one of your five senses would you least like to lose? For most
people, it is their vision. Our sight is so precious and we
depend upon it so much that we can't imagine what life would
be like if we could no longer see. Even when we eat delicious
vegetarian food, we "eat" with our eyes: our first impression
of the food comes from its appearance, and a bad first impression
is hard to overcome no matter how good the food tastes. Not
surprisingly, the eye, the delicate and complex end-organ of
sight, is influenced by our nutritional status. Let's look at
some common eye problems and see how they relate to our diets.
Glaucoma and Intraocular Pressure (IOP) Glaucoma refers
to a group of diseases characterized by a progressive loss of
the nerve fibers which make up our optic nerves. Glaucoma can
result from other eye problems, but we will limit the discussion
here to chronic open-angle glaucoma, the most common type.
The main risk factor for glaucoma is an elevated intraocular
pressure (IOP), the fluid pressure inside the eye, which is
different from blood pressure. Some feel that the blood circulation
to the optic nerve also plays a role. Nevertheless, the only
treatment we have for glaucoma is to lower the IOP. Normally,
this is accomplished by drugs in the form of eye drops or pills,
and laser or conventional surgery can be performed as a last
resort. But drugs, even in eye drop form, have side effects.
Therefore, let's explore non-drug, non-surgical alternatives
for the lowering of IOP. A potentially effective therapy is
exercise training. One study showed that regular aerobic exercise
on an exercise bike lowered the average IOP in patients suspected
of having glaucoma by 4-1/2 mm, or about 20%, a significant
Jogging, however, might raise IOP in people who have a less
common form of glaucoma called pigmentary glaucoma. Effects
of Diet on IOP Both eating and drinking can affect IOP. Drinking
a large amount of liquid all at once can raise IOP and should
be avoided. Dr. Carlo Pissarello published studies in 1915.