How to Lower Eye Pressure Without Drops

Four Methods:Modifying Diet and LifestyleUndergoing SurgeryPerforming Relaxation ExercisesUnderstanding Ocular Hypertension

Ocular hypertension is one of the most widespread conditions that affects the eyes. It occurs when there is a higher level of fluid pressure (intraocular pressure) in the eyes than usual. Glaucoma, and even permanent vision impairment, can occur if ocular hypertension is ignored, therefore it's important to take action against the condition. High intraocular pressure or ocular hypertension has no symptoms, so it is diagnosed during a visit to your eye care specialist. Eye drops are usually one of the first treatments used to treat high eye pressure, but unfortunately they do not work for everyone.[1]

Method 1
Modifying Diet and Lifestyle

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    Lower your body's insulin levels. Individuals who suffer from conditions such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure often become resistant to insulin, which actually causes the body to produce more insulin. These high insulin levels have been linked to increased eye pressure.[2]
    • To solve this problem, patients are advised to avoid certain foods that can trigger an abrupt increase in insulin levels. These foods include: sugar, grains (whole and organic), breads, pasta, rice, cereal and potatoes.
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    Exercise frequently. Regularly engaging in exercises like aerobics, jogging, brisk walking, biking and strength training helps to lower your body's insulin levels, thus protecting your eyes from ocular hypertension.
    • Insulin is a hormone that helps to transport blood sugar (or glucose) into the cells as a source of energy. If we use up this energy through exercising, the blood glucose levels in our body are reduced, along with insulin levels. If insulin levels are low, there is no hyperstimulation of the ocular sympathetic nerve, so there is no buildup of pressure in the eyes.
    • Try to exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes per day, three to five times per week.
    • Avoid exercises and positions that place you in a head-down position, as this can increase intraocular pressure. This includes some yoga positions, such as headstands.
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    Take dietary omega-3 fatty acids. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a type of omega-3 fatty acid that maintains healthy retinal function and prevents pressure from building up in the eyes.[3]
    • DHA (and other omega-3 fatty acids) are found in cold water fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, shellfish and herring. To boost your DHA levels, try to eat to two to three servings of these kinds of fish each week.
    • Alternatively, you can increase your DHA intake by taking fish oil capsules or algae-based DHA supplements. For best results take 3,000 – 4,000mg of standardized fish oil capsules per day or take 200mg of algae-based DHA supplements per day.[4]
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    Consume more foods containing lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids, which work as antioxidants that protect the body from free radicals. These free radicals weaken the immune system, which can lead to infection and damage to the optic nerves.[5]
    • Lutein and zeaxanthin also help to lower eye pressure by reducing oxidative damage around the optic nerve. This is important, as any damage in the optic nerve increases eye pressure.
    • Foods that contain excellent sources of lutein and zeaxanthin include kale, spinach, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and raw egg yolks. Try to include at least one of these foods in every major meal of the day.
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    Avoid trans fats. As mentioned above, omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce intraocular pressure. However, foods that are high in trans fats prevent the omega-3s from working properly, which can lead to increased eye pressure.
    • As a result, it's a good idea to limit your intake of foods rich in trans fats. These foods include: processed or baked foods, fried foods, ice cream, microwave popcorn, and ground beef.[6]
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    Eat more antioxidants. Dark colored berries, such as blueberries, blackberries, and bilberries, help to improve the overall health of the eyes by reinforcing the capillaries that transmit nutrients to the eye nerves and muscles. This is due to the fact that dark-colored berries contain antioxidants that help to strengthen blood vessels. This reduces the chances of blood vessels hemorrhaging and causing damage.[7]
    • Try to eat at least one portion of dark-colored berries per day.
    • Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is an antioxidant and is used to prevent and treat a number of eye disorders, including glaucoma and increased eye pressure. Dosage is usually 75mg twice a day.[8]
    • Bilberry is very commonly used to increase visual acuity and combat degenerative eye diseases, including ocular hypertension. One study on a specific product containing bilberry and pycnogenol (an extract from pine bark) was clinically shown to lower eye pressure.[9]
    • Grapeseed extract is an antioxidant and has been successfully used to reduce eye stress due to glare. Grapeseed extract is commonly used to combat signs of aging and improve night vision.[10]
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    Use Marijuana (Cannabis), where legal. Marijuana can be taken as edibles, sublingually, capsules, tablets and oils for vapors. One of the constituents of marijuana-cannabidiol (CBD) does not have psychotropic effects and has been shown to reduce eye pressure. 20–40 mg CBD has been successfully used to treat high eye pressure.[11][12]

