Exercise may protect eyes from ageing


New York: Taking regular exercise may help reduce the risk of age-related eye diseases, scientists at the University of Wisconsin have discovered.

The researchers examined 4,000 men and women over a 15 years period, carrying out eye tests and recording levels of exercise, says their report in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) destroys the functionality of light sensitive cells behind the eye. The scientists found those with an active lifestyle were 70% less likely to develop the degenerative eye disease than those with a sedentary lifestyle.

AMD s the leading cause of severe vision loss in the over-50s in the developed world and affects central vision, needed for driving. The study of people aged between 43 and 86 began in 1988 and they were assessed every five years.

The research examined their exercise habits and eye health and found one in four had an active lifestyle and nearly one in four climbed more than six flights of stairs a day.

After taking into account other risk factors such as weight, blood fat levels and age, active participants were 70% less likely to develop AMD than those who did little exercise. It also showed regular walkers were 30% less likely to get the disease.

Authors of the report did warn however that diet may also explain the findings.