your glaucoma worse and a few that may aid in controlling your glaucoma. We will discuss the most important of these. First of all, let's talk about exercise. In our wellness books, TriEnergetics and Live Longer Live Healthier, and in our lives, we have been enthusiastic advocates of exercising for better health. It turns out that exercise will help lower the pressure in your eyes. For example, studies have shown that aerobic exercise decreases diastolic blood pressure and lowers intra-ocular pressure. You don't have to exercise rigorously. The pressure in your eyes can be lowered by exercise that raises the pulse just 20-25% and you can achieve this with a brisk walk. For maximal benefit, we recommend that you walk for 20 minutes at least four times a week.
Although exercise can help lower the pressure in your eyes, it is not a substitute for medical treatment or for visits to your ophthalmologist. For more information on the health benefits of exercise, go to our website TriEnergetics.com or look online for our book, Live Longer Live Healthier.
Yoga has become a popular form of exercise. There are numerous health benefits from practicing yoga, but you must avoid any positions that are based on inverting your head for more than a few minutes. The reason is that
inversion causes large elevations in the pressure in your eyes. Examples of some undesirable positions are Siasana (headstand posture) and downward dog.
There are also dietary choices that will have an effect on the pressure in your eyes. It has been shown that people who regularly drink three or more cups of caffeinated coffee a day have a higher eye pressure and a greater risk of
developing glaucoma that those who do not drink coffee. We recommend that if you drink coffee, drink with moderation and limit yourself to not more than two cups a day.