If a person has fairly good eyesight and exercises regularly, extreme eye health problems such as glaucoma most likely are not on their minds. On top of that, exercise routines can have a very positive effect on a person’s overall eye health. However, research shows that how athletes exercise and for how long can affect their future eye health. So before you go run or lift free weights, understand the effects of exercise on future eye health and health conditions that can occur.
What Risks Does Exercising Pose on Your Eye Health?
Cardio activities such as swimming, running and biking can help reduce any tension or stress that you may be experiencing mentally and physically. Any pressure the body experiences during exercise can be reduced or increased in the eye area. Cardio activity reduces any pressure in the body and the eyes because you are constantly breathing which allows for more lung capacity and better blood circulation. Despite the benefits of exercise, high levels of pressure during exercise occur when the breath is held in for a series of weight lifting repetitions for example. If a person does numerous repetitions for a certain length of time while completing the exercise while holding their breath, this can affect eye vision as well.
Only a couple of research projects have been done so far, but doctors have been able to make some conclusions thus far on how pressure can affect vision. After comparing breathing when lifting weights compared to not breathing, researchers in a study were able to conclude that the rate of eye pressure doubled when they did not breathe. If a person were to continue this practice of not breathing during weight lifting repetitions, glaucoma or other vision impairments may progress in the future.
Cardio exercise and regular workout can significantly decrease the chance of macular degeneration according to recent studies.
What Health Conditions Can Cause Exercising to Decrease Your Eye Sight?
Those who already have health conditions should take further caution when they exercise not to overdo it by too much. This includes patients who have diabetes and high blood pressure.
If a person already has diabetes, then they are already at risk for eye disease. Diabetes can damage the blood vessels in the retina and is referred to as diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes and diabetic retinopathy can lead to other eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, and more. If the diabetic retinopathy is mild then a person may carry out their exercise routine as normal, but they should be aware if it is a moderate to severe case. Those with severe diabetic retinopathy should be aware if the activities they take part create a quick change in blood pressure. Activities that can quickly affect the change in pressure include baseball, martial arts, sprints, racing, and heavy weight lifting. Activities that include placing the head below the heart level such as yoga can also have a negative effect on a person’s health if they have diabetes.
For those who suffer from high blood pressure (HBP), there is a chance that it can lead to hypertension or vision loss. HBP places a strain on the blood vessels causing potential swelling of the optic nerves and therefore the inability to see well. If left untreated, HBP can cause permanent vision problems as well as a stroke that can damage how the brain is able to process images. With proper exercise, HBP can be reduced and can help reduce the chances of vision loss.
Some precaution should take place though. Avoid steep hills and pay close attention to your heart rate. If your heart rate is high, be sure to rest and catch your breath and stop the exercise. Avoid heavy lifting such as lifting objects, shoveling, or tasks that involve lifting your arms for an extended period of time. Always ask your doctor about your exercise regime and if any changes should be made to it.
No matter if you are in good health or live with a health condition, be sure to be aware of your health and how you feel during and after exercising. By visiting an eye doctor, they are able to tell from inspecting your eyes and vision what kind of health you are currently in.
Claire Wilson is a freelance writer who is interested in learning about how to live a healthy lifestyle and refers to Lenses Online to learn about the best purchase options to improve eye sight.