Over the last decade, several studies have found a link between regular exercise and reducing the risk of eye diseases like cataracts, glaucoma and wet age-related macular degeneration. While exercise may not directly affect your eyesight, it may affect other health issues like diabetes which can damage the blood vessels of the retina and lead to diabetic retinopathy. High blood pressure can also lead to eye disease, and regular exercise can help prevent hypertension.
Studies show that as the U.S. population ages, the number of people who are visually impaired or blind will double by 2050. While comprehensive eye exams can prevent eye disease, visual impairment is increasing worldwide. Consider how exercise can help these common eye conditions:
- Running or walking can help decrease the risk of age-related cataracts
- Exercising three or more times per week will make you less likely to develop wet age-related macular degeneration
- Moderate intensity, low-impact exercise helped significantly reduce eye pressure in young adults with glaucoma
There are two important choices that you can make to protect your vision:
- Make time in your schedule for regular exercise. Many people claim that they do not have time to exercise, but it should be the most important part of your entire day. Find the best time for your schedule, and commit to working out 3 to 5 times per week.
- Schedule comprehensive eye exams at regular intervals. Your doctor will let you know how often you should schedule a comprehensive eye exam. For most people, a checkup every year or two should be sufficient. However, for people who have an eye disease or a family history of eye disease, they will need to schedule their eye exams at closer intervals (Source: Cleveland Clinic).