With review and feedback from CEENTA ophthalmologist Andrew Antoszyk, MD (SouthPark, Statesville)
Exercise has many benefits, from helping you lose weight to improving your cardiovascular health to helping with your mood. Now, studies show that exercise may help with your eye health, too.
What eye disease can exercise help with?
Exercise may help prevent age-related macular degeneration, as well as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the United States in individuals older than 50, but can affect people in their 40s.
Glaucoma is an eye disorder that results in progressive damage to the optic nerve. This nerve takes visual information gathered by the retina and transmits it to the brain. Glaucoma is frequently associated with increased pressure in the eye. Increased intraocular pressure is painless and can result in damage to the optic nerve. This can lead to vision loss and is irreversible.
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy occurs when there is damage to the small blood vessels in the retina, resulting in poor circulation to the retina. Vision may be lost because some of the retina tissue may die as a result of this inadequate blood supply. Retina tissue cannot grow back once it is lost.
How does exercise help with eye health?
“We do not know exactly how exercise protects the eye, but these recent studies suggest that it improves blood flow and lowers intraocular pressure,” CEENTA retina specialist Andrew Antoszyk, MD, said. “Improved blood flow helps to decrease the development of abnormal blood vessels that are present in wet age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.”
One study found that people who exercise moderately were 25 percent less likely than inactive people to develop glaucoma, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Not only could exercise help prevent these eye conditions, but it can help patients with those diseases to better manage them. For example, regular exercise can lower intraocular pressure and improve blood flow to the retina and optic nerve in glaucoma patients. It can also help diabetic patients control that disease while also reducing complications.
How often should I exercise?
Doctors recommend about 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, five days a week.
Can you care for my eyes?
CEENTA has nearly 50 eye doctors in North and South Carolina, and many are fellowship-trained to treat complex eye conditions like AMD, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. Whether you already exercise regularly or you’re just starting a new routine, CEENTA’s eye doctors will help you see clearly as possible.
This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. Would you like an appointment at CEENTA? Call 704-295-3000. You can also schedule an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.