Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Set Your Sights on Exercise for Good Vision

Who knew? On the surface, it seems a bit bizarre that huffing and puffing, lifting weights or running around might have anything to do with your eyes (other than perhaps looking at cute people at the gym or puppies outside). But if you stop to think about it, if something is good for your entire body, inside and out, from your bones to your brain, it's going to be good for your eyes, too. That's exactly what a new study has found.

One of the most common ailments to eye health is glaucoma, which causes damage to the optic nerve and eventually progresses to blindness. The main cause of this condition is high blood pressure in the eyes (Intraocular pressure or IOP) which is associated with low ocular perfusion pressure (OPP) and tied to overall systemic blood pressure. Any condition that might cause someone's blood pressure to rise for too long could potentially lead to this condition.

Far too frequently, glaucoma is seen in people with diabetes. A major risk factor for type 2 diabetes is overweight which is also linked to higher blood pressure levels. Starting to see where exercise and overall fitness might play a role here?

The researchers found that physical fitness was associated with more favourable OPP levels. They don't quite know the cause or the connection as of yet, but they say there's definitely an association between a sedentary lifestyle and glaucoma. Since glaucoma could be a co-morbidity associated with other chronic diseases where high blood pressure is also a player, staying physically fit is one way that this debilitating condition (and perhaps others) may potentially be averted.

And hey, if you want to exercise your eyes a little by looking at some eye candy while you're working out, feel free! Who are we to judge?