-- Robert Preidt
SUNDAY, Oct. 30 (HealthDay News) -- A physically active
lifestyle may help protect your eyes from glaucoma, according to a
Glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness, typically develops when
fluid pressure inside the eye rises and damages the optic
In this study, researchers looked at the association between
physical activity and eye pressure in 5,650 men and women aged 48
to 90 in Britain. The participants were evaluated between 1993 and
1997 and again between 2006 and 2010. Based on information they
provided about their work and leisure time physical activity, they
were categorized as inactive, moderately inactive, moderately
active or active. Their eye pressure was tracked over the
The study found that moderate physical exercise performed about
15 years previously was associated with a 25 percent reduced risk
of low ocular perfusion pressure (OPP), an important risk factor
The study appears in the October issue of the journal
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science.
"It appears that OPP is largely determined by cardiovascular fitness," author Dr. Paul Foster, of the University College London Institute of Ophthalmology, said in a journal news release. "We cannot comment on the cause, but there is certainly an association between a sedentary lifestyle and factors which increase glaucoma risk."
A large number of previous studies have examined the effect of
physical activity on the two components of OPP -- intraocular
pressure [IOP] and on blood pressure -- but this is the first study
to look at the association between physical activity and OPP,
according to the researchers.
"Before now, the only modifiable risk factor for glaucoma was IOP, altered by medication, laser or surgery," Foster said. "We believe our study points toward a new way of reducing glaucoma risk, through maintaining an active lifestyle. This is a way that people can participate in altering their risk of glaucoma and many other serious health problems."
The authors acknowledged that more research is needed before
anyone can rely on exercise to prevent or treat glaucoma.
The U.S. National Eye Institute has more about
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