March 2009




Vigorous exercise may prevent vision loss



Two studies suggest cataracts and age-related macular degeneration may be prevented by vigorous exercise, according to a report by Eureka! Science News.

Conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the studies tracked about 31,000 runners for more than seven years, and found that running reduced the risk of both cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, the article said.

Author of both studies Paul Williams, epidemiologist in Berkeley Lab’s Life Sciences Division, analyzed data collected in the National Runners’ Health Study, which he established in 1991 to determine the health benefits of running.

In one study, out of approximately 29,000 male runners and 12,000 female runners, 733 men reported being diagnosed with cataracts on a questionnaire filled out at the end of the study while too few women reported cataracts to track, the report said.

According to the article, men who ran more than 5.7 miles per day had a 35% lower risk of developing cataracts than men who ran less than 1.4 miles per day. The male participants’ 10-kilometer race performances were also analyzed and results showed the fittest men had half the risk of developing cataracts compared with the least-fit men.

The second study found running reduced the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Those who averaged between 1.2 and 2.4 miles per day had a 19% lower risk for the disease compared with people who ran less than 1.2 miles per day, the report said. Those who ran more than 2.4 miles per day had between 42 and 54% lower risk of the disease.

A majority of the participants exceeded current public health recommendations for physical exercise.

Williams concluded that further research is needed to explore the link between vigorous exercise and a decreased risk for eye disease.


Reported by: EyeWorld News Services

Vigorous exercise may prevent vision loss Vigorous exercise may prevent vision loss
Ophthalmology News - EyeWorld Magazine
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