Exercise and eye health – what’s the link?

Planks, star jumps, burpees – plenty of us are used to exercising at the gym or at home to keep fit and get strong, but did you know it’s also great for your eye health?

The science of exercising and eye health

Physical exercise

Physical exercise, such as running, cycling, or working out, coupled with a healthy diet, can help your eyes perform at their best and ensure positive long-term eye health.

Aerobic exercise can help protect your retinal cells and increase the oxygen supply to the optic nerve to reduce fluid pressure in your eyes (intraocular pressure). Some studies suggest that exercising regularly for 3 months reduces the eye pressure by 25%. It also lowers cholesterol and high blood pressure, increasing blood flow to your optic nerve.

Does exercise help glaucoma prevention?

Health experts define regular exercise as exercising for at least 30 minutes, 3 times a week. An American study has shown that a regular workout can help lower your risk of developing common eye conditions such as glaucoma by up to 25%, age-related cataracts by up to 10%, and wet age-related macular degeneration by up to 70%. Exercising and diabetes management are also closely linked, with regular exercise helping to reduce your chance of developing diabetic retinopathy by managing your weight and blood sugar levels.

What types of exercise should you do?

cycling

There’s no need to sign up for a marathon just yet (though if you want to, don’t let us hold you back). To get the benefits, you just need to be active at least 3 times a week.

An easy way to work exercise into your week is to make it part of your schedule. Can you cycle or walk to work a few times per week? Or get off the bus a few stops early and do part of your journey on foot?

You could make exercise part of your social calendar by running with friends or joining a local walking group. Many towns across the UK hold 5k, non-competitive park group runs every Saturday.

Whether it’s swimming, dancing, or exercise classes at your local gym, do something you enjoy, and you’re more likely to keep doing it.

Don’t forget regular eye examinations

Alongside exercise, regular eye examinations are an essential part of your eye health regime. They ensure early detection of issues such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration and optimise your chances of prolonging your eye health.

If you’ve noticed any changes in your vision recently, contact us for advice or to book an appointment.