Regular physical exercise is a surefire way to keep you in good shape. But did you know that exercising can also keep your eyes in tip-top condition?
It can stave off vision loss, help relieve dry eyes, and even keep eye diseases like glaucoma and cataracts at bay. Most of these conditions result from high blood sugar, inflammation, and oxidative stress.
That’s when exercising comes to the rescue. It keeps your blood sugar in check, reduces inflammation, and tackles oxidative stress. This way, it prevents or slows vision-related problems.
Read on to learn more about the many benefits of physical exercise on eye health. But first, take a closer look at the link between exercise and eye health.
How Does Exercise Help Eyesight?
A 2018 study shows that physical activity reduces your risk of a number of vision problems, including dry eyes, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. But how and in what ways?
To begin with, exercising improves blood circulation throughout your body, including your eyes. This increase in blood flow helps deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the different structures of your eye, supporting their overall visual function.
Exercising also reduces inflammation. Inflammation triggers several eye issues including dry eye and age-related macular degeneration. By reducing inflammation, physical exercise helps protect your eyes from damage.
What’s more, exercising keeps blood pressure and sugar levels in check. If left unchecked, these can damage the blood vessels in your eyes and lead to diabetic retinopathy.
Over time, physical exercise can also reduce oxidative stress. This results in more antioxidants reaching your eyes to counterbalance the free radicals. This way, exercising decreases your risk of cataracts and improves your overall eye health.
So, how much should you exercise per week for better eye health? You can aim to exercise 3 to 4 times a week for about half an hour. Slowly, feel free to increase the duration of your exercise.
There are many ways you can make physical exercise a part of your daily life. Go on a walk, hit the gym, take a swim, hike, play football, or join a Zumba class.
6 Ways Physical Exercise Boosts Eyesight
Any form of physical exercise increases your blood flow, lowers intraocular pressure, and controls blood sugar levels. Because of these effects, exercising helps improve your eye health and vision.
From relieving dry eyes to preventing cataracts and slowing glaucoma, here are six ways exercising boosts your eyesight.
1. Relieves Dry Eyes
Are your eyes dry, itchy, and irritated? Chances are you’re experiencing dry eye syndrome. But don’t worry. Physical exercise for dry eyes can come to your rescue, a University of Waterloo study shows.
In the study, 52 individuals were divided into two groups: athletes and non-athletes. Individuals in the athlete group exercised 5 to 6 times a week. On the other hand, individuals in the non-athlete group exercised just once a week.
Individuals in the athlete group experienced a higher boost in tear quantity and tear film stability. The study concluded that exercise and dry eye are linked.
Additionally, going on a walk, riding a bicycle, or taking a swim can help reduce inflammation throughout your body, including your eyes. This improves the function of your oil-producing meibomian glands. Your tears stay in your eyes for longer and don’t evaporate as quickly.
2. Prevents and Slows Glaucoma
High intraocular pressure, that is pressure inside your eye, is mostly to blame. But a 2011 study shows that physical exercise helps prevent and slow the progression of glaucoma.
Researchers studied 20 young individuals to see the influence of physical exercise on intraocular pressure. They found that exercising improved blood flow and reduced intraocular pressure.
What’s more, physically active individuals were 25% less likely to develop glaucoma than those who remained inactive.
3. Decreases Risk of Cataracts
Cataract is the clouding of your eye’s natural lens. It’s an age-related condition that can lead to vision loss if left unchecked. The good news is that physical exercise can help decrease your risk of cataracts.
Several studies show the benefit of moderate to vigorous exercise on your eye health. In a large-scale study involving over 170,000 individuals, power walking and cycling were associated with a 10% lower risk of cataracts.
Researchers also observed that exercising increases antioxidant enzyme activity. In turn, this reduces oxidative stress, infections, and inflammation in the eye.
Another study pointed out that a sedentary lifestyle increased the risk of age-related cataracts. So, if you are desk-bound and don’t exercise, your eyes are at risk. Start slowly and gradually increase your physical activity.
4. Prevents AMD
Something as simple as going on a walk can reduce your risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The condition affects your central vision and can make it difficult to read, recognize faces, drive, and perform everyday tasks.
AMD is more common in people over 50 and is of two types: dry AMD and wet AMD. Dry AMD happens over several years while wet AMD can happen over a few weeks. So, how to get good eyesight in the case of AMD?
A 2006 study shows that a bit of heart-pounding exercise can protect your vision. The study followed 4,000 individuals between the ages of 43 and 86. After fifteen years, the data showed that individuals who exercised three or more times a week were less likely to develop AMD.
A more recent study from the University of Virginia found that physically active lab mice had a 45% reduced risk of AMD. Mostly because exercise helped protect against the overgrowth of blood vessels, a key contributor to AMD.
5. Reduces Risk of Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that affects your vision. In this, high blood sugar damages the blood vessels in your retina. It can lead to serious eye problems, including vision loss and even blindness.
Can exercise improve eye health in such a case? Exercising controls blood sugar levels, reduces inflammation and oxidative stress, and improves blood flow to the eyes. All these factors reduce the risk of diabetic retinopathy.
Research shows a direct link between physical exercise and diabetic retinopathy. The study enrolled over 9,000 working-aged diabetic patients.
Following a 10-year period, the study noted that higher physical exercise not only lowered the risk, but also reduced the progression of diabetic retinopathy in the patients.
6. Protects Overall Vision
Does exercise improve eyesight? Yes, exercising helps protect your overall vision and eyesight. It maintains healthy blood vessels in the eyes. This prevents damage to the retina and other eye structures.
Regular physical activity also boosts your immune system. So, you can steer clear of eye infections and other eye-related problems by simply working out a few times a week.
Since prolonged use of digital devices can strain your eyes, exercising can give your eyes a much-needed break. This can help reduce eye strain, fatigue, grittiness, blurriness, and other symptoms of dry eyes.
Exercise Your Way to a Healthy Vision
So, is exercise good for the eyes? A strong body of research shows that it is. You can improve eyesight by exercise, provided you do it regularly.
Regular exercise can keep your eyes in good shape. Exercising can lower eye pressure, reduce inflammation, and counterbalance oxidative stress.
These benefits of exercising have a direct impact on eye health. They prevent or slow conditions like AMD, cataracts, and glaucoma.
So, how do you improve eyesight and reap these vision benefits? Exercise at least 3 to 4 times a week. Go to the gym, walk briskly, swim, or play sports. Finding an activity you enjoy will keep you motivated.
In addition to leading an active lifestyle, an eye health supplement can also help. The Blueberry Gummies from Sightsage nourish your eyes with a powerful mix of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
They provide anthocyanins, lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, copper, manganese, potassium, and vitamins C, K, E, and B6. These nutrients help prevent oxidative damage to the retina caused by free radicals and support overall vision health in the digital age.
Sweetened with monk fruit, a calorie-free sweetener, Blueberry Gummies are suitable for people living with diabetes. And since they are easy to take with you everywhere you go, you can enjoy them at the gym, on the track, or while playing sports.Keep your eyes healthy and happy with the Blueberry Gummies.