Is Exercise Good for Ocular Health?

Submitted by Elman Retina Group on June 17, 2020

Exercise Benefits for Ocular HealthMost people understand the importance of exercise in the pursuit of a healthy heart, strong muscles and a lean waistline. But did you know that regular exercise can also help protect your vision? Read on as the retinal specialists at Elman Retina Group explain the benefits of exercise for ocular health.

Benefits of Physical Exercise

Reduces the risk of age-related eye disease

A sedentary lifestyle leaves you at greater risk of developing eye disease and suffering vision loss. Studies have shown that regular exercise reduces the risk of developing eye diseases like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Research also suggests ongoing exercise can help to lower the risk of glaucoma. One study in particular presented at a 2017 meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology reported a 73 percent decline in the risk of getting glaucoma among physically active study participants as compared to those participants who were less active.

Reduces the risk of other health problems linked to eye disease

Another benefit of physical exercise is it reduces your risk of developing other health problems that are not necessarily eye-related, but can still take a toll on the health of your eyes. A great example is diabetes. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best ways to avoid diabetes, which can cause complications like diabetic retinopathy that affect the tiny blood vessels of the retina. Exercise also helps lower blood pressure and high cholesterol, both of which can cause vision problems and eye disease.

Helps manage existing eye disease or health problems linked to eye disease

If you already have an eye disease or another health problem linked to eye disease, regular exercise can help you keep it under control to avoid complications affecting your vision. For instance, if you have been diagnosed with glaucoma, ongoing exercise is helpful for lowering intraocular pressure and preventing damage to your optic nerve. Or, if you have diabetes, regular exercise reduces the chances that you will sustain damage to your retinal blood vessels.

The Bottom Line: Stay Active

It is not always easy to carve time out of your busy schedule to exercise, but you can understand that making physical activity a priority is important for your long-term ocular and overall health.

Aim for 30 minutes of activity three to five times per week. You do not have to commit to running marathons or going to daily CrossFit classes — moderate-intensity activities like walking or jogging are enough to help reduce the risk of eye disease and other health problems. Find physical activities that you enjoy and sustain, like dancing, swimming or hiking.

Contact Our Retinal Specialists

For more information about lowering your risk of sight-stealing diseases like macular degeneration, Elman Retina Group is here for you. Please contact us today to request an appointment with our doctors.