Glaucoma is a serious condition that can greatly affect the quality of life of those who have it. If not managed properly, excessive pressure inside the eye can even cause optic nerve damage, which can result in reduced vision or even total blindness. In fact, of the more than 65 million people around the world who suffer from glaucoma, it’s estimated that at least 10% are completely blind already. However, recent studies are beginning to prove that proper stress management techniques and mindfulness meditation may actually be effective in helping to fight off glaucoma.
The original report, published in the Journal of Glaucoma, describes a 21 day study that monitored 90 different patients who were divided into two groups, one which incorporated a daily 60 minute mindfulness-based meditation session with traditional treatment, and one that relied exclusively on conventional treatments. To no surprise, by the end of the study the numbers showed definitively that more than 75% of the patients who participated in the meditation sessions experienced a more than 25% drop in eye pressure. Additionally, patients who meditated also reported having better quality sleep, and were shown to have less stress-related chemicals circulating throughout their body after just three weeks.
What Can You Do?
Although the actual science behind why relaxation and meditation techniques have such a positive impact on ocular pressure and glaucoma is still just out of reach, the fact remains it works, and you can take advantage of it’s benefits right from home. Dr. McKinney specifically recommends that patients:
- Get enough exercise throughout the week to reduce stress and muscle tension while also increasing the secretion of various feel-good hormones and endorphins, like serotonin and dopamine.
- Practice healthy sleeping habits, including going to bed and waking up at the same times every day, avoiding too much screen time before bed, and making sure you’re sleeping in a comfortable place.
- Try to meditate at least once a day, making sure to find a quiet, comfortable place where you can sit and truly be alone with your thoughts, feelings, breath, and the sensations of everything around you. You can even practice mindful meditation when doing other, more mindless tasks, like folding laundry, doing dishes, and more.
For more information about how to treat or prevent glaucoma from taking over your life, we encourage you to get in touch with our vastly talented and experienced ocular professionals at Alpine Eye Care by calling us directly at 1.877.733.2020 or scheduling an appointment today.