According to the most recent meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), new research indicates that exercise or other physical activity can reduce a person’s risk of contracting various optical conditions, like glaucoma. The study performed by the University of California reported as much as a 73 percent decline in the risk of developing glaucoma for participants who were physically active compared to those with a more stationary lifestyle. Glaucoma is a very common and incurable disease that can cause blindness and other degeneration of the eyes in patients typically over the age of 40. Various treatments and procedures can effectively slow down the progress of the illness, and even reduce pain and discomfort while restoring partial vision, but the best course of action is prevention. It has always been a mystery as to exact cause of glaucoma, though many people believe that lifestyle choices can impact your chances of getting glaucoma. It wasn’t until several recent studies that evidence to correlate lifestyle factors to eye pressure, a contributing factor to catching the disease, became available.
By looking at all the data collected from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey that was conducted, which effectively tracked the health and nutrition status of a large sum of adults in the United States from the 1960s to today, they were able to determine that moderate to vigorous activity did in fact play a major role in the likelihood of contracting the disease. Taking 7,000 steps a day, 7 days a week, is considered equivalent to 30 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity at least 5 days a week. Following this simple example and reaching that recommended goal every day, you can improve your health and reduce the risk of serious health conditions, like glaucoma. In fact, for every 10-unit increase to speed and number of steps taken can reduce your risk of contracting glaucoma by as much as six whole percent. For every extra ten minutes you tack onto that reduces your risk an additional 25%. Victoria L. Tseng, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of California, Los Angeles goes as far as to say it’s not so much about what activity you choose to reduce your risks and improve your health, but rather the speed at which you’re performing and the number of steps or reps you’re getting in.
You may not need to form a new habit of counting steps, or break into a competition worthy fast-walk to live glaucoma-free, but it’s safe to say that exercise of any kind can help you live a better, healthier life, and keep your eyes in peak condition for years to come. If you’re looking for anything from an eye exam to a surgical procedure anywhere in Northern Michigan, schedule an appointment with Alpine Eye Care by calling us directly at 1.877.733.2020 today to learn more about our practice, read patient testimonials, and receive excellent care.