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How exercise improves visual acuity and counteracts dry eye

How exercise improves visual acuity and counteracts dry eye

February 28, 2022

Do you have dry eyes that itch easily? Artificial tears are a powerful remedy, of course, as are beneficial eye exercises, but keep in mind that even moderate exercise can help you keep the eye lubricated and improve visual acuity. So, a light jog, a brisk walk, a bike ride are not only good for the mind and body but also for the eyes! This emerges from a very recent scientific research that appeared in the Experimental Eye Research journal thanks to the collaboration between a group of scientists from Canada, Hong Kong and Ghana (Abokyi et al, Exp. Eye Res., 2022).

The tear film and the problem of dry eye

Every time we blink, our eyes are covered with a precious tear film, essential for maintaining healthy ocular function and protecting the eyes from possible infections caused by dust or dirt. The tear film is made up of three layers, lipid, aqueous and mucous. When even one of these layers becomes unstable, then the ocular surface can present areas with dryness that lead to tearing, itching and burning, the classic symptoms of dry eye. Dry eye is a condition that is affecting more and more people due to jobs or activities that require them to spend more and more time in front of the computer screen. Artificial tears, eye exercises and some substances such as hyaluronic acid are considered effective remedies in the treatment of dry eye. In the research we are talking about today, scientists have focused their attention on the benefits of physical activity on eyesight.

Physical activity improves eyesight, the experiment

52 people between 18 and 25 years were recruited. The volunteers were divided into two groups, the so-called athletes who used to practice physical activity at least five times a week, and the non-athletes who instead led a more sedentary life with no more than one session a week of physical exercise. Study participants were asked to practice a treadmill session. Before and after physical exercise, the volunteers underwent medical examinations in order to evaluate the visual acuity and the state of the tear film, considering the quantity of tear film and the breakup time of this, i.e. the time that elapses between the blink of an eye and the moment when the first areas of dryness appear on the surface of the eye. What emerged was that all groups, after the exercise session, showed an improvement in these parameters. However, the group of athletes showed more appreciable improvements than the group of those who led a more sedentary life.

Conclusions

Therefore, an active life is good for the heart, the brain and, from today, we also know for the eyesight, since it improves visual acuity and the production of tear film, decreasing the discomfort caused by dry eyes. Not only that, the more regular you are in sports, the greater the benefits for sight you will get.

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