Research highlights benefits of exercise in preventing dry eye

Scientists observed an improvement in tear quantity and tear film stability among study participants who exercised on a treadmill

running in gym

A new study has highlighted the potential of exercise in improving tear break-up time (TBUT) and tear secretion.

The research, which was published in Experimental Eye Research, involved a group of 52 young university students between the ages of 18 and 25.

The participants were divided into a group of ‘athletes’ (who exercised at least five times per week) and ‘non-athletes’ (who exercised no more than once per week).

Measurements were taken to assess tear secretion, tear film stability, visual acuity and stereoacuity before and after completing an exercise session on a treadmill.

Both groups experienced improvements in TBUT, tear secretion, and visual acuity following exercise.

However, athletes displayed more marked improvements across the measures compared to non-athletes.

Study author, Heinz Otchere, from the University of Waterloo, shared that dry eye symptoms are becoming increasingly common with people spending more time on tasks that involve screens.

"Instead of having to use eye drops or other alternative treatments, our study aimed to determine if remaining physically active can be an effective preventative measure against dryness," he said.

He added that it can be challenging for people to find time for physical exercise.

"However, our findings show physical activity can be really important for not just our overall well-being, but for our ocular health too," Otchere emphasised.