Getting fit to save sight

Research suggests that those who engage in moderate to vigorous physical exercise lower their risk of developing glaucoma


A session on the treadmill or an afternoon bike ride may help to protect sight as well as boosting aerobic fitness.

University of California research presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting (11-14 November, New Orleans) found a 73% reduced risk of developing glaucoma in those with the highest level of physical activity when compared to those who exercised the least.

Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, researchers examined the number of steps taken per day by study participants as well as walking or running speed.

They found that for each 10-unit increase in the number of steps taken per minute, the risk of developing glaucoma dropped by 6%. Glaucoma risk also decreased by 25% for each 10-minute increase in moderate-to-vigorous activity per week.

Study author, Victoria Tseng, highlighted that some studies have demonstrated that blood pressure within the eye changes with physical exercise, which may affect glaucoma risk.

However, she emphasised that more research is required before clinicians can make specific recommendations on exercise and glaucoma.