Exercise and Eye Health
Have you ever asked yourself if physical activity can improve your eyesight?
We know that exercise is good for your body and mental health. With exercises, you can achieve your weight loss goals, tone muscles, ease the symptoms of lifestyle diseases, relieve stress, help cope with anxiety, and even sleep better. Some people have associated exercise with better eye health since it can’t be bad.
However, they don’t talk about how physical exertion is good for the eyes. Luckily, recent studies confirm that exercise can make your eyes healthier and even prevent some eye diseases.
Below, you will find helpful information on which exercises can improve your overall eye health. Additionally, you will find which eye diseases you can prevent with regular exercise. But first,
What Happens To The Eyes Without Exercise?
Studies have shown that a lack of exercise increases the chances of vision loss and vision-related problems. This is because people with a sedentary lifestyle age quicker than those with an active lifestyle.
As we age, cells and tissues deteriorate. Additionally, organs do not function as well as they used to. Ageing people are more likely to develop vision-related issues. This happens faster in people who do not exercise than those who do.
Some of the age-related vision problems include:
- Macular degeneration. This condition causes vision loss in the center of the field of vision. Blurry vision is the key symptom as the retina deteriorates. A variation of the disease also sees leaky blood vessels growing under the retina, causing vision loss.
- Presbyopia. This is the loss of the ability to see close objects and fine print. It often occurs after the age of 35-40. Patients also experience fatigue and headaches because of strain on the eyes.
- Dry eyes. Also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, this condition occurs when the tear glands do not produce enough tears. Dry eyes cause itching, burning, and sometimes vision loss.
- Cataracts. These are cloudy areas that cover part or the eye’s entire lens. They often develop painlessly. Cataracts block the lens, reducing the amount of light that passes through. This makes it hard to see objects clearly and colors vividly.
- Glaucoma. This disease affects the optic nerve. Optic nerve damage can occur due to too much pressure in the eye. The normal flow of watery fluid between the cornea and lens becomes blocked, increasing pressure in the eye, and often results in vision loss.
Since regular exercise slows down the effects of ageing, you could improve your chances of avoiding these vision problems by adopting exercise. Keep reading to find out which exercises are best for optimum eye health.
How Does Exercise Benefit The Eyes?
A recent study has proved that regular exercise can help reduce the chances of macular degeneration—the findings of the study report that exercise can also prevent glaucoma.
The study concluded that cardiovascular exercises such as aerobics would reduce intraocular pressure. Intraocular pressure is the fluid pressure of the eye. Exercise helps keep the retinal ganglion cells protected by reducing this pressure.
This and other studies show that cardio exercise dramatically increases blood flow to the retina and optic nerve. This is especially useful in people prone to glaucoma since the disease affects the optic nerve.
Some eye problems can also arise from high cholesterol levels. But with a good diet and regular exercise, you can prevent this from happening. Additionally, exercises help control the overgrowth of blood vessels in the eye.
It is important to note that a lack of exercise also increases the chances of developing diabetes. With regular exercise, you can lower this chance. This, in turn, lowers the likelihood of developing diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is caused by damage to the blood vessels in the tissues of the retina. The disease grows slowly and can eventually cause blindness.
People who exercise are also less likely to develop glaucoma and other eye-related problems. Studies also show that you can ease the symptoms with regular exercise if you already have certain eye diseases.
Exercise Tips For Great Eye Health
You may not always have time to go to the gym or set hours aside for exercise. But not to worry, you do not have to clock in hours at the gym to help you attain optimal eye health. You just need to participate in simple cardio exercises.
Experts recommend light to moderate exercises. Therefore, you can start with taking a walk for a few blocks, followed by light jogging. Yoga and tai chi are also great exercise styles to consider that can be done in groups.
You can also take up walking, cycling, dancing, and swimming. Some active gardening is also good cardio. When exercising, do not exert too much pressure on yourself. The goal is to break a sweat, not always build muscles.
If you have not come across eye exercises, you should know that people promoted them for the longest time as a way of improving eyesight and even preventing blindness. However, there is no scientific evidence that proves they can do this.
Whether you have glaucoma, cataracts, myopia, or hyperopia, you will not benefit from eye exercises. They do not cure nor improve these conditions. Instead, these exercises can help you with eye strain, generally improving comfort.
The most common exercise is the Focus Change. It challenges your focus, and you can do it sitting down. Hold your dominant index finger a few inches from your face, then focus on it. Move the finger further from the face a little at a time, maintaining your focus. Look away, then look back. Focus on the finger again, then slowly bring it back closer to your face. Repeat this three times.
Another common exercise is the Figure Eight exercise. You can do this exercise sitting down. Just focus on a spot on the floor about 10 feet in front of you. Then use your eyes to trace an imaginary figure eight. Keep tracing for 30 seconds then switch directions.
Remember that eye exercises will not help with health but can provide comfort for strain. You will still need cardio exercise to improve your eye health.