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Glaucoma and retinal degeneration risk is reduced by physical fitness and aerobic exercise

One of the risk factors for glaucoma is something called low ocular profusion pressure (OPP).
Paul J Foster and his colleagues have completed a study of just under 6,000 men and women to look at the relationship between physical activity and OPP. Their results showed that physical exercise performed 15 years prior is associated with a 25% lower risk of low OPP. Cardiovascular fitness can help protect your optic nerve and your retina.
There is certainly an association between a sedentary lifestyle and factors which increase glaucoma risk. They conclude that a new way of reducing glaucoma risk can be through maintaining an active lifestyle over many years. In this way, people can participate in altering their risk of glaucoma and many other serious health problems.
However, a word of caution, yoga and certain yoga positions, such as standing on one’s head or positions where the head is upside down, in downward dog, for example, can increase eye discomfort in patients who have glaucoma.
Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness which can impact on a person’s quality of life. The increase in fluid pressure in the eye can lead to optic nerve damage, so minimising fluid pressure can also work to reduce the risk of blindness.
Similarly, other studies have shown that moderate aerobic exercise slows the progression of retinal degenerative diseases.
So as you reach for the crisps and the glass of wine, spare a thought to whether you have done your daily cardiovascular exercise and your overall health.

Our Glaucoma specialist is Laura Crawley

Ms Laura Crawley is a Consultant Ophthalmologist at Clinica London. Her special expertise is in treating glaucoma patients as well as patients with glaucoma and cataracts. She has a lot of experience in treating glaucoma, and has published extensively in scientific journals and on medical education. She still does a lot of emergency operations at the emergency department at the Charing Cross and Western Eye Hospitals for the NHS. At Clinica London, she is responsible for glaucoma patients and glaucoma patients with cataracts. She also sees patients with general eye problems.

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