Exercise & Age-related Eye Diseases

age-related eye diseases

Regular exercise could reduce the risk of age-related eye diseases, according to researchers from the University of Wisconsin. The result was based on almost 4,000 men and women over 15 years, by carrying out eye tests and recording levels of exercise.

They found those with an active lifestyle were 70 per cent less likely to develop macular degeneration (AMD) than those with a sedentary lifestyle. AMD is an age-related condition which causes light sensitive cells at the back of the eye to stop working.

AMD is the leading cause of severe vision loss in the over-50s in the developed world and affects central vision which is needed for driving.

The study, published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, began in 1988. It assessed people aged between 43 and 86 every five years. The study focused on their exercise habits and eye health.

The researchers found one in four had an active lifestyle and nearly one in four climbed more than six flights of stairs a day.

After taking into account other risk factors such as weight, blood fat levels and age, active participants were 70 per cent less likely to develop AMD than those who did little exercise.

It also showed tht regular walkers were 30 per cent less likely to get the disease.

The report did warn, however, that diet may also explain the findings. Eye health consultant Barbara McLaughlan of the Royal National Institute of the Blind said the research appeared to confirm that the benefits of,a healthy lifestyle extended to the eyes.

Generally, all of us should still have regular eye tests, as there is a strong genetic element to AMD making early detection as important as prevention.



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