Regular exercise can improve cardiovascular health, physical fitness, and even your eyesight. Trusted optometrist Dr. Vishal Patel at Eye Care Solutions in Milton, Georgia cares for his patients’ vision using a variety of exams and treatments that are both in-office and at-home. He also recommends exercise to keep your eyes and overall health in tip-top shape. Here’s why.
Eyes on the prize
Over the past decade, studies have shown that regular exercise may reduce your risk of cataracts, glaucoma, and even age-related macular degeneration. Exercise can also reduce your chances of developing conditions such as type 2 diabetes, which can cause visual impairment. Regular exercise, along with a healthy diet, can lower your risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which can also adversely affect your eyesight.
Studies link exercise to healthy eyes
Yes, you can truly dance, walk, and run away from your eye problems. A variety of studies over the past decade have shown that exercise not only helps prevent certain serious eye diseases, but it can help you manage them, as well. Examples include:
Research revealed low-impact exercise led to significant reductions in eye pressure, which is a major factor of glaucoma. Doctors treat glaucoma by lowering your eye pressure. One study showed that those who participated in moderate physical exercise were 25% less likely to develop glaucoma than those who remained sedentary. Both Dr. Patel and the Glaucoma Research Foundation advocate regular aerobic-type exercise to help reduce eye pressure.
Power walking was shown to help decrease the risk of age-related cataracts in one 2013 study. Another 2016 study also pointed to the fact that a lack of physical activity might increase your risk of cataracts.
Wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
In yet another study, researchers followed 4,000 older adults for 15 years. They found those who exercised three or more times per week were less likely to develop exudative (wet) AMD, which causes blood vessels to grow beneath the retina, leaking blood and fluid into the eye.
Exercises that directly improve your vision
Specific eye exercises can also help improve your vision, including:
- Shifting. Rotate your eyeballs from one direction to another. Look to the right and then slowly look left. Exercising those tiny eye muscles keeps the blood pumping for healthier eyes.
- Blinking. Blink your eyes quickly 10-15 times. Then, close your eyes and relax for 20 seconds. Repeat this exercise a few times a day. And, remember to blink whenever you’re on the computer to help keep your eyes lubricated.
- Palming. Rub the palms of your hands together and place them gently over your eyelids. Feel your eye muscles relax.
- Zooming. Shift your focus by looking at a pencil at arm’s length. Slowly bring it closer, shifting your focus. This exercises your eyes to keep them healthy.
Not only can exercise increase your overall health, but it can help maintain your eyesight, along with a good diet and regular eye exams. To schedule an exam or learn more about a particular vision problem, call our office or book an appointment online today.