Exercise & Your Eyes

With the New Year in full swing, some of those resolutions we made might have gone by the wayside. But if getting into shape was one of your goals for 2013, there are plenty of reasons not to break that resolution, healthy eyesight being one of them.

Most of us are aware that even just 30 minutes of physical exercise every day can benefit our heart, waistline and energy levels, but it can also do a world of good for our eyes. This makes sense considering that many eye diseases are linked to other health problems, including diabetes, high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure so naturally the eyes would receive the same benefits as the rest of your body when you exercise. Exercise not only helps to keep these problems at bay, but will also limit their impact if or when they do occur.

Studies have also indicated that people who exercise regularly are less likely to develop serious eye diseases. In one such study, researchers followed more than 5,000 men and women to find out whether there was a link between moderate exercise and ocular perfusion pressure, a factor in the development of glaucoma. It was found that individuals who engaged in moderate physical activity were 25% less likely to develop glaucoma than those who were inactive. Another study of more than 3,800 people looked to see if there was a relationship between developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and being physically inactive. Researchers found that individuals who exercised at least three times a week were less likely to develop AMD than those who did not exercise.

In many cases exercise has been shown to help those suffering from glaucoma. Moderate physical activity, such as going for a walk three times a week, can actually help lower intraocular pressure (IOP) and improve blood flow to the retina and optic nerve.

Another great thing about exercise is that you don’t necessarily have to be a marathon runner or professional athlete to reap its benefits. Taking a brisk walk, using the stairs rather than the elevator and even dancing are great ways to get a good work out that will help you and your eyes stay healthy.

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