You’ve gotten the message about fitness: Aside from the wear and tear of vigorous sports, or contact sports, there’s almost no drawback to exercise that gets the heart pumping – with advice from your physician, of course.
Now, a new analysis of research is drawing a strong correlation between exercise and a lowered risk of age-related cataracts (ARC). According to a paper published in the International Journal of Ophthalmology, every hour of daily walking or cycling reduces cataract risk by 2 percent. In the combined studies of 171,620 individuals, researchers noted a 10 percent decrease in ARC associated with greater physical activity.
Those figures are significant – all the more reason to kick it up a notch in our daily fitness regimen.
How much exercise will reduce cataract risk?
By some estimates, 24 percent of adults get little or no meaningful physical activity, which makes them more vulnerable to cataracts and other age-related vision problems, not to mention heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and more.
Physical activity works to reduce oxidative stress that can cause cell damage in the eye, leading to cataracts. Over time, exercise also improves HDL – the “good” cholesterol – and raises insulin resistance, both of which may serve to carry more antioxidants to the lens, further inhibiting oxidative damage.
Researchers cited walking, running and biking as common activities among participants. They also happen to be the easiest, least expensive entry-level activities to do. For adults who don’t currently exercise, small, gradual increases in physical activity will improve overall health and reduce risk of a whole host of ills. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise several days a week and add fun activities where you can. It will do wonders for both physical and mental wellbeing.
What should I do if I suspect I have cataracts?
Annual eye exams are important in the detection and monitoring of age-related vision problems. Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss and blindness worldwide but can be easily treated, particularly if caught early. See your eye doctor right away if you begin to notice telltale symptoms of ARC:
- Hazy vision or cloudy spots in the field of vision
- “Night blindness,” or difficulty seeing at night
- Increasing sensitivity to light
- Glares and light halos, especially at night
With early detection and prevention, you can take greater control over your visual outcomes as you age.
The experienced team at Matossian Eye Associates is happy to address your age-related eye concerns. You can schedule an appointment with an eye doctor at your convenience by calling us at (800) 708-8800 or through our website at https://www.matossianeye.com/contact-us.