Exercise Offers Protective Benefits to the Eyes
- Posted on: Aug 30 2019
For decades, we’ve been told that we need to exercise. Often, we perceive the value of movement as it relates to weight loss and management. There is much more to the recommendations for physical activity than that. Engaging in exercise, a sport, or a physical hobby like dance offers numerous emotional and physiological benefits. In addition to supporting weight and cardiovascular stamina, exercise also offers particular protective benefits to the eyes.
Research data suggests that weight training and jogging can protect the eyes from glaucoma. The intensity of exercise need not be intense. In fact, more strenuous activities require attention to breathing in order to avoid an increase in intraocular pressure (a common symptom of glaucoma). To gain the protective benefits of exercise, researchers in this study concluded that moderately-intense, low-impact exercise was sufficient for most people.
Millions of people develop cataracts as they age. In one study, mild aerobic exercise such as jogging or walking briskly demonstrated positive effects against the formation of cataracts. Just 30-45 minutes of mid-pace walking or jogging 4 to 5 days a week is believed to minimize the risk of cataracts later in life.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
In one study, researchers found that growth factors in the body increased in response to moderately intense aerobic exercise. There are several growth factors involved in tissue regeneration in various parts of the body. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is one, in particular, that is thought to promote retinal health. Observing over 40,000 runners, one study determined that those who put in more miles had less of a chance of age-related macular degeneration than runners who completed fewer miles.
Diabetes is a condition in which there is too much glucose (sugar) in the blood. The excess glucose affects blood vessels, including those in the eyes. For individuals with diabetes and even pre-diabetes, retinopathy is a significant concern. Because exercise promotes healthy weight and insulin sensitivity, we can see the secondary benefit of exercise as decreasing the risk of diabetic retinopathy.
Knowing your risk for eye disease is an important first step in protecting long-term vision. We can help. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam at a Roholt Vision Institute near you. We proudly serve the areas of North Canton, Alliance, and Canfield.