We often associate exercise with benefits like weight management, cardiovascular health and improved mood. However, did you know regular physical activity might also help protect your vision?
Protect your vision by moving your body
Maintaining an active lifestyle isn’t just beneficial for your body; it can also positively impact your eye health. Several studies have indicated a correlation between regular exercise and a reduced risk of certain eye conditions that may cause vision loss.
Exercise may protect your vision by lowering the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common cause of vision loss among older adults. While AMD doesn’t cause complete blindness, it may make reading, driving and seeing faces difficult.
Now, research may have found a way for people to lower their risk of developing AMD or slow down its progression through exercise.
A study from The Scientific Journal of The Royal College of Ophthalmologists found that engaging in regular physical activity has been associated with a decreased risk of developing AMD. The longitudinal study found that participants who engaged in an active lifestyle over 15 years reduced their risk of developing AMD by 70%.
While the reasons behind the association aren’t clear, the study suggests that “Physical inactivity has been associated with the development of precursors for AMD in the form of macular drusen and may facilitate the progression of vision loss and AMD severity through inflammation and endothelial dysfunction.”
Exercise can protect your vision by reducing the likelihood of developing glaucoma
Physical activity may not only safeguard against AMD. The same study found that moderate exercise may also have a protective effect against glaucoma.
Elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) is a significant risk factor for glaucoma; exercise has been shown to help regulate and reduce this pressure. In a study from the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, published in the National Library of Medicine, researchers found that study participants had a reduction in intraocular pressure after aerobic exercise (AE) in both healthy and primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) eyes.
The study suggests, “These results laid down some groundwork for the possibility of the potential use of AE as a beneficial lifestyle modification for IOP reduction in POAG patients.”
These findings are especially significant for people who aren’t benefiting from IOP-reducing medications or surgeries.
Exercise protects your vision by promoting better blood circulation in the eyes
Exercise promotes better blood circulation throughout the body, including the tiny blood vessels in the eyes. Adequate blood flow ensures that the eyes receive essential nutrients and oxygen, contributing to overall eye health. This improved circulation can potentially reduce the risk of conditions related to poor blood flow in the eyes, such as diabetic retinopathy.
Protect your vision with more than just exercise
While exercise can help to protect your vision, it’s equally important to get regular eye check-ups. Comprehensive eye exams can detect potential issues early, allowing for timely intervention and treatment. Prioritize your health, stay active and schedule regular eye examinations to keep your vision sharp and clear for years to come.
If you want more ideas to protect your vision, read “How to Protect Your Eyes This Winter.”