Method 2
Undergoing Surgery

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    Understand why surgery may be necessary.[13] If high pressure persists, it can cause damage to the optic nerve, leading to an eye condition called glaucoma.[14] Over time, glaucoma can lead to vision loss.[15] Glaucoma is usually treated using a combination of eye drops and oral medications. However, if these measures don't work, surgery will be necessary in order to lower pressure in the eyes.
    • Surgery for glaucoma helps to improve the flow of fluid within the eyes, lowering eye pressure as a result. Sometimes, a single surgery will not be enough to adequately relieve eye pressure and treat glaucoma. In this situation, a follow-up surgery may be necessary.
    • There are several types of surgery used to treat glaucoma, depending on the severity of the condition.
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    Ask your doctor about drainage implants. Drainage implants are usually used to treat high eye pressure in children and in people with advanced glaucoma. During the procedure, a small tube is inserted into the eye to facilitate the drainage of fluid. Once the fluid is drained, pressure in the eye is reduced.
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    Consider getting laser surgery. Trabeculoplasty is a type of laser surgery that uses a high-energy laser beam to open blocked drainage canals in the eyes, allowing the excess fluid to drain. After the surgery, eye pressure is checked periodically to ensure that the procedure was successful.
    • Another type of laser surgery is iridotomy. This type of laser is used in people with very narrow drainage angles in the eyes. During this procedure, a small hole is created on the top part of the iris to allow for the drainage of fluid.
    • If laser iridotomy doesn't work, peripheral iridotomy may be done. This procedure involves removing a small part of the iris in order to improve fluid drainage. This type of surgery is relatively rare.
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    Be aware that you may need filtering surgery. Trabeculectomy is a type of surgical procedure used as a last resort in the treatment of high eye pressure if eye drops and laser surgery remain unsuccessful.
    • In this procedure, a surgeon creates an opening in the sclera (the white part of the eye) and removes a small piece of tissue in the base of the cornea. This allows fluid to flow freely from the eye, resulting in reduced pressure.
    • The procedure is done in one eye and is repeated in the other eye several weeks later, if necessary. Additional treatments may be required following this procedure as the opening might become blocked or closed up again.

