Exercise and Glaucoma: A Powerful Combo for Better Eye Health
Glaucoma, a serious eye condition that causes damage to the optic nerve often due to high intraocular pressure, is a prevalent concern among the aged population globally. Coping mechanisms include medication and sometimes surgical procedures, but lifestyle changes, particularly exercise, can also play an integral role in managing glaucoma.
Benefits of Exercise for Glaucoma
Exercise plays an imperative role in maintaining our overall body fitness and state of well-being, and it’s no different when it comes to eye health. Regular physical activity can lower intraocular pressure, helping to reduce stress on the optic nerve. Furthermore, exercise can also improve circulation, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to the eyes.
Best Aerobic Exercises for Glaucoma
The right kind of exercises can bring multiple benefits for individuals with glaucoma:
Regular walks can be beneficial in regulating intraocular pressure. Whether done indoors or outdoors, maintaining a regular walking routine can be beneficial. It’s an easily approachable exercise that requires no special equipment and can be adapted to any personal pace or stamina level.
Cycling, either on a stationary bike or outdoors, not only lets you enjoy the scenery but also contributes to lowering eye pressure. It’s an aerobic exercise that’s generally safe for people with glaucoma.
Dance is a unique form of exercise that combines physical activity with fun and creativity. Besides providing a good workout, dancing can also help reduce stress—one of the factors contributing to elevated eye pressure.
Use of Stationary Machines
Stationary exercise equipment like treadmills, bikes, or elliptical machines offer a controlled environment for workout—independent from weather conditions, and can be tailored precisely to the comfort level of the individual.
Swimming is yet another low-impact exercise that can contribute to better eye health. Individuals with advanced glaucoma should, however, use swimming goggles to avoid direct contact with chlorine, which can be an irritant.
Specific Eye Exercises for Glaucoma Patients
In addition to regular physical exercise, glaucoma patients can also benefit from exercises aimed at strengthening and relaxing eye muscles:
This simple exercise requires you to close your eyes and slowly roll your eyeballs around in a circular motion. This can help to regulate intraocular pressure by pumping fluid out of the eye’s channels.
Gently massaging your temples in a circular motion can help to increase blood circulation to the eyes, which contributes to the nourishment of the optic nerve.
Exercises to Be Avoided by Glaucoma Patients
While exercises are generally beneficial for those with glaucoma, some can potentially raise intraocular pressure and should be avoided. These include heavy weightlifting, inversion postures in yoga, and High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
Tips for Incorporating Exercise Into Your Glaucoma Management Plan
Always consult an ophthalmologist or healthcare provider before starting any new exercise regime. Begin slow, gradually increasing the pace and intensity, while keeping a check on intraocular pressure, and try to establish a consistent exercise routine.
Adding appropriate exercises alongside glaucoma treatment can boost your eye health while improving your overall lifestyle. By staying physically active, you’re not only contributing to effective glaucoma management but are also taking a proactive stand for your general health and wellness. So put on those jogging shoes, hop onto the mat, and let’s start making exercise a part of our daily routine!