Another Reason to Love Exercise: It's Good for Your Eyes

There’s very little, healthwise, that doesn’t benefit from a consistent exercise regimen. From your heart to your joints, exercise keeps your body humming along in the pink of health. And we’re adding your eye health to the long list of areas that benefit from an active lifestyle.

At Hawaii Vision Specialists, our goal is to provide our patients in Hilo, Hawaii, with the tools they need to safeguard the health of their eyes, and their vision, long into the future. While we can supply you with the necessary medical expertise and vigilant monitoring, you can do your part through a great preventive program at home, which includes exercise.

Here’s a look at how exercise can help you see more clearly.

A growing problem

There are two trends that are placing the collective eye health of the United States in peril: aging and obesity. As the very large baby boom generation enters the golden years, vision problems that come with aging are going to be more prevalent. Research suggests that the number of people who are visually impaired, or who have total vision loss, will double by 2050. While there’s nothing you can do about getting older, keeping your body in top shape as the years go by can make all the difference.

As to the obesity epidemic — with two out of three people considered overweight and a full third tipping the scales into obesity — this weight problem is directly responsible for cardiovascular issues and the growing numbers of people with diabetes. These two conditions can have a considerable impact on your eye health.

Enter exercise

With cardiovascular disease and diabetes, you shouldn’t take the effects on your vision lightly. In diabetics, retinopathy is a clear and present danger because the disease can damage the blood vessels in your retina, often leading to irreversible vision loss if left untreated. High blood pressure, or hypertension, can also lead to eye disease as the blood vessels in your eyes succumb to its effects.

Now, what these two conditions share in common is that exercise is one of the best ways to prevent or control them. Not only does exercise keep your weight down, but it also keeps your cardiovascular system functioning properly, avoiding the plaque buildup that leads to poor circulation and compromised blood vessels. Your eyes contain plenty of blood vessels that rely on good circulation to deliver critical oxygen and nourishment.

Prevention is key

Over the past decade, several studies have been conducted on the effect exercise can have on your eye health. Not unsurprisingly, researchers found that people who exercise reduce their risks of developing cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration — the three main eye diseases that cause vision loss.

The second important piece to this prevention puzzle is getting a regular eye exam. We can monitor your eye health and catch any developing problems before they take hold.

Get up and go

When we say exercise, we’re not suggesting you run a marathon by year’s end. A simple one-hour walk three to five times a week can do the trick. Or you might dust off that tennis racket and get out for a game each week.

We’re extremely fortunate here in Hilo to have beautiful weather year-round, which means we have more opportunities than most to get up off the couch and get a little exercise. And because we’re surrounded by water, it’s worth mentioning that swimming is one of the best exercises there is, as it works your entire body.

If you’d like to get a baseline exam to evaluate your eye health, or if you haven’t had an eye exam in a while, give us a call to set up an appointment.

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