Method 3
Performing Relaxation Exercises

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    Practice blinking every 3 to 4 seconds. People have a tendency to avoid blinking when working on a computer, watching television or playing video games. This puts a lot of strain on the eyes.
    • You can relax and refresh the eyes by making a conscious effort to blink every 3 to 4 seconds, over a two minute period. Use a watch to time yourself, if necessary.
    • This will relieve some of the pressure on your eyes, leaving them ready to process new information.
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    Cover your eye with the palm of your hand. Covering your eye with the palm of your hand helps to relax both the eye and the mind, relieving stress and allowing you to blink freely.
    • Place your right hand over your right eye, resting your fingers against your forehead and the heel of your hand against your cheekbone. Don't apply any pressure.
    • Keep the hand in place for 30 seconds to a minute, blinking freely throughout. Uncover your right eye, then use your left hand to cover your left eye and repeat.
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    Trace an imaginary figure of eight with your eyes. This exercise helps to strengthen your eye muscles and increase their flexibility, making them less prone to injury and high pressure.
    • Imagine a big number eight on the wall in front of you, turned onto its side. Use your eyes to trace this number eight, without moving your head. Keep doing this for a minute or two.
    • If you're having difficulty imagining a sideways number eight, try actually drawing one on a large piece of paper and sticking it on the wall. You can trace this with your eyes instead.
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    Practice focusing your eyes on both near and faraway objects. This exercise helps to strengthen the eye muscles and improve your overall vision.
    • Find a relaxing place to sit, without any distractions. Hold your thumb approximately 10 inches (25.4 cm) in front of your face and focus your eyes on it.
    • Focus on your thumb for five to 10 seconds, then switch your focus to another object, between 10 to 20 feet (3.0 to 6.1 m) away from you. Alternate between focusing on your thumb and focusing on the far away object for a minute or two.
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    Try zooming. This exercise improves your focusing skills and also helps to strengthens your eye muscles.
    • Stretch one hand directly out in front of you, then stick up your thumb. Focus both eyes on the thumb, then slowly move your thumb towards you until it is about three inches away from your face.
    • Move your thumb away from you again, keeping both eyes on it at all times. Continue to focus on your moving thumb for a minute or two.
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    Look into biofeedback. This technique may also help alleviate eye pressure.[16] Biofeedback teaches you to control normal bodily process, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.[17] A biofeedback therapist will teach you proper technique so you can begin to practice on your own.

Method 4
Understanding Ocular Hypertension

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    Understand how high eye pressure is diagnosed. High eye pressure (medically known as ocular hypertension) is difficult to diagnose, as it does not show any visible symptoms such as redness or eye pain. A diagnosis cannot be made using visual examination alone, so you will need to have your eyes examined by an eye specialist. He will use a combination of methods to identify ocular hypertension.
    • Tonometry. This procedure is used to measure intraocular pressure in the eyes and gauge whether the level of pressure is still within normal limits. The eye is numbed and then an orange dye is inserted to help the specialist identify the level of pressure. A machine is used to measure the pressure in the eye by applying pressure to the eye.[18]
    • A reading of 21mmHg or higher usually indicates the presence of ocular hypertension. However, other conditions can affect this reading, such as head or eye injuries or a buildup of blood behind the cornea.
    • Air puff. With this procedure, the patient is asked to look straight into an apparatus while the specialist shines a light into the eye. The apparatus then sends a quick puff of air directly into the eye. A special machine reads the pressure by assessing the changes in the light reflections upon the strike of air into the eye.
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    Understand what causes high eye pressure. Ocular hypertension is associated with increasing age along with other factors. Several factors may contribute to the development of ocular hypertension, including:[19]
    • Excessive aqueous production. Aqueous humor is a transparent liquid manufactured in the eye. It drains from the eye by means of the trabecular meshwork. If excessive aqueous humor is produced, the pressure in the eye increases.
    • Inadequate aqueous drainage. Improper drainage of aqueous humor can lead to increased eye pressure.
    • Certain medications. Certain drugs (such as steroids) can cause ocular hypertension, especially in people with pre-existing risk factors.
    • Eye trauma. Any irritation or injury to the eye can affect the balance of aqueous production and drainage from the eye and may result in increased eye pressure.[20]
    • Other eye conditions. Ocular hypertension is usually linked with other eye ailments such as pseudo exfoliation syndrome, corneal arcus, and dispersion syndrome.
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    Familiarize yourself with the risk factors for ocular hypertension. Anyone can develop high eye pressure, but studies show that the following groups are at increased risk of developing the condition:
    • African-Americans.
    • Individuals over the age of 40.
    • Persons with a family history of ocular hypertension and glaucoma.
    • People with thinner central corneal thickness measurements.[5]


  • Some of the fish recommended for increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids contain low level of mercury, but limited servings will not cause any harm to individuals. However, certain precautions must be taken by pregnant women or those hoping to conceive. They are advised to avoid eating king mackerel, tilefish, swordfish and shark.
  • If you are already on a drop for your intraocular pressure, you should not stop it without discussing it with your ophthalmologist.

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