Exercise and Eye Health - What you Need to Know

Exercise and Eye Health

Eyesight is one of your most vital senses. However, it can be easy to ignore your eye health, especially since eye problems aren't always that noticeable.

It's especially important to take care of your eye health as you get older. Problems such as presbyopia (losing the focus ability for near vision), glaucoma, cataracts, or macular degeneration are more likely to occur once you head past the age of 40.

Regular eye exams, a good diet, and exercise are three key pillars in looking after your eye health. Let's look at how exercise supports your eye health in a little more detail.

Did you know exercise can help your eye health?

Over the years, several studies have shown that exercise can help reduce the risk of developing eye conditions like macular degeneration. Research has also found exercise can help prevent eye damage.

Here are a few facts about exercise and eye health. Studies have shown that:

  • Meeting physical activity guidelines could reduce the risk of developing glaucoma by 40% or more
  • Exercising three or more times per week can reduce the risk of age-related wet age-related macular degeneration by up to 70%
  • Regular physical exercise can reduce the risk of developing age-related cataracts by up to 10%
  • Regular exercise can lower intraocular pressure and improve blood flow to the retina and optic nerve in people who already have glaucoma

Physical activity also helps to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. That, in turn, reduces the risk of complications that come with these conditions, such as diabetic retinopathy.

Eye disease can stem from high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Exercise is proven to help lower both of these. Obesity is also associated with greater severity of vision loss, and cardiovascular disease shares many common risk factors with age-related macular degeneration.

Keeping your eyes healthy

To get the health benefits of exercise, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults need a minimum of:

  • 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity every week


  • 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity every week

In addition to exercise, the American Optometric Association recommends that adults have a comprehensive eye exam every two years. However, this depends on your age, risk factors, and whether you currently wear glasses or contact lenses - you may need them more often and should always follow the recommendation of your eye doctor.

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