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Wine & Glaucoma

By Kate Beck

Glaucoma is a condition of the eye that occurs as a result of your eye pressure. A high pressure may damage the optic nerve, a bundle of nerve fiber tissues that sends visual cues to the brain. Optic nerve damage will slowly and permanently reduce your peripheral vision. Medications can reduce your eye pressure, but, to protect your vision, you should know the way certain choices, such as drinking wine, may affect glaucoma.

Eye Pressure

In front of your iris you have an open chamber filled with aqueous fluid. Your eye produces this fluid continuously, and as the newly made fluid flows into your eye, the older, fluid drains through an angle located near the bottom of this front chamber. If the aqueous does not drain at a similar rate to the fluid that enters your eye, you will have an increase in your eye pressure that may damage your optic nerve.

Effects

Drinking wine or other alcoholic beverages does not appear to increase your risk for having glaucoma damage. In fact, alcohol may reduce your eye pressure for a small period of time, explains the American Health Assistance Foundation. However, you should not rely on alcohol consumption to reduce your eye pressure since, to prevent damage, you need to maintain a continuous reduction in pressure. Wine and other forms of alcohol will only provide a periodic reduction.

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Safety

You should not stop using prescribed medications unless directed by your eye doctor. If you drink periodically, your alcohol consumption will not result in a low eye pressure or other pressure-related problems. However, if you drink excessively, you should talk with your doctor about the effects this may have on your eyes as well as your general health. Excessive alcohol consumption may require an adjustment in your glaucoma medications.

Considerations

Keep all of your scheduled eye appointments, and contact your eye doctor with changes in vision or comfort. Glaucoma requires periodic examination by your eye doctor to ensure that the prescribed treatment reduces your pressure and prevents damage to your optic nerve. Your doctor will check your pressure and dilate your pupils to examine the back of your eye. She will look for changes to your optic nerve or other signs of glaucoma damage. If your pressure is too high, or if your doctor notes additional damage, she may make changes to your medications.

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