According to World Health Organization, glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world. What is this “silent” eye disease? Glaucoma happens when the major nerve of vision, known as the optic nerve is damaged, most commonly by elevated pressure (intraocular pressure) in the eye or poor regulation of blood flow to the optic nerve. It is often progressive, and if left undiagnosed or untreated, can lead to blindness.
Glaucoma is called “the sneak thief of sight,” because it often has no symptoms until there is irreversible vision loss. This makes it the leading cause of blindness worldwide, affecting approximately 65 million people, according to the World Health Organization. Although it can be clinically managed, there is no cure for glaucoma.
Causes and Cures
Many factors can contribute to glaucoma. High levels of stress can reduce oxygen in the blood stream, reducing the eyes’ ability to revolve eye fluids, resulting in increased pressure. Other factors include nutritional deficiencies, digestive disorder, heredity, and extreme nearsightedness or farsightedness.
Unfortunately, there is no cure yet for glaucoma. Medication and surgery can stop further loss of vision, but since glaucoma is a chronic condition, it needs constant monitoring. However, there are some eye exercises that are useful in preventing the gradual degeneration of this eye condition. Most of these exercises focus on reducing tension to the eye muscles and encouraging oxygen supply to relieve pressure
Used to reduce stress around the eyes, the exercise involves using your palm to diffuse stress, relax the muscles around the eyes and induce circulation to the eyes.
Place the palm of your left hand over your left eye, with the hollow of the palm directly over the eye but not touching it. The heel of your palm should be resting on your cheekbone. Do the same for the right palm. Breathe and relax. This gives your eyes the opportunity to relax. Do this for 3 minutes and it can be repeated anytime you feel a stress coming.
Figure of EightsBy tracing an imaginary figure of eight (the horizontal version, like the infinity sign), approximately 10 feet from you, this exercise increases the flexibility of your eyes while relaxing the eye muscles. Trace the figure with your eyes without moving your head, first in one direction, then in another. Remember to breathe, relax, and blink from time to time to help your eyes relax.
Use your fingers to massage crucial points around your eyes to relax eye muscles—not unlike acupuncture philosophy. Simply place thumb below eyebrow and above the inside corners of your eyes and allow your four fingers to rest on your forehead. Using light pressure, press thumb into the point and hold for 4 breaths.
Use thumb and index finger to massage the bridge of your nose. Glide your thumb and finger along your nose, upward motion with some light pressure. Press and squeeze for 4 breaths.
Next, place middle finger on your cheek bone, directly below the middle of your eye. Massage the center part of your cheek for 4 breaths.
You can do these exercises at separate times or you can simply graft them into your daily activities.
But perhaps the best exercise you can do for Glaucoma is an active lifestyle involving some form of physical exercise. In particular, aerobic exercises have shown some success in lowering intraocular pressure in some short-term studies. Logic? Exercises improve blood flow to retina and optic nerve. What kinds of exercises fall into this category? Any exercise that raises pulse rate by 20 to 25% and that includes a variety: a brisk 20 minute walk, swimming laps, shooting balls. Exercise at least 4 times a week.