Can eyesight get better through exercising?

Did you know that exercise can benefit your eyes? April is Move More Month,and we’re using this golden opportunity to give you some insights into how exercise can help to improve eye health, as well as tips on the best types of exercise to achieve this.

Exercise is, without doubt, of huge benefit to the human body, and research also shows that it can significantly improve mental well-being. It may come as a surprise that there are some simple exercises you can do from day to day to help maintain good eyesight.

Exercises for good vision

Exercises for good vision

Incorporating healthy food and regular exercise into your daily routine can improve your eye health in many ways. Exercise helps to reduce stress levels, which can reduce the likelihood of eye strain, for example.

Cardio and aerobic exercise play an important part in controlling blood pressure. High blood pressure is not just bad for the heart, but it can also cause complications in your eyes. Exercise can reduce (or maintain) blood pressure to a healthy level, helping protect the retinal ganglion cells at the back of your eyes. These important cells transmit messages to the brain and play a vital role in producing your vision.

What’s the connection between exercising and eye conditions?

Several conditions affect your eyes, and exercise can help protect against them. These include:

  1. Cataracts – this causes your eye’s natural lens to cloud over, leading to blurry, hazy or double vision and eventual blindness if left untreated. Spending 30 minutes a day doing exercise, such as jogging or walking, has been shown to reduce the risk of age-related cataracts, as this reduces oxidative stress. Too much oxidative damage increases the risk of developing cataracts.
  2. Age-related macular degeneration – (AMD), a condition that affects the central part of your vision, is one of the leading causes of blindness. Doing low-impact but moderate exercises such as yoga and pilates three times a week has been shown to reduce your chances of developing this by up to 70%.
  3. Glaucoma – this arises when the optic nerve gets damaged by increased eye pressure. It is a progressive disease that leads to eventual peripheral vision loss. Similar to AMD, low-impact exercise like yoga and brisk walking can also be particularly useful in helping to lower eye pressure and reduce the probability of the disease.
  4. Diabetic retinopathy – this occurs when uncontrolled high blood sugar levels damage the retina at the back of the eye. It doesn’t usually cause symptoms in the early stages and takes years to develop sometimes, so it’s important to be proactive with being healthy from the outset of your diabetes diagnosis.

In addition to the medication prescribed by your doctor, sticking to a regular exercise schedule, i.e. not being sedentary, has been linked to delayed onset and progression of diabetic retinopathy. Try getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every week, like swimming, cycling, or walking 10,000 steps daily. This will help lower your blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol, which will help prevent diabetic retinopathy.

Building exercise into your life

Building exercise

There are a lot of deskbound jobs, and commutes are often done in cars or other forms of transportation. Walking (even just part of the way) or cycling is a simple way to boost your daily exercise.

You don’t need to be training for a triathlon or lifting heavy weights at the gym – the key is frequency and getting your heart rate up. Try to pick an activity that you enjoy and can continue with long term. Pairing up with a friend can also help you with accountability when your motivation is lacking.

Get eyecare advice from our optometrist in Quincy, IL

If you need more advice or have any questions about how to look after your eyes, our friendly and professional team at Kvitle Eyecare Associates – your trusted optometrist in Quincy, IL, is happy to help. Get in touch, book an eye exam online, or visit us in person and let’s get started on transforming your eyecare!