Exercise may reduce cataract risk

Study of more than 52,000 people finds that regular exercise may be associated with decreased risk of age-related cataracts

25 Mar 2015

Regular exercise may help to stave off the development of age-related cataracts, according to a new study.

Researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm focused on the effect of exercise on the risk of developing cataracts, looking at more than 52,000 Swedish men and women between the ages of 45 and 83.

Over an average of 12 years, researchers found that the most active participants in the study had a 13% reduction in risk when compared to the least active.

The findings add to the existing body of evidence around the effect of regular exercise on eye health, specifically a reduction in the risk of developing age-related eye conditions.

In 2009, a study of more than 30,000 regular runners in the US showed that intense activity helped to reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

The Swedish study also highlights that inactivity, including long periods of sitting at work, may be associated with increased risk.

The authors identify that in the long term, higher levels of activity may be beneficial. They write: “Specific types of physical activity [such] as walking or bicycling and work or occupational activity, may be associated with decreased risk of age-related cataract.”

The study is published in Ophthalmology.

Image credit: ProfDEH


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