Can Exercise Improve Eyesight?

In our quest for overall wellness, we often focus on the benefits of exercise for our heart, muscles, and mental health. But what about our eyes? Surprisingly, many people don’t know that regular physical activity also plays a significant role in maintaining good eye health.

We believe in a holistic approach to eyecare, which includes promoting healthy lifestyle habits like exercise. So, let’s go ahead and answer the all-important question – can exercise improve eyesight? While it may not improve it, it certainly can help protect and maintain it! Read on to find out how.

Physical exercise and eye health

Tips For Eye Health

Is there really a link between glaucoma and exercise? Yes! Several common eye diseases, such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and cataracts, can be influenced by lifestyle factors, including exercise. In fact, regular physical activity has been shown to lower the risk of developing these conditions and help alleviate stress and muscle tension linked to eye strain.

Glaucoma – Studies suggest that regular physical exercise can significantly lower intraocular pressure, a key factor in the development and progression of glaucoma.

Diabetic retinopathy – Moderate to vigorous physical activity can help manage diabetes more effectively. It helps lower blood sugar levels, improve blood circulation, and reduce inflammation – all crucial for minimizing the risk of diabetic retinopathy.

Age-related macular degeneration – While aging is a major risk factor, lifestyle choices, including exercise, play a significant role in managing this condition. Regular physical activity is associated with a lowered risk of AMD because it can help reduce inflammation, maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and improve overall blood flow to the eyes.

Cataracts – Aging is the primary risk factor associated with cataracts. However, studies have shown that people who engage in physical exercise have a lower incidence of cataracts compared to those who lead a more sedentary lifestyle.

Exercise tips for eye health

To reap the eye health benefits of exercise, we recommend aiming for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week; this equals 30 minutes of exercise across 5 days. Try activities like swimming, walking, yoga, or hitting the gym for strength training and cardio. The key is to find an activity you enjoy, as this will increase your motivation to stick with it in the long term. If you’re short on time, incorporating exercise into your daily routine can be as simple as walking or cycling to work, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or scheduling regular workout sessions into your calendar.

Risk factors to consider

Eye Risk

While exercise is generally beneficial for eye health, it’s essential to consider the potential risks. Swimming while wearing contact lenses can increase the risk of eye infections or irritation due to exposure to waterborne pathogens. Additionally, participating in sports like basketball, hockey, football, or soccer without proper eye protection can lead to serious eye injuries. To safeguard your eyes during physical activity, we suggest investing in sports eyewear or goggles.

Get in touch

Are you ready to prioritize your eye health? Visit our eye doctors in Illinois, located in Oak Lawn and Orland Park, or contact us for personalized advice and comprehensive eyecare services. Whether you need a routine eye exam or guidance on incorporating exercise into your lifestyle, our team is here to help!