Researchers from the University of Wisconsin have found out that regular exercise can decrease the risk of an eye disease called age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
AMD is a condition where cells that are light sensitive located behind the eye cease to work. This is one of the most severe causes of blindness of people from the developing world who are over 50 years old. It affects central vision, which is important for driving.
Participants of the study were composed of about 4,000 women and men who were followed for more than 15 years, conducting eyes tests and recording their levels of exercise. They were aged 43 to 86 and were assessed every five years starting in 1988.
The study, published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, was focused on each of their exercise habits along with their eye health. After it commenced, the researchers figured out that 1 in 4 led an active lifestyle and almost 1 in 4 climb on 6 stair flights everyday.
Considering other factors like age, weight, and blood fat levels, those participants who were active lowered their chances in developing AMD by up to 70% when compared to those who barely had any exercise. Those who regularly walk were found to have lowered their chances to 30%. However, the researchers did not mention the factors of the participantsâ€™ diet.
Barbara McLaughlan, an eye health consultant from the Royal National Institute of the Blind, commented that the research seemed to verify that leading healthy lifestyles can do the eyes some good. She added that people should still not fail to have annual eye tests, considering that AMD has a big genetic connection and its early detection is important.
How Much Exercise?
The National Health Service recommends exercising for 30 minutes every day. This should be enough if you have an active job or walk during the say but would probably require you to do more if you have a sedentary lifestyle. The US Department of Agriculture lately has recommended 90 minutes every day.
It may help if you wear a pedometer, just to know how much you are walking. You can also try other forms of exercise such as cycling, golf, gardening, swimming, and other sports activities. Cleaning your house can even be of great help.
Effects of Exercise to Eye Health
It is a little too hard to tell how exercise exactly affects eye health but here are some figures to give you a clue:
- Exercise can lower eye pressure to 1 mmHg, which can lead to a 10% reduction in visual field loss. This should reduce glaucoma production by 10%.
- Exercise can help prevent half of the cases of type 2 diabetes, preventing vision loss from diabetic retinopathy.
- Exercise improves the health of the cardiovascular system by lowering triglycerides and increasing HDL levels. Macular degeneration has been known to be caused by some factors of heart disease.
- Exercise can make us less likely to perform risk taking activities which can damage our health as well as that of others.