A 2018 study suggests that eating a high-fat, low-carb diet may be beneficial to people facing glaucoma. The ketogenic or “keto” diet has been used for years to help treat diseases like epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. This is the first study to indicate the diet may also help protect the health of the optic nerve, which can become damaged in cases of glaucoma.
What an Ohio Research Team Discovered
A team of researchers from Northeast Ohio Medical University fed a meticulously portioned diet to a strain of mice on the cusp of developing glaucoma. The diet was made up of 90 percent fat with very low levels of carbohydrates.
This type of diet puts the body’s metabolism into a state mimicking starvation; in the past it has been shown to have neuroprotective effects in diseases like Alzheimer’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
After eight weeks, the retinal cells and optic nerves in the mice showed less deterioration. The mice also had increased energy availability and antioxidant levels.
These findings suggest that following a ketogenic diet could help prevent the deterioration of the optic nerve in patients with glaucoma. More research is needed to support this hypothesis.
Nicknamed the “Silent Thief of Sight,” glaucoma is a leading cause of vision loss. The more common form of the disease, open-angle glaucoma, often progresses painlessly and without any noticeable visual effects until it is very far along. Narrow-angle or angle-closure glaucoma produces immediate symptoms such as nausea, blurry vision, eye pain and headaches, and must be treated immediately to avoid irreversible vision loss.
If you have been diagnosed with glaucoma or are at a heightened risk of it due to your age, family history or other factors, you should not make any sudden or serious changes to your diet without first consulting your primary care physician.
At Island Eye Surgicenter, we are leaders in the treatment and management of glaucoma. Through medical and surgical therapies, we can help control the effects of glaucoma, stave off damage to the optic nerve and prevent vision loss and blindness.
Contact Our Glaucoma Team Today
Please call or email us today to learn more about how we can best treat and manage the disease.