What Foods to Avoid If You Have Glaucoma

What Foods to Avoid If You Have Glaucoma

Exercise and a healthy, well-balanced diet are often recommended to glaucoma patients to help prevent glaucoma from worsening. Certain foods—like antioxidants, dietary nitrates, and omega fatty acids—support eye health, but there are also foods, drinks, and nutrients that you should limit or steer clear of. Learn what foods to avoid if you have glaucoma and why.

What foods should I avoid or consume in moderation?

A man holding glasses above his notebooks and next to a cup of coffee and his phone

Coffee and glaucoma

Caffeine may cause a rise in eye pressure that lasts at least 90 minutes. Your doctor can tell you if the rise is significant enough in your eye to be of concern. Moreover, “[o]ne study found that drinking 5 or more cups of caffeinated coffee increased the risk of developing glaucoma,” according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF).

For most people, a cup of coffee will not cause you any harm. If you drink large amounts of caffeine throughout the day, however, you may want to consider switching out some of those beverages for a decaffeinated option.

Alcohol and glaucoma

In the short term, alcohol consumption can lower eye pressure. There are studies that indicate a correlation between daily alcohol consumption and higher inner eye pressure, or intraocular pressure (IOP). Research does not show that alcohol reduces the risk of glaucoma or prevents its progression.

If you drink alcohol, consuming in moderation continues to be acceptable.

Vitamins and glaucoma

Certain vitamins have been touted as potentially beneficial in preventing glaucoma and/or reversing vision loss, such as vitamin B, Ginkgo biloba, vitamin C, and natural compounds found in tropical fruits and green tea. Currently, there has not been enough research conducted nor clinical trials performed to substantiate these claims.

While shopping, you may have also seen that there are dietary supplements available for eye health, often referred to as “eye vitamins.” But according to the Mayo Clinic, “little evidence supports using these products for preventing glaucoma or reversing vision loss due to glaucoma.”

As Dr. Yvonne Ou, a board-certified ophthalmologist who specializes in glaucoma, said, “I usually advise patients not to take additional ‘eye’ supplements other than a standard multivitamin.”