The health benefits of exercise are no secret. You already know that being physically active is important for maintaining a healthy weight, building strength and endurance, and keeping important aspects of your health, such as the heart, protected. However, what you may not realize is that exercise is good for your eyes too. No, we aren’t about to give you a list of eye exercises to perform. Instead, allow us to elaborate on some common eye diseases and how regular physical exercise now may help reduce your risk for developing them later on.
Exercise Decreases Risk for Cataracts
Cataracts are among the most common eye conditions affecting people as they age. In fact, it is estimated that half of all Americans will have developed them by the age of 75. However, multiple studies have shown that cataracts may have a direct link to physical activity. Those who regularly enjoy a run, or even a brisk walk, seemingly have a decreased risk of cataract development later in life. Furthermore, the studies have linked lack of physical activity to an increased risk for the condition.
Exercise Reduces Risk for Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration
There are two forms of age-related macular degeneration (AMD): wet and dry. While the dry form accounts for the majority of cases, wet AMD is responsible for about 90 percent of all instances of severe vision loss from the disease. It occurs when abnormal blood vessels begin to develop and grow underneath the retina, ultimately leaking fluid and blood into the eye. While early detection and treatment can help slow the progression of AMD, there is no way to restore vision once it is lost. Fortunately, research has shown that there are steps that can be taken now to help prevent the development of this vision-stealing disease. In particular, study participants who exercised three times or more each week are less likely to suffer from wet AMD.
Exercise Reduces Eye Pressure Associated with Glaucoma
The culprit behind glaucoma is increased intraocular pressure (IOP) that develops when fluid within the eye is unable to drain properly. Again, this is a disease for which early detection and treatment is critical and in which vision lost cannot be restored. However, studies have once again noted a connection between this condition and exercise. Findings reveal that those who regularly participate in low-impact exercise of moderate intensity also experience a decrease in eye pressure.
Now that you know that benefits of exercise for your long-term eye health, it’s time to get moving. Institute an exercise regimen such as regular running or brisk walking, and keep up with regular ophthalmology exams to identify and circumvent any potential eye problems. The steps you take today, both literally and figuratively, will benefit your vision and eye health tomorrow. Contact Eye Specialists of Louisiana to request an appointment.