The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity exercises. Being physically active can benefit your heart, waistline, mood, and energy level. What you may not realize, however, is that exercise can also do your eyes a world of good. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce the risk for developing potentially sight-robbing eye diseases.
A Growing Problem
A recent study published in the JAMA Ophthalmology suggests that combining exercise with proper nutrition and yearly eye exams can decrease an individuals’ risk for visual impairment (VI) and/or blindness. Researchers expect that without preventative measures, the prevalence of VI and blindness in the U.S. will double by the year 2050. Vision impairment and blindness can have a negative effect on quality of life.
Annual Eye Exams: One of the first and, most important, things you can do is to schedule eye exams annually. Eye exams evaluate the complete health of your eyes and are one of the most effective ways to check for early signs of serious eye ailments such as age related macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. A professional ophthalmologist may be able to detect serious health problems as well.
Exercise Regularly: Exercise has been shown to help prevent or, alternatively, manage certain eye diseases like age related macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, moderate-intensity exercises has been shown to lower intraocular pressure (IOP), and improve blood flow to the retina and optic nerve.
Essential Vitamins: Vitamins A, C, E, along with high levels of zinc, lutein, and zeaxanthin are essential to eyesight. These vitamins can protect the eye’s macula, lens, and cornea. Good food sources include dark leafy vegetables, egg yolks, pumpkin, citrus fruits, and nuts/seeds. They are also available as supplements and, as such, can be found at your local health food store or pharmacy.
What Are Some Good Exercises to Try?
Exercising regularly will help you maintain optimal vision. Here are some good exercises to include in a weekly fitness regimen, which can all be tailored to your activity level.
Yoga involves both movement and controlled breathing. Its benefits include easing chronic low-back pain, reducing stress, and improving strength and flexibility. There are a variety of yoga programs that you may enjoy, including Yin Yoga, Gentle/Restorative Yoga, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, and Bikram (or hot yoga).
Cardio can help reduce intraocular pressure (IOP) and can include walking, dancing, swimming or biking – really anything that makes you move. The simplest and most rewarding change you can make to improve eye health is to start walking in nature. Nature provides essential vitamin D and can help improve sleep.
State-of-the-Art Eye Care
Whether you need to schedule an annual eye exam or require surgical vision correction to treat cataracts, you can always expect to receive compassionate and comprehensive care at Eye Physicians of North Houston. Contact us today at (281) 893-1760 for more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors. You can also learn more about the services we offer by visiting us at www.1960eye.com.