Exercise & Eye Health
It seems like exercise can do almost anything, from helping to focus your mind, to weight loss, and even reducing your chances of getting certain cancers. But has anyone told you that exercise can protect your vision? In the past decade, health studies have indicated that there is no shortage in what exercise can do to help reduce or prevent certain eye diseases.
Here is a brief overview of how exercise can protect your vision and what eye diseases exercise can protect you from.
Cataracts is the clouding of the normally clear eye lens. Symptoms can include cloudy and blurry vision, double visions, seeing faded or yellowing color, and sensitivity to light. Factors that increase your chances of developing cataracts include obesity, aging, high blood pressure, and abnormal exposure to sunlight. By lowering your blood pressure and controlling type two diabetes, exercise is one of the best ways to protect your vision from cataracts or decrease the severity of effects.
Glaucoma is an eye condition that damages the optic nerve. This condition is caused by abnormal high pressure in the eye and is one of the leading causes of blindness for people over 60 years. Symptoms differ depending on the type of glaucoma you have, but common symptoms include blind spots, tunnel vision, eye redness, blurred vision, and eye pain. Unlike cataracts, vision lost from glaucoma cannot be recovered. Due to the severity of this disease, it is important to take as many steps as possible to reduce your chances of being affected. Easy exercise routines like walking three to four times a week can lower your intraocular pressure (IOP) and improve blood flow to the optic nerve.
Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Wet age-related AMD is caused by abnormal blood vessels in the eye that leak blood or fluid into the macular (retina’s central portion). It starts off as Dry AMD, which is more common and less severe. Symptoms include reduced central vision, general haziness, blurry or blind spots, and in severe cases vision hallucinations, also known as Charles Bonnet syndrome. Currently, Wet AMD is incurable, which means prevention is the best line of defense from this disease. Exercise can protect your vision from this disease by lowering blood pressure, which may prevent or help slow the progression of AMD. Exercise also protects your vision by increasing blood flow and circulation to the eye tissues which help flush toxins away.
How You can Protect Your Vision
- Make exercise and regular diet a priority. Vision problems and eye disease often come from having high blood pressure and high cholesterol. A healthy diet and consistent exercise are two of the most important steps you can take to lower both.
- Set up recurring eye exam appointment to see your eye doctor. Notify your doctor immediately if you notice any changes in your vision. Detecting the early stages of eye diseases increases your chances of a successful treatment or reduces the progression of the disease.
To learn more about protecting your vision and treatments for eye diseases, speak with one of our MEI eye doctor specialists. We have several convenient Michigan locations, including Flint, Lapeer, Grand Blanc, Oxford, Lake Orion, and Fenton.
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