I have been wearing glasses since I was six years old so it isn’t surprising that the thought of vision loss weighs heavily on my mind. I was relieved when my last eye exam was favorable and the words cataract, macular degeneration or glaucoma were not even mentioned.
I have worked with seniors with varying degrees of vision loss for some time so I know the likelihood of developing at least one of these conditions is a definite maybe. I would do just about anything if I thought I might prevent this from happening.
I like to read (a lot) and I actually enjoy exercising so naturally my eye was drawn to an article in Fitness magazine (July/August 2009) that suggested that jogging 1.25 miles every day or walking for 30 minutes five days a week could reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration by 36%. It appears that exercise lowers the levels of inflammatory proteins that can lead to that disease.
This sounds too good to be true, but as I already walk every day as well as jog three times a week, I am pretty excited about this. I pulled up a couple of more articles with similar revelations. Better Nutrition (April 2009) also mentions that vigorous exercise can help ward of eye disease and cites studies published by Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science.
New technologies improve the quality of life for people living with low vision, but the best technology in the world can’t beat prevention. 314 million people world-wide live with visual impairments, which is pretty scary.
A regular yearly eye exam as well and a concentrated effort to take care of your eyes is an important part of a wellness program. Recommendations include a healthy diet and exercise, protection from the sun, preventing eyestrain and not smoking. Too many rules you say? What is your eyesight worth to you?