Exercise Reduces the Risk of Age-Related Blindness Macular Degeneration: The Fitness Link

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Dr. Jared Cooper of Cooper Eye Care indicates that studies from the University of Wisconsin have revealed that regular exercise can reduce the occurrence of developing Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in Americans 60 and over. Those who were physically active lowered their risk of developing AMD by as much as 70 percent compared to those who did very little exercise. They also found that those who walked regularly lowered their AMD risks by 30 percent.

If we needed yet another reason to get up and start moving, here it is: a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin has revealed that regular exercise can reduce the occurrence of developing Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). The researchers looked at other factors, such as age, weight and blood fat levels, determining that the participants who were physically active lowered their risk of developing AMD by as much as 70 percent compared to those who did very little exercise. They also found that those who walked regularly lowered their AMD risks by 30 percent.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) is a progressive sight-limiting condition affecting the macula, the small central area of the inner eye responsible our sharpest vision. According the National Institute of Health, Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in Americans 60 and over.

Details of the Study The research project began in 1988, and approximately 4,000 men and women between the ages of 43 and 86 participated for more than 15 years. Researchers evaluated their exercise levels and performed eye tests at five year intervals. Published by the British Journal of Ophthalmology, the research study concentrated on the exercise habits and eye health of each participant. Once underway, researchers discovered that one out of four people led an active lifestyle, with one of out of four using a total of six flights of stairs daily.

The Benefits of Exercise on Eye Health • Exercise is good for every cell in the human body, however, research studies have shown that exercise: • Reduces macular degeneration risks caused by heart disease by lowering triglycerides and increasing HDL. • Prevents 50 percent of Type 2 Diabetes cases by warding off vision loss from diabetic retinopathy.

Recommendations The National Health Service of the U.K. recommends people exercise at least 30 minutes daily, unless they lead a sedentary lifestyle; in those cases, they should exercise even more. The U.S. Department of Agriculture advises people to participate in at least 90 minutes a day of exercise. Barbara McLaughlan, who is an eye health consultant from the U.K. Royal National Institute of the Blind, said that research seems to verify that leading healthy lifestyles can do the eyes some good. She also mentions that people should still continue to have annual eye tests, considering that AMD has a strong genetic connection and early detection is crucial. The bottom line: We all need to get regular, daily exercise, avoid sedentary habits and find activities we enjoy doing, so we can stick to our exercise routines for the long run.

Dr. Jared Cooper is an internationally recognized expert in low vision care and a fellow of the IALVS. More information for the treatment of advanced vision loss can be found at http://www.drjaredcooper.com or call 1-800-451-2015. Join us on Facebook.

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