Study Shows Active Lifestyles Help Decrease Risk of Vision Impairment

The results of a study published in Ophthalmology have shown that modifiable lifestyle practices can reduce the chances of developing vision loss that is not improved by the use of corrective lenses. Included in the study were physical fitness, occasional drinking and smoking.


cyclist As part of another long-term eye study, researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health studied the impact of the three lifestyle practices on vision loss with nearly 5,000 adults between the ages of 43 and 84 over the years from 1988 to 2013. Over the course of the study, researchers found that 5.4 percent of the population developed visual impairment and that physical activity dramatically affected the outcome.


For the purposes of the study, patients were considered physically active if they participated in regular activities a minimum of three times per week. Only 2 percent of this group developed vision loss, while 6 percent of the sedentary group developed vision loss. After adjusting for age, this translates to an impressive 58 percent decrease in the chances of suffering from vision impairment.


Occasional drinking, defined as fewer than one drink consumed in an average week, returned lower instances of vision impairment over those who were termed non-drinkers. While heavy drinking and smoking contribute to vision impairment, the numbers were not significant enough to be included in this particular study.


Since physical activity can have such a large impact on your patients’ eye health, it would be a good idea to speak to them about their activity levels and encourage them to reap the benefits of a more active lifestyle. Most people don’t realize how their lifestyles can adversely affect their vision, so informing them how exercise can benefit their eye health may be a big help.


Along with providing guidance about how modifiable lifestyle practices can help decrease the chances of developing vision impairment in your patients, regular eye exams, including an optomap® ultra-widefield retinal imaging scan, can help you detect and treat potential problems before your patients experience any symptoms. We invite you to visit our website, or contact us to learn how our technology can help your practice.


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