Exercise Reduces Risk of Glaucoma

Exercise Reduces Risk of Glaucoma

Julian Whitaker, MD

Most people would probably rather read a book than exercise. But new evidence suggests that if you want to keep reading, you’d better keep exercising. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide, and while everyone over age 60 is at increased risk, a new study shows that regular physical activity can help prevent it.

As we age, fluid can build up within the inner chambers of our eyes, increasing pressure and causing damage to the optic nerve. Researchers found that higher levels of physical activity have a long-term beneficial impact on low ocular perfusion pressure (OPP), a significant risk factor for glaucoma. A UK study of nearly 6,000 men and women aged 48–90 showed that those who had exercised moderately 15 years previously had a 25 percent reduced risk of low OPP. According to study author Paul J. Foster, MD, PhD, “Before now, the only modifiable risk factor for glaucoma was [intraocular pressure], altered by medication, laser or surgery. We believe our study points toward a new way of reducing glaucoma risk, through maintaining an active lifestyle.”


  • If you enjoy reading (and driving, and traveling, etc.), you’d better get moving!

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