Can Regular Exercise Delay Common Eye Diseases?



Several eye conditions, including glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration, are linked to lower activity levels. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, regular exercise could help preserve vision.

Physical Activity Can Protect Against AMD in Mice

Previous research has demonstrated how physical activity can influence overall wellness and disease prevention. A new study published in Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science suggests exercise may help prevent blood vessel overgrowth in degenerative eye conditions like age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Researchers analyzed two groups of six mice, but only one group used an exercise wheel. After four weeks, the research team found the active mice experienced 45 percent less eye damage than the inactive mice.

Today’s Research May Bring New Eye Treatments

This study is unique because researchers could observe how exercise altered tissues and cells in mice. Previous experiments relied on patients’ self-reported physical activity.

“The new study is exciting because it supports previous findings suggesting a link between exercise and prevention of AMD,” said American Academy of Ophthalmology spokesperson J. Kevin McKinney, M.D., MPH.

It is unclear whether the team can obtain similar results in human studies; however, they are hopeful that future testing may reveal new treatments for eye diseases.

What Is The Best Exercise for My Health?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults get 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly. What you do for exercise may depend on your age, cardiovascular fitness and level of mobility. You have many workout choices: from walking, biking and hiking to swimming, yoga or even yard work. Any activity you choose will benefit your eye health and your overall wellness. Talk to your doctor before you begin a new exercise routine to ensure you are choosing safe activities that will not put you at risk for injury.

September is Healthy Aging Month, so it’s important to preserve your vision as you age. An annual comprehensive eye exam is as essential for your vision as daily exercise. During the check-up, an ophthalmologist will test your visual acuity and screen you for common eye diseases like glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts. You may need an updated eyeglass prescription, or perhaps you are a candidate for cataract surgery. If you are looking for an ophthalmologist, we can help. Our eye care centers are located nationwide, and you can find an eye doctor in your area who is accepting new patients. Call today to make an appointment.