Boston – A new study conducted by researchers from Harvard University offers new evidence that supports diets rich in leafy green vegetables as they can reduce the risk of glaucoma up to 30%. The findings were published in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Researchers have found that a high intake of leafy green vegetables could reduce risks for the world’s leading cause of irreversible blindness: primary open-angle glaucoma, or POAG, which is a progressive condition that damages the optic nerve, generally because of fluid buildup in the eye’s front part. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, one in 10 with the condition, will eventually lose their sight. The disease often occurs in adults over 50 years of age and affects about 1% of the U.S. population.

Consuming green leafy vegetables, may reduce by 30% the risks of suffering from glaucoma. Credit:

Earlier studies suggested that nitrate, which is presented in leafy green vegetables, is helpful in blood circulation so a group of scientists decided to see if it has any effects on the eye disease.

Researchers analyzed the diets and eye exam results of 105,000 participants from two different studies during 25 years. At the beginning of the study, participants were over 40 years old and none of them suffered from glaucoma. The study included 63,893 women from Nurses’ Health Study (1984-2012) and 41,094 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986-2012).

The participants were asked to fill repeated questionnaires, which allowed researchers to evaluate their nitrate consumption and glaucoma risk. The results showed that participants who consumed more green leafy vegetables were less likely to develop glaucoma. During the course of the study, 1,483 participants developed glaucoma, while the ones who had a diet consisting of leafy greens rich in nitrates had a 30% risk decrease towards developing the disease.

“These nutrients improve blood flow to the back of the eye in general, we feel, and that’s where we think the advantages come from. In spite of glaucoma, Gurling (a grandmother) can still do her crossword puzzle,” study leader Jae Kang, assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston said.

This group of participants also had between 40 and 50% reduced risks of developing a subtype of the condition known as early paracentral visual field (VF) loss, which is also linked to dysfunction in blood flow autoregulation.

Source: Tech Times