At Eyedeology, our Optometrists love biking and hiking. Getting regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. We already know that 30 minutes of exercise daily can help with weight loss, improve cardiovascular health and boost energy levels. However, did you know that physical activity can also help to protect your eyesight? Many eye diseases are linked to other health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol levels. Exercise is not just good for your body but good for your eyes too and can help keep these problems at bay or reduce their impact if they do occur.
Several studies have shown that people who engage in regular physical activity can reduce their risk of developing serious eye diseases like cataracts, glaucoma and Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). In one study, researchers found that people who engaged in moderate physical exercise were 25 percent less likely to develop glaucoma than people who were largely inactive. In another study, the scientists found that people who exercised three times a week were less likely to develop AMD than people who didn’t exercise.
If you already have a medical condition, exercise can help you to manage it better. For example, physical activity can help people with diabetes keep their disease under control. This can reduce the risk of complications, which include diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of vision loss among working age adults. High blood pressure can also lead to eye disease, and regular exercise can help prevent hypertension.
Exercise has also been shown to help people who have glaucoma. Moderate physical exercise, like going for a walk three times a week, can lower your intraocular pressure (IOP) and improve blood flow to the retina and optic nerve. However, to receive the benefits of exercise, you need to keep to the program. Once you stop exercising, your IOP will return to previous levels.
The good news is that you don’t have to be a marathon runner to reap the benefits of physical activity. Taking a brisk walk, climbing the stairs and dancing are all great ways to get a good work out that will help you and your eyes stay healthy.
To help protect your vision, schedule comprehensive eye exams annually with our Optometristsand make time in your daily routine for regular exercise.