A coworker was diagnosed with pressure behind her eyeball(s). Dr. wants more tests, etc. She has metabolic syndrome: pre-diabetic, high blood pressure, overweight, dyslipidemia (I know - it's jusr a marker for what she's eating) and NAFLD. We started talking about saturated fat/cholesterol and stuff - she's very interested, but her immediate concern is her eyes. I think a paleo/primal diet could help, but I need to connect the dots as to how exactly. She definitely wants more info.
Anyone have experience with this or can explain the biological basis for this condition?
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Before she tries anything else, have her ask her doctor for a pachymetry test. It takes about 30 seconds in the doctor's office and is completely painless, but many eye doctors don't do it. It measures corneal thickness and a thick cornea can actually make eye pressure readings appear higher than they really are. It may turn out that she actually has thick corneas and not high eye pressure. This is important because if high eye pressure readings persist, they will end up putting her on eye drops for glaucoma (or, at least, they will try) when she may not even have a problem in the first place.
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My 20 year old sister had the same symptoms and it turned out to be Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension, this mainly affects obese women of a child bearing age, the doctors told her she MUST lose weight or she could lose her sight or at best be on medication for the rest of her life. So if it is that, in that sense a Paleo diet would help because of the weight loss.
You might suggest she see a Physical therapist or massage therapist trained in cranial sacral therapy. The pressure can be caused by imbalance in the muscles and fascia in the face, neck, and shoulders. I have problems myself with pain and pressure behind my eye and have found cranial work to be helpful. I have also learned how to re-balance my own muscles and stay closer to pain free.
Regarding converting her to paleo, it might be easier to recommend a dairy elimination diet for a while. Some people find that dairy causes inflammation and increased mucus production in their sinuses, another possible cause for eye pressure.
If you can get her started on a paleo diet that just eliminates wheat products and sugar to reduce her blood pressure, her eye pressure will abate. I know I have seen something about occular health and paleo, but I can't find it now.
Get her on 5000IU vit D3 daily. Leutein is available as a supplement OTC that assists in eye health.
I suspect she is more on the diabetic side than pre diabetes. I hope she knows that diabetes uncontrolled leads to blindness.
Good Luck. This co worker can cure herself with a paleo diet but we are so conditioned to looking to the "experts" for direction and pills to solve our medical problems, that she may not take seriously your "Non-Expert" advice. You are going to have to do an extremely good selling job...but the results will make you a hero.
Has she ever had an MRI, or more crudely a CT scan, to see other plausible locations of pressure behind the eyes???